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Meet the Parents

 

With both Mother’s and Father’s Day generating big business and being roughly only a month apart, we thought we’d take advantage of the opportunity to run some new radio ads promoting the importance of businesses having a well-established web presence.

We had no parodies in mind for these two holidays so we set out to write some original content. The easy and safe thing to do would have been to grab a handful of low-hanging fruit and write some sappy, sentimental, Hallmark-y ads but, we went in kind of the opposite direction.

It’s Mother’s Day and you’re sitting at a nice restaurant with your mom, she is a newly minted business owner so you thought you’d get her a new website for her company. You’re a little nervous but also excited and now it’s time for the big reveal so, you present mom with your gift and await her reaction. Surprised and elated, mom raves about her beautiful new site, you feel relieved and proud, all is right in the world…….until mom realizes that the site isn’t being marketed. After looking for basic online listings and promotional ads, only to find none, mom’s attitude takes a turn for the worst and the whole tone of the conversation changes. A minute ago, you were basking in the warmth of your mother’s love and gratitude and now, your head is spinning, your stomach is turning and your dear, sweet mom is hammering with you a guilt-laden tirade consisting of disappointment, shame, and emotional manipulation. “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” “I spent 2 days in labor for this?!?!”, “I knew I should have given you up for adoption” and “I’m taking you out of my will” are some of the sweet things mom hurls back at you. Apparently, it’s true that no good deed goes unpunished.

For Father’s Day, we decided to go with a similar theme but it was the company president who came up with the idea to use the same abused, well-meaning but marketing-challenged (adult) son in that ad.

It’s early morning on Father’s Day, the sun is shining, birds are chirping and we find our subjects looking at the recently erected signage for their new construction business. Soft, sentimental piano music plays in the background as father and son admire the new sign and share their hope and enthusiasm for their budding young business…….until dad asks his boy how he spent the company marketing budget that he left him in charge of.

It’s here we learn that since the Mother’s Day gifting debacle, Junior’s mom disowned him and moved to India, as a result, he is in therapy 4 times a week and has been paying for it with the money his dad gave him to market their company.

Trying to contain his anger and disappointment, Dad launches into a passive-aggressive rebuke of his son’s misappropriation of their marketing funds and issues a veiled threat wrapped nicely inside a story about how Aztec parents punished their kids for making stupid decisions.

The saga of this incredibly unhealthy, dysfunctional family will not end there as we have plans for Junior to exact his revenge with a mic-dropping, emotional explosion at Thanksgiving dinner, later this year.

Stay tuned!

Below is a link to our radio ad gallery where you can listen to the aforementioned ads.

Radio Ads Produced by Ideal Positions

 

 

 

 

Generation “Y – Me”

 

Say what you want about them but Millennials are anything but typical and they are completely changing the way companies brand and market themselves. Call them soft, lazy, entitled snowflakes, in need of their wi-fi, iced mochas, mental health days and safe spaces but if you ignore them, you may quickly find yourself out of business.

The definition of a “Millennial” varies from website to website but for the sake of this blog, let’s just call them anyone born between 1982 and 1998. Also known as Generation “Y” or Generation “Me” and with about 83.1 million strong, Millennials have become the largest generation in the United States. Regardless of your opinions of them, they are a formidable segment of the consumer population and they have a big impact on the U.S. economy. Just ask companies like Budweiser or Sears what power the “Millies” have.

The most current research shows that Millennials are driving brands to produce more socially responsible marketing, also more personalized marketing, not just marketing for their “generation”, they also want to influence brands, they want their voices to be heard and unlike never before they are being heard because social media gives people access to corporate executives and decision makers. In addition to being influencers, they are also easily influenced by the rants and reviews of their friends and peers on social media.

According to a Nielsen rating report, less than 2% of Millennials channel surf during commercials, while watching tv. This is a significant shift in viewing habits from previous generations who doubled and quadrupled that percentage and it points directly to the rise in use of mobile devices. The report does indicate that Millennials still view television in the traditional sense but while frequently and simultaneously being tuned into TV-connected devices. Millennials also multitask while taking in media, they switch between devices frequently, from phones to tablets to laptops to smart TVs so, the need to market across multiple devices and platforms becomes even more important for advertisers. Being inundated by media, this generation has a general disdain for traditional tv ads, radio ads, and sales pitches, and they have learned to tune out much of it so, if you’re not advertising on mobile devices, your days in business are probably numbered.

