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.