Are your words saying the same thing as your pictures?
One of the joys of living in a tiny TV market and watching local broadcast is having a good laugh at the expense of local advertisers.
Granted, the advertisers may not see it that way.
And yes, you may identify this unflattering indulgence as a case of schadenfreude. (Maybe that should be a Words Good Good Word Of The Week?)
Schadenfreude, a delightful sounding German word for delighting in the pain of others is a morbid and mirthful time for everyone but the most conscientious and uncorrupt.
But let’s face it: there are really only three good alternatives here.
2) Stop watching.
3) Call the business and offer to fix their advertising.
Since I‘m a cold-hearted human whose tear ducts have been paved over, crying is out.
To stop watching would require initiative to do something else, and I’m inherently lazy.
And being afflicted by a non-enterprising, introverted kind of lazy means I’m not reaching out to anybody I don’t have to. I’d rather gouge out my own eyes with grapefruit spoons.
So, hello schadenfreude!
Anyway, there’s a local funeral home that advertises on TV with some frequency.
Their ad copy says what you expect: all the normal loads of caring, compassionate boilerplate. Most of the words talk about sincerity and sympathy and such.
Then there’s the swimming pool and the alcohol.
Yes, the image that is firmly cemented into my gray matter is the shot of the men in the family who run this caring and compassionate concern gathered around a poolside patio table with cold, frosty beer.
Nothing in funeral service advertising speaks to caring and compassion like backyard swimming pools and cold beer.
Now, shall I play devil’s advocate?
The message sent by the cold, frosty beer is this: “If it matters to you, we are not Baptists.”
And granted, there might be some method to that madness.
If the receptionist at the funeral home is tired of answering every caller’s first question by saying, “Sorry, we are not Baptists,” that cold frosty beer by the pool is a good way to qualify the prospect before they ever pick up the phone.
That insane bit of possible genius notwithstanding…
As you know, when writing advertising, the single most important person in the message is the customer.
In my humble if hyper-enthusiastic opinion, the best funeral advertising of all time is the Forest Lawn radio of years ago in Southern California.
The campaign was called, I believe, “Celebrate A Life.”
Each commercial was a monologue by someone fondly remembering a deceased friend or family member, and how incredible and joyous the sendoff was.
I’ve never heard any advertisement that made me say, “Wow, I wish I could be that dead guy.”
But this came close. (Talk about the opposite of schadenfreude!)
Ya know what those Forest Lawn commercials never said? “And we chose Forest Lawn because the entire funeral home family likes to drink frosty cold beer around the backyard pool paid for by my funeral dollars.”
Watch the words that are going with your pictures.
Words and picture must complement each other. It doesn’t matter whether they’re on the screen or in your listener’s mind.
The words might be good. But something in the equation might be bad. Unless, maybe, there’s a madness method afoot.
Words good. Madness thoughtful?
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.