Your blogger has been hibernating since November, but we’re back again with some thoughts about commercials that were perhaps written in haste, the Grammy Awards, and how Martha Coakley lost the election.
Who wrote this ad?
A Walmart ad just ran on CBS. Great spot, between 60 Minutes and the Grammys. The scene is a kitchen and family room. Everyone…Dad, Mom, Sis, younger Brother, Uncle Someone…is wearing a generic football jersey. One is #12, but it’s not a Brady shirt. Another is #18, but it isn’t for Peyton Manning. She’s serving snacks to the gang as they pile on the couch, and she says, “At our house, we love the playoffs, and I want to be ready to watch it.” Watch IT? Wouldn’t that be “watch them“? I also have a hard time buying the idea of everyone huddled around a flat screen getting excited about all the playoffs. Unless it’s a family of bookies. At my house it would be just me watching the game, and I’d be flipping. My wife would be watching “Real Housewives of New Jersey” or MSNBC. My daughters. if they were around at the time, would have a movie on.
Maybe this TV household is all watching the home town team. That would make more sense. If so, they’re watching the playoff (singular). Why then, is everyone wearing a different color team shirt?
Maybe they are a family of bookies, and they’re all watching the playoffs in general. Last week they could have been gathered around the TV to root for either the Jets or the Colts. But no one is wearing the colors of either team. A stretch. What’s more, as Dan Shaughnessey wrote in the Boston Globe, people around these here parts were rooting for both of those teams to lose.
So basically, the spot was written by someone who does not follow football or playoffs of any sport, and it was shot by a director, and then approved by a client who also don’t follow the playoffs or know how to talk about them.
My station, MAGIC 106.7, actually won a Grammy. It was 1998, and the Academy was hot to prove that it was important for radio stations to front-sell and back-sell new music. As in, “Here’s the new one from Taylor Swift” when you’re introducing the song, and saying, “That was the new one from Taylor Swift” immediately following it. They survey a bunch of radio stations, and decided that MAGIC 106.7 did the best job of this of any station. So we got a “Radio Active” Grammy Award.
Artists often annoy me at the Grammys. They win, get up there and thank their manager, thank a bunch of other people you never heard of, thank God, and thank their mother, which is a good thing. No one ever thanks their father, which I find depressing. But tonight, Michael Jackson’s kids did. Other than Country artists, and Michael Bolton back in the day when he won awards, no one thanks the Radio for playing them.
And if we didn’t, where would they be? They’d be where the Grammy-winning soundtrack to the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” wound up. Nowhere. It was a very good soundtrack. Added a lot to the movie. Radio got a lot of grief for ignoring the Grammy-winning soundtrack, but anyone who has seen the movie must realize that you can’t play 1930’s-style Hillbilly Bluegrass versions of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” or “You Are My Sunshine” on your radio station and still have people continue to listen. Radio makes the hits, and it plays the hits. Any artist who’s made a ton of money made it because they got played on the radio.
How Martha lost the election.
One more rambling subject: The Senatorial election. In 2007 we had both Martha Coakley and Scott Brown at our Exceptional Women Awards. Martha was an award winner that year. Scott was there to promote – guess who? Ayla, who had made the top 16 the previous year on American Idol and had a new single.
So what happened to turn the election? Martha seemed like a slam dunk until a couple of weeks before the election, but Scott clearly out campaigned her. The ridiculous barrage of ads on both radio and TV leading up to the campaign…several times we had four in a row for one side or the other… definitely helped Scott. Why? Naturally, all the Scott Brown ads mentioned him by name. So did all the supporters of Martha Coakley who bought anti-Brown ads. The result was that three of every four ads – regardless who who the ads supported – contained Scott Brown’s name, while only the Coakley committee ads named Martha.
But the real tipping point….Martha’s interview with Dan Rea on WBZ. She mentions Rudy Giuliani and says he’s a Yankee fan. No kidding. Then she adds that Curt Schillng is a Yankee fan. Dan Rea calls her out on this. Curt, the Bloody Sock playoff hero, is certainly a Red Sox fan. Martha defends her comment. “No, he’s not there any more. He’s a Yankee fan.”
Curt Schilling responds the next day on his “38 Pitches” blog and on WEEI saying that there’s no way he’d be a Yankee fan. Jay Leno has Scott Brown do “10 at 10” on his show and jokes about Martha’s Schilling gaffe. Scott agrees with Jay that Schilling would certainly be a Red Sox fan, then proceeds to correctly name Boston’s likely starting rotation in 2010. There’s a bit about this on the opening of Saturday Night Live.
This was a campaign-killer comparable to George HW Bush in 1992 not knowing that supermarkets had scanners, or Gerald Ford in 1976 stating that there was no Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe. All three made the candidate look completely out of touch. In this case, anyone – especially male – who was on the fence about who’d get their vote immediately dismissed Martha based on that comment alone. Was she kidding? Obviously she doesn’t get it. What else doesn’t she get? Was she under a rock in 2004? Doesn’t she know anything?