Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Makin' It Better: Advertising

As I fast forwarded through the commericals on Veronica Mars last night, my wife and I mocked the poor suckers who have to wade through the commericals every week. It takes them an hour to watch an hour-long show! However, the numbers of these poor suckers is rapidly dwindling and this has produced a real or perceived crisis in the world of advertising. Increasingly, television networks are turning to older solutions like having single-sponsors of the evening news (I can't wait for Prilosec to bring us the next terrorist attack or presidential assassination) or product placement. On a recent Office a paper baler was the featured product and as soon as I can figure out how to child-proof one I'm definitely getting one for my warehouse.

But anyway, I was listening to an old Burns & Allen show on my iPod when I came across a novel solution in the person of Bill Goodwin. Now we all know about George Burns and if you know anything about comedy you know Gracie Allen but Bill Goodwin is forgotten. I suspect he wasn't very famous in the thirties and forties. Goodwin was the show's announcer and part of his job was the commercials. But he wouldn't just read the commericals, it was his dialogue. He was a character on the show and would turn any conversation into an excuse to talk about the virtues of Swan Soap or Maxwell House coffee. It was a running gag. Here is some sample dialogue to show you what I'm talking about:

Tootsie: Bill why do you like her (Veronica Lake)?
Bill: I tell ya, Tootsie whenever I think of a lake I think of a swan. And Swan is the new floating white soap, purer than the finest Castille. A regular sudsing whiz.

Gracie: What about Mad Man Muntz?
Bill: No, besides he's not mad any more.
Gracie: Why?
Bill: I told him about Maxwell House coffee. (Bill goes on to extoll the virtues of Maxwell House)

Maybe we need that today. Why not have Mac bust out in the virtues of Apple Computers whenever Veronica Mars asks her for help. Hell, most Mac users do that already. Or on Scrubs J.D. could date a pharmacist who tells the doctors about the latest from Pfizer every week. "A breath of fresh air, J.D.? For patients suffering from COPD Spiriva is real breath of fresh air!"

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