Tips & Techniques - June 1993

Here's a quick brainstorm session for Father's Day and Independence day from Jeff Left, KVOX/K100, Moorhead, MN.

Father's Day: One theme is to have the entire family go in on getting dad something really nice! Clothing stores are good with all the brothers and sisters going in on getting dad a suit, socks, tie, shoes, overcoat/raincoat and a wallet...Another version is shoes! Get Dad his dress Oxfords, plus his boat shoes, plus his athletic shoes and sandals...Or completely outfit dad into his favorite sport. Get him the shirt, pants, clubs, balls, visor and a free front nine!...Remind female listeners they have two dads to buy for, their dad and the father of their children...Dad spelled backwards is dad!...Have a "Daddy longlegs" special for tall dads...Another good one is to play around with the way you say the word, "dad." -- Your dad...he has heard you call him so many times over the years! Dad (tired of waiting), dad (happy to see you), dad (hurry up), dad (as in thank God your here), dad (can you do this for me?) and dad (like, why is the earth round-like?)...Get several people to say Happy Father's Day in several different accents and dialects from around the country (or use different languages from around the world if possible). The copy then says: They say it differently all over the country (or world), but there's one way to wish dad a Happy Father's day he will never forget -- with a gift from (store name)...A look at great fathers in the past: Archie Bunker, Fred McMurry, Robert Young, Fred Sanford, Fred Flintstone and Al Bundie!!!

Independence Day: $17.76. How many clients can put together a great sale for the week of, weekend of, or day of with the price of $17.76? This is a good way to finish a rush on summer anything like summer fashions, outdoor or camping items, house or garden materials or tanning gels. Whether you're 17 or 76, you'll find a great deal at (store name)....The 4th! Celebrate the 4th with one-fourth off many items in the store...Celebrate the 4th all month long; when you get your ticket punched the 4th one is free!...We beat the British, so make them pay! $$$ off London fog rain coats for men and women. $$$ off a pair of British Knights. $$$ off all English Leather products or all "red coats" in ladies fashions, career wear or casual wear. "King" and "Queen" size linen or beds...All clothing with stars and stripes on sale in missy petites and juniors sizes..."Oh say can you see?" -- Celebrate at Vision Whatever with a 4th off lenses, contacts or frames!...The changing of the guard with a new home or business security system...Be a minute man this Independence Day with savings of $$$ off all watches and time pieces of any kind at (store name)...Hear the Liberty Bell crack and save $$$ off X items in the store! 


 

"Tuna" Jon Rose/WBYR, Ft. Wayne, IN writes with a solution to a problem many of us have encountered at least once.

We recently were sent a poor-quality dub of an outdated jingle for a local car dealership. The tape box had the following added to the label by the radio station that provided the dub, ostensibly to show that the shoddy work was not their own: SOUND QUALITY PHASING ETC. BEYOND OUR CONTROL -- DIRECT DUB OF A POOR QUALITY DUB ORIGINALLY "Mastered ???" AT W---.

I sent the account's AE a memo saying, in effect: a) the jingle was outdated fifteen years ago (later discovering that the jingle was actually recorded thirty years ago!); b) that our copy of said jingle was a bad copy of a bad copy, ad infinitum; c) that the very-obviously-spliced-on vocals at the end were a bit out-of-phase; and d) that I felt our station would be held hostage to a lame, antiquated jingle for sixty seconds every time it played, and how I hoped we'd still have an audience listening to the station to hear the next advertiser's message.

Did I mention that I hate it when that kind of stuff is sent to me and the client (or worse, the agency) expects it to be played with no questions asked? I do.

As mentioned above, the jingle was written and recorded some thirty years ago. The music is sort of jazzy, with brushes on the snare drum, harmon mutes in the trumpets, some Lionel Hampton-esque vibes thrown in, harmony vocals (as opposed to a lead vocal with backup singers) -- you get the idea. Turns out this dub was taken from the dealership's first-ever jingle package, and the point of using the thing was that 1993 marks their 30th year in business, which explained the accompanying fax saying the agency expected they'd be using this jingle quite a bit this year. Great idea, but the jingle sounded terribly out-of-place in our Classic Rock/AOR format, and playing something like that would be against all the rules.

Of course, when a client starts waving around pictures of dead Presidents, one tends to bend the rules a bit. Still, we wanted to protect the integrity of our air-sound, so we came up with an idea that we hoped would save both the values of the production department and the account. We called the agency, alerted them to our plan, and rewrote the copy.

Our solution: rather than just play this piece of ancient music on the air and stick the standard copy over it, we made the jingle itself the focal point of the spot and wrapped the copy points around it. Referring to the music as having been written thirty years ago when the dealership was the new kid on the block, it gave the jingle a nostalgic quality without making it seem out of place.

Is the spot a stellar piece of production? Hardly. Will it dazzle the audience at the 1994 Addys? In my dreams. But, then again, that wasn't the point. What we tried to do was keep both the client and agency happy by running their thirty year old jingle as they requested, and at the same time avoid turning off our listeners by softening the negative impact of an outdated, out-of-place piece of music.

Fortunately, we don't have to deal with this scenario very often, though every now and then we get a dub from somebody who's credo could well be, "If it's on tape, it's good enough!" It's inevitable. Maybe our resolution could help someone else in the RAP net with a similar problem. Or perhaps others have already run across this problem and have solutions of their own they'd like to share. I know I'd like to hear of different ways this kind of problem can be tackled.