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Cost Savings Opportunities in the Print World

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While television production may be an advertisers’ biggest focus and expense, it is often part of a larger campaign supported with a coordinating print media plan.  Where an advertiser may not spend as much money on the print portion, there are many ways the agency can help to make these dollars work harder.


The most expensive part of a print campaign is usually the photo shoot.  Most agency creative teams want to shoot the elements in the print ad to their specifications.  While the advertisers agree this is the way to go, sometimes it may not be the most efficient approach.

Options for Consideration:

There are many good stock photo houses that provide images at reasonable prices to achieve the same effect.  However, be wary of complicated projects that might involve purchasing several images and doing many hours of retouching and compositing to get to your final desired result.  The time and effort put in, along with the costs, may outweigh shooting the specific image.

Another approach is a “follow along” photo shoot.  A Photographer is hired to follow along on the broadcast shoot set to capture images usually right after the scene has wrapped, using the same props, set ups, lighting, etc., that the broadcast crew already lined up.  The photographer can jump in and capture the still image needed to tie the TV commercial to the print advertisement.  Advertisers are able to save money by not having a separate photography shoot.  There are usually no additional props or wardrobe to purchase, the crew needed is a bit leaner and you don’t have to rent out a separate space. We are seeing this approach run fairly seamlessly, Directors, and Photographers are getting used to this approach and are able to work together in a respectful way.

Where the photography seems to be the biggest cost driver in the print medium, there are also post production costs that should be reviewed.  One way to save on the post production of a project is to keep that expense within the walls of the advertising agency versus sending it out to a third party vendor.  Agency in-house post production keeps the control of the quality and in most cases they are able to make changes much more quickly than having to relay to another source.

Advertisers can work with their Procurement team to negotiate a standing post production rate card that bundles costs rather than charging advertisers separately for every print out or tweak to the ad. Bundling mechanicals, a few rounds of revisions, pdfs, and some proofs will save money in the long run versus being charged “ala carte” for the services.

In this digital age many publications are no longer requiring hard proofs to match submitted materials to.  There are still some standard publications that hold fast to the hard proofs, but many have done away with the requirement.  Savings can be achieved by not sending proofs to the pubs, as proofs can run $100-and-up, per proof.  If an agency estimate includes sending proofs to the publications, advertisers should question that cost.  Ask the agency if the publications actually require them.  We think advertisers will find that, more often than not, the agency is sending them because that is the way they have done it for years.

While we know there are many other cost saving opportunities, these are just some that we frequently suggest to our clients.  Print is an area we spend a good deal of time focusing on so feel free to share any questions you may have about estimates for your own print projects.

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Tagged in: cost savings print
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