By Ben Thorgeirson
One of the reasons I love my job is because I feel like I learn something new almost every day. And whether that’s something about my job, or about myself with regards TO my job, it’s an aspect of my day that I look forward to when I wake up. One thing that I realized a couple of weeks ago that was pretty significant is HOW to be a commercial producer. And when I say ‘How’ I don’t mean, ‘this is how you make and edit in Adobe,’ or, ‘your mic levels have to be at THIS in order to not clip.’ No, when I say ‘how’ to be a commercial producer, I mean how to go about being creative day to day. And sometimes, that’s not going to happen. You’ll have slow days, busy days, days where you could probably leave for 2 hours and no one would notice. But your creativity will be sitting in your head on call. And part of your job is to know when to step up and mentally perform for your clients.
For example: over the last couple of months, it’s been pretty slow around here creative-wise. A lot of clients have been asking for straight up voice over music/price point driven spots. I’ve felt like my brain was turning into cottage cheese. Then a sales rep came in and asked if I could join them in a brainstorm with one of her clients, a land developer looking to drive people to buy houses and townhomes in their new community. It’s not exactly a client that someone would look at and go, ‘This is going to be so fun! I can’t wait to make a campaign of soft sells!’ But in the weirdest way possible, I felt so alive! I saw this as an opportunity to expand my land of make believe and have fun. Of course, it was a gift considering the client was willing to go with something ‘different.’
It was so awesome to throw out ideas and snowball from them with the writers. And the look on the client’s face? Priceless. We presented some of the weirdest ideas for this client. Campaigns that involved super heroes like, ‘Garage Guy, saving the world from disorganization by utilizing the power of his double garage. The evil Rubbermaid bins have never been so put in their place… next to the bicycles.’ And remember, this is a land developer – like I said… a gift.
Right now in Calgary, I feel like I only make car dealer and developer spots. And where I work, we’re trying to show that gone are the days of the soft sell home builder/developer. It’s a new generation that’s purchasing homes, and they want to be shown that they can have a good time in your community. Yes, they want a safe place to raise a family, but what’s living if you’re not having fun? Twenty clients that make condos and townhomes are all sounding the same; whoever comes in next HAS to sound different. And that’s when we shine at our job. We’re creative when called upon because someone else can’t be. And that’s what makes a great creative department. Turning it on with the writers and coming up with something that’s never been done before – it’s possible. All you have to do is keep your imagination locked and loaded so you can fire off a clip of creativity. No if you’ll excuse me, I need to stow away my ingenuity (or lack thereof) and get back to a stack of voice over music 30s.
Ben is a Commercial Producer for Newcap Radio in Calgary, AB. He welcomes your correspondence at