By Jeffrey Hedquist
Your client has given you a message to convey to the masses: “Buy our stuff.”
Lovely. But your audience may not be on board with that directive. After all, they’ve heard that from every other ad on the air.
But they may respond when you twist the approach with a little irony, with... satire. Why? Because few advertisers use it, because it’s a little surprising, and because you can sneak in the “buy our stuff” message in an unexpected way.
Definitions of satire:
“The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.”
“A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.”
Deep inside us (even those of us in ‘the biz”) is a desire to make fun of advertising. Typical advertising - to hear it roasted gently over the flames of… satire. So be atypical. Turn up the heat, just a little.
You can see it in lots of commercials today: Old Spice and Chipotle among others. We owe it all to the Granddaddy of the satirical commercial, Stan Freberg.
Here are some condensed examples to explain what I mean. These examples would be expanded or contracted to fit the message and the confines of the commercial.
“You like the cold; the biting cold that turns your fingers blue, because you are a man. You would never buy the Super Gloves on sale at Glove World. Heck, they’d keep your mitts warm and comfy in frigid weather and your fingers would lose that manly shade of blue.”
“There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a long software learning curve, mastering the arcane rituals of operation, spending hours without accomplishing anything. No sense just enjoying the quick results you’d get with World Ware, when you could be slogging through tutorials and online manuals trying to figure out how to make everything work.”
“You are a ninja of negotiation. You love the thrill of jousting with a man in a plaid suit over a few hundred dollars of automotive profit. For that reason alone you will refuse to attend the once a year rock bottom sale at Auto World where every vehicle is marked with an embarrassingly low wholesale price.”
“You enjoy the hours going from department to department, aisle after aisle, gathering the right combination of elements for the perfect barbeque. Instead of walking into Food World and finding everything you need in one place – charcoal, starter, tongs, meat, seasonings, grill veggies. That would be too easy, too quick. And you’d rather spend time inside pushing a shopping cart than entertain the hungry party waiting in your back yard, right?”
“You are too smart to fall for that old ‘learn the basics of your instrument so well that they’re automatic.’ You know there’s a better way. Just copy a few riffs. Those guys who are superstars – what do they know? Maybe they know The Foundation Method that we teach at Music World. Just maybe.”
“Don’t you love it when the holidays are here and your family is arriving, and the kids are home from school, and you have to shop, and clean, and wrap gifts, and get food ready for a houseful of guests all by yourself? Of course you do, because you’re crazy. You wouldn’t want to call Deli World and have them create a delicious feast for your guests and deliver it piping hot. Oh no, that would be too easy. You want everyone to ask why you look so tired…”
Jeffrey Hedquist suspects that many of you will know in your hearts that this satire thing could never work, and will stick with the tried and true ad copy your client has always approved, and continue to hear how “radio doesn’t work anymore.” Or maybe you’ll give it a try. Maybe you’ll email