Imagine, if You Will…..

 

Imagine, if you will, Rod Serling introducing an episode of the Twilight Zone which focuses on the strange disappearances of poorly marketed websites, where do they go? The Twilight Zone? or just the back pages of Google? This is a reoccurring theme in our radio ads because it is a reoccurring theme in our industry. The voice actor we hired for the Unsolved Mysteries ad, Brad Curtis, will be voicing Serling for us and I look forward to working with him again, he is such a pro.

Now, think of Jack Bauer interrogating an unscrupulous SEO writer or a shady marketing consultant who has hijacked or poorly marketed someone’s website, and because nobody can find it, Jack is threatening the suspect with bodily harm (broken fingers, to be exact) if he doesn’t disclose it’s location. Things with this ad could get dicey for airplay given the theme of torture, not to mention Jack’s yelling and he will definitely be using his signature catchphrase(or word in this case) “Dammit”!!! I hope we can slip this one past the goalie, I don’t think it will be a problem though, given everything else we’ve managed to get away with;-)

Who can forget the lead character Bryan Mills, from the hit Liam Neeson movie, “Taken”?! Now imagine him delivering those now famous lines to a similar type of individual, bad SEO writers, slimy web developers and crooked marketers will be reoccurring villains in several of our ads, as they are in business.

Think of Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise going back in time to modern-day Earth to save small businesses from economic collapse, only to turn around go back home because they fear the primitive peoples of our planet after learning of so many businesses not even having the common sense to market their sites on Google. This will likely be an exclusive audio track for our website because there too many characters that need be included and we cannot do this iconic show justice within the 60 second time limit required for airplay, I’m guessing this will end up being 2 to 4 minutes in length. Love of this show is something our company president and I have in common so, I know it will be good…..at least to us.

Picture a mother disowning her son at Mother’s Day dinner because she learns that her boy, whom she thought she raised right, has not and doesn’t plan to market his business’s new website. This may raise some eyebrows, depending on which line we end the ad with, some of them are harsh(and funny) but, there will be elements of it that everyone with a mom can relate to and just might find funny. The 60 second time limit might make this challenging as well but, I am confident that we can do it.

Now imagine Fox Mulder and Dana Scully performing an autopsy on a dead website, trying to figure out what happened to it. Was it abducted by aliens, probed and left facedown and naked in a cornfield or was it just bad marketing? Stay tuned to find out.

As a fan of the show, I admit to sometimes binge watching Forensic Files, the narrator’s voice makes every detail sound sinister and intriguing. A parody of this show would be another great candidate for an IDP radio ad, it might have to be a website exclusive, given the time constraints, and it will be a huge challenge to do the show justice with just 60 seconds but, we’ll give it the old college try.

These are just some teasers, some free samples, if you will, of some upcoming and future radio ads we will be producing at IDP Studios. We’ll be posting the finished ads to our various social media accounts and attaching them to blogs on our website as they are completed.

Stay tuned for more debauchery…..

 

 

Show Me the Funny

The more I view and listen to advertisements, the more I see and hear humor being used to peddle and promote good and services, what was once considered to be a risky or taboo practice seems to be at the forefront of marketing and advertising these days. Because humor is not preachy or pitchy, it opens people’s minds to receiving the information infused within, it acts a lubricant or delivery system for the intended message. Make a person laugh and you can open their mind, it’s a simple and powerful technique that has applications in many aspects of life, coupled properly with the use of nostalgia, it can be a very effective vehicle for advertising. This idea is something that the creative team at Ideal Positions will be exploiting regularly in our radio ads. Unsolved Mysteries, The Twilight Zone, the Liam Neeson movie “Taken”, the hit t.v. shows “24” and Forensic Files are just a few of the works we are have already or are considering parodying.

I am really looking forward to a movie trailer radio ad we will be undertaking soon, it will be a challenge keeping it under the 60 second requirement, especially considering that most movie trailers are at least twice that long but, it will help keep us from going overboard which would be easy to do with such a broad canvas. In theory, using our own employees as the stars of the fictitious film, in lieu of actual Hollywood movie actors will hopefully accomplish a few things; it will eliminate the cost of hiring a professional voice actor/impersonator, it will introduce our staff to the audience and it will spare the listener the pain of hearing bad impersonations performed by whatever colleagues of mine end up in the final cut.

Speaking of crappy acting, we are currently editing what is intended to be a “bad local commercial”, it is a tax-time ad set at the scene of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. I recently heard the first cut and it while it needs a lot of work, it has the vibe of an SNL comedy sketch, which is what I was hoping for when I wrote it. Right now it is a bad, “bad local commercial”, hopefully with some magic from our resident Foley artist, executive producer and sound editor, Josh Babbitt, some reshoots(for a lack of a better word) and some funnier content, it will become just a “bad local commercial”, emphasis on just 1 bad.

