I like group a capella singing. I love group a capella sound effects.
My favorite radio commercials of all time are a series for Trop ArcticTM All Season Motor Oil produced in the late 70s. A group of exceptional jingle singers imitated the sound of a railroad crossing, complete with warning bells, locomotive sounds, and a perfect doppler effect as the train roared by.
That was radio in 1979. In 2011 there is an equally well done television ad. Its running right now.
Have you seen this ad?
An SUV drives down the highway. Three boys in the back seat. Three girls in the middle seat. A pair of adults (Dad and Mom?) in the front. The blonde boy in the middle of the back seat starts making mouth noises.
“Bum bum.” (high) “Bum bum.” (low) “Bum bum.” (back to normal) “Bum bum.”
As he repeats, the leftmost girl in the middle seat opens up with “ah-ee ah-ee ah-ee ah-ee.”
The kid directly behind her holds up his soft drink cup, empty of soda, and rattles the ice. Cut to Dad simulating downward a bass glissando.
Bam! The eight people in the car are now each performing their respective parts of a song intro which is becoming very familiar. Kids are fingering their shoulder belts as if they’re playing guitars, and as the camera pulls back to show a full view of the automobile, the passengers all burst into the classic Ozzy Osborne, “Goin’ off the rails on a crazy train.”
Have you seen this ad? If not, I’m sure you will. The ad is scheduled to run during “Dancing With the Stars,” “Big Bang Theory,” and“The Biggest Loser.”
Shall we make some predictions?
People all over America will claim this is their favorite ad. The RPA agency of Santa Monica will win awards. And sales of Ozzy’s catalog will spike before Christmas.
This ad won’t sell cars
Here. I’ll prove it. Show of hands – who knows the ad of which I’m speaking? Oh, a bunch of you. Let’s see… one, two, three… twenty-seven, twenty-eight, two hundred nineteen, a few more…
Now, keep your hand up if you can name the car.
Oh. My. Nobody? Nobody remembers the car being advertised?
And that’s the issue, isn’t it.
In my favorite radio ads the singers pause the sound effects several times to sing out boldly, “Trop ArcticTM, All Season Motor Oil. Long live your caaaarrrrr.”
Thirty years later I still remember those Trop ArcticTM ads.
But vast numbers of viewers who will claim this new TV ad is their favorite, won’t know who to thank for the entertainment. An automobile manufacturer who probably spent half a million dollars to produce this ad, and several million more for TV airtime, will not receive the highest and best use of his advertising dollars.
Because we don’t remember the name of the automobile. We remember “Crazy Train.”
This is a catchy, very well produced, and very bad ad. Please don’t create ads like this if you’re fishing for customers.
PS. Oh, you really can’t remember the make and model of the car in the ad, and it’s driving you crazy? Here’s thirty seconds of some pretty well done TV.
Your Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.
Got questions about creating ads which help customers to remember your name? Call Chuck at 760-813-5474. Or “E” him at [email protected].