Thursday, May 03, 2007

You and Your Fancy-Schmancy Slogans

Local radio commercials tend to be fairly horrible, for a number of reasons. One is that when a radio sales rep sells a package of spots, copywriting is included free in the package. Why charge for a professional copywriter when you have a disk jockey on staff? Yes, sir, we’ll just have our morning guy write those spots for you.

Yeah, that’s the morning guy with the fart sound effects cued up at all times.

Another reason is that a lot of local radio talents have the notion you have to sound like an announcer, even when you’re playing a character. Of course, maybe that’s because the disk jockeys are writing spots in which the characters sound like radio announcers.

Another reason relating to talent is that just having a cousin who wants to voice radio spots doesn’t mean she should be allowed to.

I mention all this because I heard a spot this morning that summed up everything that’s bad about local radio commercials. (Yes, this means I switched from the local NPR station. Honestly, hearing President Poor Dope’s voice every morning was making me lose the will to live.) The spot was for a used car dealership and featured two guys who were either employees of the dealership or the worst actors in the Des Moines metro. The gist of the spot is that one guy is making some advertising suggestions and the other is saying that none of them are necessary. The first guy says that maybe they need a slogan, and the other replies “We don’t need a fancy slogan. All we need to do is sell good used cars.”

It was the “fancy slogan” line that got me. “We don’t need a fancy slogan.”

Think of all the advertising you see and hear in a given day. Think of all the taglines (or “slogans,” for you laymen). Did you ever think a company was being elite, or haughty, or worse, hoity-toity for employing a tagline?

TV Anncr: Sponsored by Michelin—because a lot’s riding on your tires.
Car Guy 1: Oh, did you hear that? “Because a lot’s riding on your tires.” La-de-freakin-da!
Car Guy 2: Oh, look at me! I’m Michelin! I have a fancy slogan that makes me better than you!
Car Guy 1: Elitist pigs!

You’ve got to be extremely distrustful of advertising to think that using one of its most common conventions might somehow give the impression that you’re putting on airs.

Either that, or you have the lowest self-esteem on the planet.

* * *

One More Thing

I know this post was better suited for The Rat Race Choir, but I suspect the Choir is on permanent hiatus. I wanted to keep what passes for momentum going here at the Runes, and I didn’t feel like commenting on the dumbass and his veto of the military funding/troop withdrawal bill. I mean, honestly, what more needs to be said? The poor dope’s attempt to go down in history as the big macho war president is entering its fifth year of failure, and as long as there are people like Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice massaging his prostate, he’s not going to change his little excuse for a mind.

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