In just about six month’s time, we have grown leaps and bounds as a creative team, we have learned and continue to learn a lot about how best to go about layering, mixing, timing, writing and structuring radio ads. Personally, I send the semi-finished ads to the smartest, most critical people I know (as well as those with an underdeveloped sense of humor) and ask them for their unbiased and unfiltered opinions, I also play them for various staff members and many of the aforementioned people have said that the ads we are producing are better than 99% of the ads they hear on the radio, and I agree. I am extremely critical of any creative endeavor I am involved with so, if I think something is good, it just might be. Even after clocking out for the day, while driving and while at home, I listen carefully to our ads, over and over again, (sometimes to the point of nauseam) for any small edit we need to make. I truly believe that we could play our Unsolved Mysteries and Daylight Saving ads on a national stage and I hope someday we get the opportunity to present something we’re really proud of to a broader audience.

It becomes difficult receiving criticism and feedback from various radio reps, regardless of their experience, for a couple of reasons, the most glaring reason being that most of the ads I hear on their stations are boring, bland, poorly produced garbage that do nothing but make me want to change the station or at least turn the volume down. How does one tactfully tell someone that their opinion has no merit and carries no weight because you don’t respect their body of work? Easier said than done. The other reason I find it hard to receive their feedback is because of the perceived level of jealousy I see on their faces when they hear the ads that a couple of amateurs produced. Knowing that they are hearing our work through the filter of their own bruised egos does not lend credence to their critique but, it does let us know that we are doing something right and that we are on the right track….. and that is very gratifying.

We are so confident in our abilities to create quality radio ads that we will be offering it as a service that our company provides. I can only imagine the possibilities that creating ads for different industries will bring, it’s an exciting proposition and I am salivating at the opportunity.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog that will likely include more content about this topic, I just can’t seem to stay away from it. Below are a couple of different versions of our recently finished “Daylight Savings” ad. Enjoy.

Humor in Advertising Part 3

 

There is a traditionally held belief within our industry that the best products or services to use humor to promote are things that don’t cost a lot of money or require a lot of thought like; beer, candy bars, soft drinks or fast food but, an insurance selling duck (which looks more like Goose) and it’s witty Gecko counterpart might disagree. Airline tickets aren’t cheap but Southwest Airlines has had great success with their humor based “wanna get away?” ad campaign and, despite the cost of buying a new automobile, Isuzu says their wacky “Joe Isuzu” ad campaign from the late 1980’s was their most successful to date.

Ultimately what people consider to be funny or not funny, in good taste or bad, is simply their opinion and you will never be able to please everyone so, I say if a business owner wants to try something funny or bold, go for it. If you’re not offending marginalized people, why not go there?!?!? Curse words, sexual overtones and potty humor have their place in art, pop culture and marketing and regardless of your opinions, these things have made movie studios, record companies, t.v. stations, advertisers, and comedians rich for decades, this is an irrefutable fact.

I can say with confidence that many times in my life I have purchased goods and services from companies with less than memorable ad campaigns, I’m sure if you took the time to think about it, you could say the same. Personally, outside of the quality or value of their product or service, I am far more concerned with how companies treat their employees, their customers and how socially or environmentally conscious they are than I am with their slogans or gimmicks. There is no reward without risk, no great success without the potential for epic failure and nobody great got anywhere by trying to be like everyone else.

On that note, let’s talk about candy, diabetes, obesity, bikinis, colon scopes, pap smears, deforestation, furniture, nerds, lawyers and drinking on the job. That is a sampling of some of the content in our upcoming Daylight Savings radio ad. The commercial is a parody of overly ambitious sales promotions used by companies from different industries on obscure holidays, At the end of the ad, we will be presenting our own promotion for an obscure day of the year in glorious hypocritical fashion. We will have recorded so much material for this ad that we will be making different versions of it, to air on different stations and, may end up using some additional material in future projects.

Originally, I had only written 3 clips for the ad, then the boss asked me to write a few more, then a few more, then a few more until we ended up with 16 before Ian “Baby Girl” Davis, A.k.a M.C. Sledge Hammer, had a stroke of genius for a 17th during a recording session, easily the most risqué of the bunch. Secretly, the 13-year-old in me is crossing his fingers and biting his lip hoping the Bossman uses it but, I realize that it may be a little too explicit for general listening audiences, it might play better to “Love Line” or “Dr. Ruth” fans. I am so excited for this ad that I asked our Executive Producer, A.k.a O.M.G.(Old Man Google) if he will make me a personal copy when he’s done editing, one that contains all of the clips, without time constraints, for my own narcissistic amusement. At the risk of sounding like a sycophantic suck up,(not that anyone is reading this) I cannot understate how impressive his editing and mixing skills have become, he really brings these ads to life, his timing, use of sound effects, fade outs, layering, and musical choices are spot on and he is great at coming up with ideas for the ending of these ads(or a pretty little “bow”, as he calls them), indeed the force is strong with this one, I foresee he will become a great Jedi Master.

This concludes the “Humor in Advertising” trilogy but I will be posting updates about future ads when they conclude production. Make sure not to read next week’s blog about annoying telemarketers and the ever-changing landscape of phone sales.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/77518/many-lies-joe-isuzu

https://www.experience.com/advice/careers/professions/humor-in-advertising/