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Video Spots: Does More Budget Bring More?

Natalie Ediger, May 29, 2017· Explainer Video

Actually the title should be yes, “Are expensive video spots better?” or “Does the amount of the investment determine the size of the success? My answer to both questions: later.

One of the first questions when I talk to potential customers is very often after the money: What does it cost us? As if “that” could be quantified so simply out of nowhere. And anyway, wouldn’t the more exciting question be: What does “that” bring us? Because why should I, as an entrepreneur, produce video spots if they only cost me money anyway? But if the video brings me something, then it’s an investment. A good investment has a Return of Investment (ROI). So the (invested) money brings me money instead of just costs. Very well. But now the blog title is “Videospots: Does more budget bring more? and I want to explain in the following article why I answer the question with “yes”.

The analysis

One thing cannot be denied: There is no film without investment. But even unlimited money does not allow films to emerge from nowhere. The production of a video spot, product film or viral therefore depends on several factors other than just money. For example, the people who make the film – that is, cameramen, actors, lighting and sound engineers. Or the people who view material, cut it, edit the sound, compose the music, etc. But one thing is still missing here, too. The people who come up with the spot. Now someone will surely notice that up to this point everything is a question of money. I agree with that. But idea and concept are not just a question of money. And they don’t get better or worse with the size of the budget. A good creation can develop something suitable for every budget.

So there are already two factors that are important for the success of a video: The idea and the budget. And the interaction of both also makes a spot successful. The following graphic illustrates this.

The left, Y-axis, represents the quality of the idea – from really bad to Oscar-ready. The lower X-axis again shows the budget, from zero to infinity. The curve N shows the intersection between a successful and an unsuccessful spot. This is the ideal mix of idea and budget. But it also shows that a really good idea with a low budget can bring just as much success as a mediocre idea with a huge budget. The points A, P, W, and K stand for individual examples, which will be taken up in the next sections.

The critical point (K)

I think there’s a point where extra budget doesn’t make a clip more successful than the idea gives it. At one point, for example, there’s the current Sony spot for the Bravia OLED display.

The spot creates goose bumps, the pictures are madness. Current views on Youtube: about 50’000 in 4 weeks – not bad. But the video is not viral yet, which could be due to the idea. Because it is not spectacular, too expectable and above all not new. Let’s imagine that the idea would have been better with the same budget: The new televisions would probably have sold themselves.

The good idea with budget (A)

When a good idea and some budget come together, it is, as noted above, a fabulous combination. That’s what happened last year at Chipotle.

The wonderful short story “A Love Story” combines beautiful storytelling with perfect realisation. As a reward there are 11 million views so far.

The perfect idea with little budget (P)

With a comparatively small budget, the colleagues of the Munich design agency “Kurzgesagt” regularly created animated clips until 2015, which actually score with content. Their Youtube channel was among the top 5 in Germany, the videos achieved views of between two and seven million per spot.

Worst Case (W)

Then, of course, there is the worst case: a bad idea with too low a budget. Two years ago, Sanifair afforded such a lapse at one of her video spots when they gave the leading role in a spot about motorway toilets to a ten-year-old girl. Sounds bad already? It seems that so many of them have become bad that Sanifair has deleted the spot again.

But the Internet does not forget.


It’s the mix that counts. The biggest budget doesn’t guarantee success if the idea doesn’t work. And the best idea alone won’t get you anywhere if you simply don’t have any money. What should also not be forgotten is the media budget. Because even virality can be bought – to a certain extent.

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