Published in Point of View
Who needs money? Creativity
“There is no greatness where
there is not simplicity.” Leo Tolstoy
|“With money it’s
always possible to camouflage a mediocre idea...”
These are times when new clients shy away
from advertising fearing the expense to be prohibitive,
and the old hands cut their advertising budgets, albeit
unwillingly, and assume they’re also cutting creative.
But the “minimalist” financial approach to advertising
is, in fact, gaining ground on the big spender school and
proving that it’s possible to make beautiful creative
with no money.
Tom Monahan, President of Leonard Monahan
Lubars & Kelly, of Providence, RI, is so interested
in this approach that he started a division of LML&K
called “Hothouse” designed specifically to attract
low budget clients and to give them the creative on which
the agency built its prestigious reputation but at minimal
cost. “The resourcefulness of the human brain and
not money is the ultimate challenge in advertising,”
|“Low budget advertising
does require a bigger idea, because you have nothing
Hothouse is not alone in the low budget arena.
Talk to Nancy Jordan of Arnold Fortuna Lane & Cabot
in Boston, or Eric Haggman of Haggman Krimsky in Ipswich,
MA, tie winners in the “Under $20,000" category
at NEBA. Their winning entries came in at $15,000 for Jordan’s
McDonald’s spot titled “Falling Couch”,
and $10,000 for Haggman’s spot for a California radio
station, K-LITE, called “Never” designed to
promote safe sex. What set these commercials apart, according
to Paul McDermott, Producer of the Best of Broadcasting
Awards, was that they were “clean, simple and very
“Low budget advertising does require
a bigger idea, however, because you have nothing else.”
Production hours track so an expensive spot tends to cost
more hours because there are more things to do. There’s
more film to shoot and there’s probably more editorial.
Low budget spots are usually made up of either stock footage,
very little footage, or no footage at all and no editing.
“TV production is a combination of idea and execution,”
adds Monahan, “and if you don’t have any money
for execution then you have no choice but to have a good
idea if you want a good commercial.” With money it’s
always possible to camouflage a mediocre idea and make it
look good by hiring a flashy director.
“For years the cost of entry
to play in the TV game was high from a media standpoint
and high from a production standpoint,” adds Monahan.
“The production aspect was a moot point if you couldn’t
afford the media. Today, with cable, you can target by neighborhood
if you want, and fine tune that into parts of a neighborhood.
But we still meet people who hitherto thought they couldn’t
play the TV game and now that cable has brought it down
they’re still told by ad agencies that they need to
spend $50,000 in production!” This is clearly no longer