Like never before, marketers have a window into our lives and lifestyles, our social groups, political and religious affiliations, hobbies, interests, family, friends, viewing, listening, spending and search habits and basically our personal histories. Because Millennials are most transparent about these aspects of their lives, it gives advertisers the ability to target them with more specificity but it also presents challenges because marketing to this demographic is more complicated than it has been to any previous generation.

According to Nielsen, a lot of Millennials polled said that they understand the need for ads and aren’t bothered by them (they just ignore them), but, the percentage jumps from 46% to 75% when the content the ads are attached to is free.

At the heart of all the research done on this generation, Millennials seem to want to be acknowledged as individuals, they want options and they want to feel connected, this shouldn’t be hard to understand.

Personally, I think most of criticism of “Millies” as a whole is unfair and overly harsh as I am not a fan of broad, sweeping generalizations, there are a couple of things that I really love about this group and many of my friends and family are of this generation. If you are a business owner and you plan to stay in business over the next decade, you must adapt your marketing strategy or you will likely find yourself serving low fat, organic, gluten-free, non-dairy, decaffeinated, free-trade, pumpkin spice, iced mocha frappuccinos to Millenials.

Baby’s First Complaint

It seems that these days people are just itching to be offended, stand-up comedians like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld refuse to play college campuses anymore because of the hecklers yelling out hateful responses to everything they deem offensive or inappropriate. And now the selective outrage machine has rolled into the parking lot of Ideal Positions, it appears that a bleeped out curse word at the end of our most tame and benign radio ad has offended a couple of people (everyone else loved it) and it is the validation I’ve been waiting for as I truly believe that if you’re pissing the right people off, you’re on the right track. That doesn’t mean offending people by being a complete jerk, it just means eliciting an emotional response from the kinds of people who’s opinions you don’t really value and probably wouldn’t be working with anyway.

I consider myself to be a sensitive, woke and progressive person but even I am shocked at some of the things people choose to take personally. I find it endlessly funny that our Unsolved Mysteries ad is the one that caused a stir when there are plenty of other ads that are far more worthy of controversy. Burying a dead body, obesity, clearcutting forests, are just a few of the things poked fun at in some of our ads but a bleeped out word grabs all the attention. We didn’t use a racially insensitive word, we did not belittle or insult a protected class or offend any marginalized peoples, we did not attack anyone’s, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin, appearance, physical limitations, handicap or age, we bleeped out a common curse word……and it was funny

There have been more than a few pitch men fired over things they did personally but let’s take a look at some of the more controversial ads that have made the airwaves in recent years. Ads that were truly deserving of the backlash that followed.

Nationwide Insurance raised some eyebrows with their “dead boy” Superbowl ad which features a dead child talking about all the things he’ll never get to do because he died a preventable death that somehow could have been avoided if only his parents had Nationwide Insurance. The folks who made this ad should have sought a 2nd and a 3rd opinion before airing it, it’s nothing short of cringe-worthy. The ad itself is attached below, take a look for yourself.

Not long ago, Pepsi really pissed a lot of people off with a very controversial commercial that trivialized the Black Lives Matter movement and its star, Kendall Jenner became a lightning rod for the backlash that followed. It united millions across the country and the world wide web, the ad was quickly pulled from the airwaves. Pepsi really sh@t the bed on that one, hard to understand how that ad even made it to air, I’m thinking that somebody got fired for it, and rightfully so. If it was an ad agency that came up with that one, I wouldn’t be surprised if their contract was pulled. The ad is attached below

Dove Soap also got a big wtf? from decent people everywhere with a mind-boggling tv commercial showing African American women turning into white women after using their product, it was so beyond stupid and offensive that it will likely be talked about for years to come. Apparently, it is the 2nd time Dove has used this horrible idea for an ad and it was well deserving of the boycott that followed.

The geniuses at Nivea also screwed the pooch with their “white is purity” slogan. No more really needs to be said about that.

And lastly, Mcdonald’s really made a McPoopy with a grief-focused ad featuring a son asking his mother about his dead father, only to be told that the one thing the boy and his dad had in common was a love of Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches. This ad wasn’t nearly as bad as the aforementioned but still offended plenty of people, personally, I think it was just stupid.

