Humor in Advertising Part 2


Abduction, homicide, conspiracy to conceal a capital crime, fecal incontinence (involuntary defecation) and angry, overly-taxed colonials, just a few of the themes one might hear in the course of listening to an Ideal Positions radio ad. It is with caution, creativity, and courage that a company must proceed when undertaking such a risky enterprise. Humor is so subjective to begin with, in advertising it becomes a different beast altogether and when you add provocative subject matter to the mix, there is no telling what can happen, it’s like walking on the edge of a razor blade but, fortune favors the bold and I credit our company president for having the vision and the chutzpah to go there.

Most anyone who watched network television in the 1990’s remembers the unmistakable, chilling voice of Robert Stack as the host of the hit series “Unsolved Mysteries”. My family were regular viewers and as a lover of mysteries, I was mesmerized by Stack, he had me hanging on every word and he made everything he spoke about sound 10x’s more interesting than it probably was. It was from this show that we drew inspiration for one of our current projects, because “getting found” is the central theme of the service that our company provides, it made perfect sense to parody a “missing website” segment from Unsolved Mysteries. When the boss greenlit the project, my inner child did cartwheels. I couldn’t help but snicker to myself while corresponding with the voice actor we hired, asking this stranger if he could mimic Robert Stack’s cadence and inflection, it just struck me as ridiculous (and funny) in the context of my work duties.

As I stood in our makeshift studio with colleague and sound technician Ian Davis, listening to a professional voice actor, theater vet and former news anchor record material I wrote, I had to pinch myself, it was surreal, directing a paid entertainer, how lucky am I? I’m getting paid for this? Looking over at Ian (or looking UP at Ian, I should say) and seeing the wide-eyed wonder on his face at times just cemented the thought that sometimes my job is just too damn cool! Our actor has such a powerful voice and tremendous inflection, he gave us quality material to work with, the commercial is now ready for air and is attached below.

The bossman is currently editing two other ads, a tax-time ad, featuring bad British accents and angry Bostonians and, he’s got his hands full with a Daylight Savings themed ad featuring a myriad of funny, risque’ and over-the-top sales promotions from different industries. An overly caffeinated mattress salesman named Mad Marty may be my favorite so far.

I admit it was kind of daunting when the boss asked me to write an ad for such an obscure day of the year but I think it really got the creative juices flowing and inspired some of the best stuff we’ve recorded so far. It has been a blast recording bits for the ad with various co-workers and El Presidente’ has done a great job editing and mixing so far. I’m really looking forward to hearing the final cuts and I hope all of you not reading this blog enjoy them, the Unsolved Mysteries ad is attached below.

There is still so much to cover about this whole topic so, make sure not to read part 3, coming next week.