According to PDN, Maren Levinson, founder of the agency Redeye, asked fellow reps and an art buyer why creating treatments has become such a common and important part of the bidding process in the last five years. “We now create treatments even if we are not asked for them,” Levinson says. She asserts that they are yet one more opportunity to show what you are about and the rigor of your creative and production package.
What are treatments exactly? Most of the time they are a 5-10 page PDF with:
- Approach/Lighting Technique/Team (Production, Styling, Sets)
- Reference/Mood Boards/Inspiration. Artists often include their own applicable work as well, marked as such.
Levinson, Carol LeFlufy of Eye Forward and other reps describe just how much time, thought—and also money, if a photographer chooses to hire a copywriter—can go into a treatment, with no guarantee of getting the job. “The good news is that once they have a well-designed template, artists can tweak their treatments for future jobs and customize them according to each bid—be it a motion bid, a stills bid, or a combo of both.”
PDN asked freelance art buyer Karen Meenaghan to concoct a fictitious commercial assignment, then asked two reps to prepare bids for the job. We listened in on their pre-estimate calls. Meenaghan’s brief called for various executions for a “hero” image for print use, including out-of-home advertising, where to buy liquor.
In addition, the brief called for 20 “inset” images for online use, including social media. Meenaghan told Rep2 that the estimate should increase to $120,000 to $130,000 because the estimates for several important line items were too low. “There’s a [bottom line] amount that’s to the bone, and there’s an amount that allows you some wiggle room for bumps in the road,” Meenaghan says.