By Dennis Daniel
You know it’s coming! It comes every year at certain times of the year. Those dreaded “holiday” “4 season” and “sport event” oriented commercials. New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, March Madness, Spring, Labor Day Weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July Weekend, Summer, Black Friday weekend, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Anyone and everyone who advertises pretty much has to have some kind of theme that orients itself to these calendar events. And every year, YOU have to come up with a way to make them fresh, new and distinctive. HA! Cover me up with barbed wire and duct tape and throw me over the Matterhorn! HELP!
The only way I can pull me together for these upcoming creative blitzkriegs is to have my own specific formulas and concepts that are unique to me and stand out for each season, event, etc.
The first line of defense is having something that will match the holiday feel. Very often I find that my clients have so much they want to say about their events, I hardly have the time to be creative. So, I’ve developed a few “sketches” that last between :15 to :20 seconds in the beginning of the spot to get their attention. Trick is, I want to also include a mention of the sale or event IN that sketch.
Let’s take the Holidays for an example.
I wanted to use Holiday motifs that everybody knows but may not have heard used in the way I am using them. For example, everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol and Scrooge. How can I take that story and chop it down to 20 seconds as an intro? Well, we know that Scrooge turns a new leaf by the end of the story. Maybe he can send Bob Cratchit out to do something, make him think he did it wrong, then turn it around that he did it right after all. Here’s my copy template:
Scrooge: Bob Cratchet, get in here!
Cratchit: Yes Mr. Scrooge?
Scrooge: Cratchet…I just saw the paperwork on the new Hyundai I asked you to get me from Route 60 Hyundai… it says you drove it away with zero to pay. Is this true?
Cratchit: Yes sir….
Scrooge: Just for that Crachet… I’m going to…
Crachit: Oh no!
Scrooge: Raise your salary! Happy Holidays dear boy!
It’s like a 20 second version of A Christmas Carol! It can work in any formula! Any client!
Next, I use the same theory, only this time I apply it to Santa Claus, thusly:
(Jingle bell fx)
Mama: Santa, I’m worried. That old sled will make traveling very unsafe...
Santa: But mama… we can’t afford a new sled…
Mama: But we can afford a new Kia Optima from Gateway Kia! Starting as low as 99 dollars a month.
Santa: 99 a month wow! But what do I do with the reindeer?
Mama: Trade them in… Gateway will give you up to $5,000!
Santa: Doooooo ho ho hooooo!
Once again, all you have to do is plug in client and the event and you have a fine lead in to a cute holiday spot, that still gives you about 40 seconds to sell.
When it comes to New Year’s ideas, that’s a little tougher. Everyone basically does something that has to do with a ball drop, countdown, etc. I wanted to find something that got the idea of a new year across without resorting to that. What worked for me was the idea of the old year going out and the New Year baby coming in. The old guy is gonna die and miss out on the new sales event. Cruel but true. Goes something like this:
Baby New Year: Okay old man, time to retire.
Old Man 2015: Who are you?
Baby: I’m 2016. You’re 2015 days are over.
Old Man: Oh yea? What makes you so great?
Baby: I’m the year everyone’s going to go to Dadeland Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram for their gi-normous New Year sales event!!!
Old man: Boy, I’d love to stick around for that… I… (alarm goes off) uugghhhh. (he dies)
Baby: Happy New Year!
It’s all about the formula. It’s all about being able to use the same idea for anyone and just plugging in the info. I have clients all across the country, so I can use these same concepts many times!
For President’s stuff, I’m lucky because I can do some imitations… Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton. I intersperse them throughout the spot, like so:
Kennedy: This Presidents’ month, ask not what your money can do for you, ask what Dadeland dodge can do to save you money!
Anncr: Dadeland Dodge knows… all customers are created equal and deserve huge savings… that’s why, during Dadeland’s Presidents’ Savings month, you’ll save on every new Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram. Like a new 2016 Jeep Cherokee, just 1-79 a month for 39 months! Or a new 2016 Ram 1500 Express… loaded… just 2-99 a month for 39 months! And Dadeland doesn’t care about your past credit. Their banks want to say “yes,” you’re approved!
Nixon: Let me make this perfectly clear… you’ll save really really big during President’s Savings Month at Dadeland!
Anncr: Dadeland Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram… South Dixie Highway in Miami... Find more at Dadeland Dodge dot com. That’s Dadeland Dodge dot com!
Reagan: Well, I have just one thing to say… the savings are always grand… at Dadeland! Mommy… is it time for my oatmeal?
I submitted an example of the New Year’s spot this month so you can hear how it came out. Hope these few examples help you out and inspire you to come up with your own formulas during the holiday’s and events this coming year!
Dennis Daniel is the Senior Broadcast Creative Director at Cameron Advertising in New York. He welcomes your correspondence at