From Planes to Hashtags: My Love of Advertising; Bonus - Top Rated Game Show Idea Included For Free!
Updated: Jul 20, 2019
"What's that say Daddy?"
I'm four-years-old and it's a hot summer day on the Ocean City beach at the Jersey Shore. We didn't own a shore house, but had a camper that we stayed at during summer weekends located 15 minutes from the beach. I was driving my father crazy as he was trying to pour orange aid from a family size container into four cups.
"It says, 'Eat at Bookers, Located at 9 Wesley Ave Ocean City!". My father was very patient with me at the time and very supportive of my growing curiosity. There was something about the messages on the planes that had me so fascinated. I always thought that it was so cool how the planes would make these loud noises and would be pulling these huge signs with red print that advertised the local businesses. I always had my father read them to me every time they flew by.
I had no idea what I was going to do with my life as I entered Rowan University as a freshman. I majored in English, hoping to be a teacher...but to be honest, I found Shakespeare kind of boring...and hard! Something that I was always good at was simplifying things that were difficult in a clear and concise way. During a consultation with some of my fellow classmates, I felt that copywriting should be my future. I changed my major from English to Communications with a specialization in advertising after my first year.
But my love of advertising was something that developed during childhood. I never minded when my cartoons were interrupted to show the newest and coolest toys or movie trailers. Let's take a journey back to an era when marketing was a little different than it is today. Here were some of my favorites:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
My dad went all over to find me that blimp for my 8th birthday. This commercial is very sentimental to me for that fact. But I think that I was also very much enamored with the set design of these toy commercials. How cool would it have been to have had a playroom that had toy sets designed by professional commercial artists? Speaking of the Ninja Turtles, what 80's/90's kid didn't have this next commercial memorized?
That's right. "I'm not a chicken, you're a turkey!”. I must have seen this commercial a million times when I was seven. Maybe this is what drove me to write the D.A.R.E. medallion winning essay in 5th grade?
Marketed towards children, Pound Puppies were the perfect answer for any parent who wanted to experience "owning" a puppy without all of the hard work of taking it out for walks or cleaning it's poop. Nowadays, it seems like many people actually own rescue dogs. I wonder how those numbers were in the 80's when Pound Puppies were around?
Shark Attack (Board Game)
"It's comin'!..It's comin'!...It's comin'!...It's comin' to get you!“ Sometimes a song with the right musical hook is all it would take for me to want the product. When the song gets stuck in your head you know the game is going to be cool. Fortunately, we got this one year for Christmas and it didn't disappoint.
Wacky Promotional Prize Giveaways (McDonalds)
Yeah, that's right kids - I'm old enough to remember records. If the choir is successful in finishing this little diddy about Big Macs and Quarter Pounders with Cheese then you've just won $1,000,000. ($2,170,000 in 2019) Was this a legit contest?...and did someone actually win? The world may never know. But the silly little song is still stuck in my head 31 years later.
My childhood love of impactful advertising would continue to adulthood. Here are a couple of recent campaigns that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Modern Day Promotions (NFL)
2017 was an incredible year for Philadelphia. The 2017 Eagles would go on to win the Superbowl after hosting the NFL Draft earlier in the year. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the draft and experience the incredible festival that the NFL brought to the city of brotherly love. When my wife and I attended the final day of the draft on that Saturday, there were giveaways on the draft stage that the winners were determined through social media. After answering a trivia question via tweet, those with the correct answer would need to use #draftstage and the first person with the correct answer would win the prize. The prizes included NFL memorabilia to Eagles season tickets. Unfortunately, my thumb and fingers were not quick enough to win the prize but I did know the answer was "Steagles". I was so impressed with the the campaign that I used something similar in a marketing pitch.
Were you a fan of "Breaking Bad"? I was, and so were a lot of people. When fans saw Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston teasing an upcoming project their anticipation went through the roof. Would it be a "Breaking Bad" movie or brand new spinoff? No, it turns out that the instagram post was only meant to market their new brand of mezcal, Dos Hombres. People were mildly annoyed, but they'll get over it as long as the taste is good and doesn't give you a bad hangover.
So those were some of the marketing and advertising tactics that I have loved throughout my life. There's a lot more, but I don't want to take up all of your time. However, even to this day, none of them compare to the simple loud plane pulling a sign with red print that my dad would read to me. You see, my dad's memory and reading ability aren't the same as they used to be. Getting older will do that to you. But I do treasure that time and I can't wait to make new memories with my son after he is born.
And now it's the time that you've all been waiting for. The time when I get to be creative and give all the networks a free idea. Here me out on this.
Do you all remember the "Boom, Goes the Dynamite!" guy? If you need a refresher, here it is:
Here's my idea. An American Idol/Masked Singer/Dancing With The Stars style reality competition to find the next big time sportscaster. We can call it, "Boom, Goes the Dynamite!", hosted by the one and only "Quiz Daddy Emeritus" Scott Rogowsky. Our judges panel will include the legendary Charles Barkley, Kay Adams from Good Morning Football, and the man from the original video himself, Brian Collins.
The gameplay would start for the three contestants in the first round with sports trivia asked by Rogowsky including banter with the judges. The winner of the round has the advantage of choosing the order and what news story they will cover for the next round. Round 2 would then change to each of the three contestants sitting on a news studio set reading off a 2-3 minute sports news segment from the past. After the contestant completes the story they are issued a score by the judges. This score combined with voting from the live studio audience will eliminate one of the three competitors with the winner of the round choosing which of the two segments they will read in the final round. (Like the showcase showdown on "The Price is Right")
The final round is where things will get crazy. Each contestant will need to read a segment as picked by the prior round's winner, who will also choose the order of who goes first and second. The catch to this round is that while the contestant is sportscasting, the scene around them goes crazy like a "Big Brother" style competition. The contestant is getting slime dumped on them, confetti shot in their face, air horns blasted in their vicinity, the teleprompter starts reading incorrect copy, and the wrong clip is playing on the screen. Whichever contestant has the ability to better complete the segment with minimal mistakes and full composure as determined by the judges panel and live studio audience will be the winner of that edition of "Boom, Goes the Dynamite!". This is a show that can playout through an entire season week by week with a final winner in the end, or maybe have three different contestants each week. I would prefer a full season of 10-12 players with one or two eliminations per episode. What do you say DAZN? After this show becomes a hit you can take me out for a steak dinner at Keens and we'll call it even. (I've always wanted to go to Keens since I saw it on "Billions". The Mutton Chop looks so good!)
I hope that you enjoyed this edition of The Thermo. If you like what you read, please leave a comment, share, or like the article - heck maybe even subscribe to the blog. I'm always trying to improve myself as a writer and would love to hear any advice or feedback.
Song of the Day:
"The Warrior" by Scandal