Maximize that Post Covid Television Production Budget
posted February 17, 2022
by Chad Germann, Founder & CEO

So you want some fresh, new TV spots now that the world is turning back on. You have that money balled up in a wad in your front pocket, and you are so ready – I mean, so very ready – to get back to “normal operations.” And that means new TV spots.

But it’s been a while since you’ve done this.

How do I make sure that I’m maximizing my budget? What are the tricks to making sure that my new TV spots “pop” for my casino, and what are the pitfalls I should avoid? Because, yeah, for most of us it’s been a while since we had TV production money to spend.


1.) Research your market. Look around, check out what everyone’s doing. Find out what your competitors are saying about themselves, and then make sure that you don’t say the same thing. Even though you have the same product, same games, same sort of amenities, you do not want to sound or look like them. This is your top priority.

2.) Hire professionals to write, cast, shoot and edit your commercials. You don’t need an agency on retainer to find good help (although, if you do want that, or if you want a full-service, experienced partner, I know a guy …). Find a production house that shoots quality TV spots. Find a couple different production companies, review their reels, pick your favorite, and then make sure that you get the best director in their stable. Ask the director for suggestions for a good writer/art director team. They will have a list. Find a team that will listen to you and give you what you want.

3.) Make sure that you set a budget ahead of hiring anyone or doing anything. Make sure everyone you hire understands that your budget is “all in.” Everyone is going to try to upsell you on this, that, and the other thing. Just tell the production company, the budget is X and that’s all the money there is. Period. No debate.

4.) Make sure your bosses know that once you select a script, hire talent, set your production plans, YOU CANNOT MAKE CHANGES without increasing costs. Maybe your boss is okay with late changes and paying extra, but for sure this is the place where the production company gets to increase their profits. Because late changes can cost whatever they say they cost. There’s little room for negotiation when the production schedule is already set.

5.) Make it easy for the production team when they are on-property. You get what they give you, and if they are happy and enjoying the work, then you will get a better result. If they feel like they are fighting casino security and surveillance and whomever else wants to assert their authority, and it’s painful for them, you won’t get their best.


1.) Don’t let the slot director or hotel director into the room where you review ideas and pick your direction. They are going to want a brochure ad. “Let’s make sure that we show our newly remodeled rooms!” No, no, no. The last thing you want is a brochure ad. Never forget that information tells, emotion sells. The last thing you want is a video brochure set to music that shows off, room by room, the facility as a product. Don’t do that. Tell a story! Make it interesting and fun! Make it about your guests as they enjoy your casino. Do that!

2.) When reviewing ideas from the writer/art director, try really, really hard to be open to stuff that’s different. The same, the stuff that in your gut feels safe, is what you want to avoid. The average American sees more than 3,000 ad images/messages per day. If your ad doesn’t pop out as different with a capital “D” – your audience probably misses it. And your ad fails. All that money wasted. Don’t do that. Be different! Be noticed!

3.) Whatever you do, don’t let the local TV station’s crew shoot and edit your commercial. I don’t care if they do it for free. Just don’t. That’s the surest way to guarantee your commercial will look like junk, which suggests your casino is junk. You don’t want the world to think you are junk, right?

Those are the biggies. There are a million smaller details, but this list describes the things that will help you be the most successful. Or not.

If you have questions, call me. Happy to provide advice, or help you get this done. Making original, smart, creative brand campaigns – including shooting TV ads – is what we do at Red Circle.

Meanwhile, I’m crossing my fingers for you! Hope this list helps. Good luck!

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Posted by
Founder & CEO

Chad Germann is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribe of Minnesota and founder and CEO of Red Circle Minneapolis, the nation's largest Native-owned marketing firm.