I will be covering more head-scratching ads in my next blog but make sure to say tuned for posts from Ian Davis and Maile Collier.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh From the Oven

It seems that these days, cable tv is inundated with cooking shows, hell, there are even entire television networks dedicated just to this subject and of course, magazines, clubs, social media groups, and several podcasts to boot. Foodies love their cooking shows. Being the illegitimate bastard love child of Master Chef, Gordon Ramsay, I think that “Kitchen Nightmares” is perfect for an Ideal Positions parody. To anyone not reading this blog that might be unfamiliar with the show, Ramsay is called upon to help struggling restaurateurs save their business from failure, making sure to hold them accountable for their poor decisions by brutally and hilariously insulting them every step of the way. “Website Nightmares” will follow the same blueprint and will feature a combination of both spoofed and original mockery and insults, doing the research for this will be a lot of fun as there are numerous compilations of Ramsay’s best meltdowns on Youtube. There may be a “Hell’s Kitchen” parody to be cooked up as well (pun totally intended) but it will have to get in line as there are already close to 40 ad concepts and projects we have conceived, completed or currently in production.

After all this talk about abusive language, let’s talk about therapy. You’re a website not getting a lot of traffic, you have an abnormally high bounce rate and a very short average time on site, as a result, you feel like a failure, you’re lonely, your self-esteem is at an all-time low and you really need to talk to a professional. Your business owner neglects you, doesn’t meet your needs, doesn’t give you the attention you require so you end up on a therapists couch. Your Psychiatrist tells you that you’re in an abusive, toxic relationship and that if your business owner isn’t willing to participate in couples counseling that you should find someone who can better market your needs. A prescription for Adwords and Local SEO makes you feel better and just like that, your future looks bright. This one will also be fun to play around with, I like the idea of trying to recreate the dynamic between Tony Soprano and his shrink but it may not translate well, only time will tell. No matter which way we go with his one, I know it will be good.

This is just another sneak peek at some future projects brought to by Ideal Positions. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs from Ian Davis and Maile Collier.

 

 

I Pity the Fool

Any child of the 1980’s is at least familiar with the popular t.v. show “The A-Team”, which in many ways is the quintessential 80’s show that also made an icon out of Mr. T. Both our company C.E.O. and myself were huge fans as kids and we recently collaborated on a parody of the show’s intro. Parodying popular things may not be difficult for a creative person or people but making in fit within the borders of another topic, joke, or a company’s services is far more challenging. Making a show about 4 escaped special-forces commandos turned fugitive mercenaries relate to digital marketing might be impossible for some but the boss and I did it in about an hour or so, and over text messages nonetheless. I love the creative process and I absolutely love collaborating with the boss, our senses of humor are very closely aligned and it helps that we were both born in the same generation and grew up fans of cinema and TV programming. This has the potential to be spoofed for both video and radio and we have already picked different staff members to the play the characters, just by luck, we have some great matches for the roles.

Because of my involvement in these commercials, I find myself paying more attention to the nuances in the voices of my colleagues, seeing how they might be used in an ad, what characters they might be a good fit for, looking for hidden talent. I made a recent talent discovery in the course of a script reading with the boss not long ago, one that I’m still shocked I didn’t know about. Being a sci-fi loving Trekkie, (also a technology buff and a restaurant quality super nerd) it appears that our modest, mild-mannered company president has been hiding a pretty decent William Shatner impression, one that I now hope to exploit in a Rescue 911 Parody….after the Star Trek sketch, of course. If more people knew about T.J. Hooker, I’d be all over that too. I have a feeling the boss is going to regret ever exposing his inner Kirk.

Also being discussed are Parodies of “Americas Most Wanted”, the popular medical drama “House and the long-running Fox classic “Cops”. More to come on these.

Speaking of video, we will be taking our marketing/branding to the next level soon, as the boss has recently invested in a 4k digital camera. Our resident Tech of All Trades, Ian Davis has been salivating at the opportunity to dabble in video production and I know his bright, beautifully warped, young mind is brimming with ideas, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. I have a few projects myself that I’m hoping to direct. Video opens up a world of both possibilities and challenges for us, production becomes much more complicated, production costs are considerably higher and there will be plenty of “oh sh#t” moments and lots of “Arrrrrgghhh’s” and “Doh’s” but, figuring it all out is going to be a lot of fun.

Also in production, a Crocodile Hunter themed ad written by yours truly and a Pro Wrestling promo parody being written and directed by our new Sales Manager, Nathan Mason. Nathan has some great ideas and is working on a new podcast for the company, the possibilities are endless for that project and I am looking forward to hearing it.

Be sure to read upcoming blog posts by our own Ian Davis and Maile Collier. Ian will be going into further detail about his web series and future video productions so keep an eye for that.

Until next time.……