Analyze This

 

Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave, living on tree bark, rat meat and rainwater, you’ve probably heard of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. Regardless, chances are that you probably don’t care, as polls show that despite the alarming nature of the reports, most Facebook users seem indifferent to the news. According to Facebook C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, the social media giant hasn’t “felt any meaningful effect from the scandal”

At first, there were concerns that it would have a bleed over effect into our industry but, it has little to no impact, it seems that having “free” email and social media accounts is a fair trade for access to our lives. Has living in the age of information and technology numbed us, distracted us and/or made us apathetic to the fact that we are voluntarily being farmed for information? Our computers, smart t.v.s, and mobile devices are the nipples from which all the details of our lives are being milked. Sucked through phone, cable, fiber optic and wireless connections, our valuable data is being pasteurized and packaged for wholesale, and there is a big market for your sweet, creamy details. Cambridge may be the latest scandal but it certainly wasn’t the first and it definitely won’t be the last, for years now, Google and Yahoo have given the federal government access to your personal search history and there are more than a few private companies that have detailed files on every American.

 With the increase of  “fake news”, catfishing, internet scams, data breaches, document leaks, hacking and identity theft, it’s amazing that internet marketing is even a viable industry, let alone a thriving and growing medium. This is all the more reason to make sure your business is branded properly and any digital ads you may be running online aren’t confused for anything else. Also, it couldn’t hurt to use hack-resistant passwords for all of your online accounts and to change them semi-frequently.  

There may come a time when Americans get fed up with the constant bombardment of scams, ads and fake news but until then, it is imperative that your business has a clear, well-defined, confidence-inspiring brand and that any digital ads you are running are easily associated with your company, product and/or service. Ideal Positions can help your business navigate through the sometimes confusing and overwhelming task of creating and maintaining an effective internet marketing/branding campaign.

 

Cheesy marketing joke of the week:

What does the new Chips Ahoy marketing director do her first day on the job?

Answer: Enable cookies

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.……

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.