TV Commercials and Steve Williams

As I read the paper this morning I considered voting Labour…..nah, just kidding. But I did read one policy idea and think to myself, “that has merit.” Although further down the article it quotes the current Minister of Broadcasting and, apparently, the area is under discussion and the answer is not further regulation.

The area is TV commercials. And more specifically the volume of said TV commercials. So I am not the only one who thinks the ads tend to be three times louder than the programmes. I would like to send a note to all agencies and explain, “If you shout at me, it will not make me buy your product.” What I would suggest instead is that you entertain me with clever humour or you paint a picture with words that persuades me how much better my life would be with your product in it. This is easier to do on radio, you use sound effects and words, people listen and the ‘theatre of the mind’ does the rest for you. That’s one reason why I love audio books, they exercise my creative imagination.

I spent some wonderful years in radio, commercial radio, music radio, talk radio, sport radio. People wonder why I seldom watch rugby on TV, I knit and I listen to the commentary, until we do something wonderful and then I stop, watch and cheer. It’s because I used to edit radio highlights packages as the game went on and I got very used to listening to the tone of voice, the pitch of voice and the sound effects of the game. When I watch, my eyes take over and I don’t hear all the nuances in the voices.

Back to commercials. The ones you remember are the ones at either end of the scale, the ones that yell at you about sales that are about to end and your house will explode if you don’t buy something to put in it and the ones that use a clever idea to entertain you.

Funny how many of those use animals…remember the Telecom ads with wild animals doing their normal stuff to music? Or the ‘bugger’ ad with a dog? Or the Lotto ad with a very loyal dog who brings the winning ticket halfway around the world to an owner who now has a cat, so he gives it to the local tramp? And my personal favourite leading up to the Rugby World Cup (for the TAB) with the prediction chicken who did a leap when shown a picture of Tony Woodcock as first try scorer. Who scored the ABs try in the final? Tony Woodcock. How many other people yelled “prediction chicken!!” at the TV? O.K., so it was only me.  

And the ASB ad. Dear old Goldstein, the New York banker who commented to a farmer, “Nice flock of cows.” The farmer turned to him and with ultimate scorn said, “Herd of cows.” Goldstein rolled his eyes and retorted, “Of course I’ve heard of cows!!” So simple, so endearing and so little to do with banking.

So, turn down the volume in the TV ads, good policy, won’t cost the billions that the rest of Labour’s policies will cost and many people will thank you. While you’re at it you could fix some of the other minor things that bug us?…queues at the Post Office, the lack of parking spaces in the main street of Cambridge (actually there are plenty but there are no traffic cops so you can park all day), junk mail in the newspapers, ring pull cans where the ring pull doesn’t work, snails and slugs in the vege patch.

Have to put in my two pennies worth about Steve Williams. I met him a couple of times in my media career and he seemed a classy, genuine guy. He stood by Tiger when the genius revealed feet of clay and then he got sacked. Golfers sack their caddies, fact of life, no sports job is forever. Get over it. Move on. Do NOT make comments about the man who made you MUCH money, especially not those kind of comments. Disappointed. The caddy has feet of clay too. Pot. Kettle. Black.

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