Q It Up: How have you taken advantage of this year’s U.S. presidential election in your imaging? Are you jumping on board the comedy train, or using the election’s huge awareness to position your station in a more serious manner? Or both? If you’re more on the commercial side of things, have you worked politics into some of your creative commercial work? If you have a piece of “election” production that comes to mind, tell us about it and send the audio to us as well! We’ll put it on the RAP CD!
Craig Jackman [Craig.Jackman[at] ottawaradio.rogers.com], Rogers Media, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: We did one thing [audio on CD], tying it into our daily Top 6 feature. This aired in February, and it’s just some clips off You Tube. While it’s a fine short term promo, it really did sound out of place in Canada, so we pulled it after a week or so. Until Sarah Palin came into the picture there really wasn’t anything to parody, and since my comedy stylings fall far, FAR short of Tina Fey... and there’s no shame in that... I’m just going to leave it alone. I’d suggest that the real thing is funnier than the parodies, but at the risk of offending those of the Republican persuasion, I won’t.
Vaughan Jones [scproduction[at]prime radio.com.au], Primedia, Australia: The election theme is bleeding through into our station content more than our actual imagery at this stage. I would assume that will continue to be the case. News and Morning Show comedy segments are starting to ramp their US election content, especially with the Sarah Palin developments providing new material for comedy and news. Usually we run a series of irreverent sweeps around the week of the election that give us some relevance and possibly some reactionary irrev after the winner is declared. Australian view politics in a way differently to other countries, so elections command different emotive responses in our audiences. Culturally, neither the politicians nor their offices are held with a certain amount of disdain here, and therefore our audience demands that we reflect elections with the same aloof contempt. We could not get away with a great deal of pomp and ceremony, and any serious election coverage or discussion would be limited to very brief news bulletins. This might not be the case if we were a serious news or talk format however.
Johnny George [jg[at]johnny george.com], Johnny George Communications Inc.: Since going full time as a voice actor & consultant several years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my political reach with candidates from Hawaii to Philadelphia. I did a few campaigns for candidates in 2006 and have done twice that number this year so far for our primaries and the upcoming election in November.
Many agencies that hire voice actors want a real and non-announcer read for viable spots to bring credibility to their candidate. Most of the works I’ve done are either local or statewide. I’ve not had the opportunity to record any of the national politicals. I’ve honed my skills over the past 2 years and that has brought in more consistent work from many of my agencies. My approach is more calm and natural as opposed to the “attack” spots we’ve heard so much of on the national level. And I’m fine with that. My Political Demo most likely will be updated after this season, but I thought it might help others, to put it out there, to hear what some of the agencies are looking for. Other styles and demos available on my site: johnnygeorge.com.
Jeff Berlin [jberlin[at]jberlin.cowm], www.jberlin.com: The funniest election parodies I’ve read have been station jocks posing as candidates, running “attack” promos against each other.
Steve Stone [sstone[at]zrgmail.com], Zimmer Radio, Joplin, Missouri: I personally feel that using politics to sell cars or furniture to be at the least, trite; at the most - damned annoying. I have had several clients in this market wanting to incorporate an “election” theme into their October copy. It winds up sounding ridiculous, and I disagree with straying away from a campaign’s strategically developed direction to be “timely”. So in this business where the customer is (nearly) always wrong (but the cash register prevails), I produce this **** against my advertising philosophy. Again.
Out of pride, I won’t be sending any election-themed audio for the RAP disc this month.
Buddy Jackson [buddy[at]kyyk.com], KYYK 98.3/KNET 1450, Palestine, Texas: In such a small market, and barely making it into a medium market. I find it hard to get away with dealing with anything political when it comes to being funny. As far as awareness goes, that is not a problem. I just simply let our news department and jocks let people know when election deadlines and locations are at. Over all in my market it is best to stay off peoples toes and not be offensive and keep everything serious and to the point.
Andrew Frame [andrew[at]bafsound works.com], BAFSoundWorks, Lehigh Acres, FL: I do have one agency that does their own creative that we produce running a spot featuring two budget automobiles in a “campaign debate”, but outside of that, nothing. None of the agencies we do creative for have requested anything along those lines.