Thursday, January 26, 2012

How To Rattle That Stick In The Swill Bucket




Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.
-John Wanamaker

I lived in Los Angeles back in the early eighties. I have a soft spot in my heart for Fred Rated. Fred Rated is semi-well known as Shadoe Stevens, a disc-jockey game show host voice-over dude. According to Wikipedia, he's currently the announcer for Craig Ferguson's late night show.

He'll always be Fred Rated to me. LA TV and radio was fun just then. Cal Worthington and Elvira and Fred; The Plimsouls and Oingo Boingo and Wall of Voodoo. It was all cheesy garbage and I loved it. I loved the west-coast flavored The Gong Show just as I had adored the execrable east-coast Community Auditions because it was crap and didn't pretend to be anything else, and you could just watch the fat majorettes drop their batons while jitterbugging to disco versions of Sousa marches and enjoy the hell out of it while nursing a hangover.

Fred Rated became a sorta star by making those commercials. If the purpose of advertising is to make the public aware of the product then Fred was a smash, if I'm anything to go by. It's thirty years later and I remember him, and fondly. If the purpose of advertising is to get you to part with money, I make it a miserable failure, because I never set foot in a Federated store and never got the urge to, either.

Advertising has gotten very, very creepy. The Stasi crossed with a peeping tom keeps track of you, online and elsewhere, and mines it for all its worth. Funny that guys like Fred played a creep, and yet their appeal was simply to amuse while barking out the phone number.

This blog is advertising, I guess; I try to be charming, and let you know I exist. I know the charming part is thin on the ground now and then, but I try to exist as hard as I can. Maybe it's the only half that matters, anyway.

11 comments:

vanderleun said...

You know, a simple "Buy this bench or I shoot the dog" would be sufficient.

julie said...

Ha - Cal Worthington. He was up in my neck of the woods too, in Washington.

"If you need a car or truck, go see Cal..."

For us his closing line was as memorable as the jingle: "Worthington Ford in Federal Way, the ONLY way! Open 'til midnight, every day!"

It's amazing how hearing a name from a commercial the past can be like time travel.

Gagdad Bob said...

I have fond memories of his stint at the Mighty Met, back in the formless days of my formative years. From wiki:

"Stevens was hired in 1974 to create something new and exciting for the struggling format KMET had put in place. With a staff that included B. Mitchell Reed, Stevens, Jimmy Rabbitt, Brother John, and Mary Turner, Stevens introduced an irreverent, exciting new rock format that retained some of Donahue's progressive freedom but gave it energy, consistency, and a branded attitude filled with radio theater, featured programming, and high production values..."

South of 5 and 20 said...

Hey, those are great prices for VHS tape!

Anonymous said...

So Althouse was right?

Fuck.

lorraine said...

I lived and grew up in LA (all over but especially Hollywood) from 1960 until 1979. Cal Worthington was around for all of it - cowboy hat and all. One needs to want the product for advertising to be effective. It may swing you to this or that store but never pull you in if you don't want the stuff. I just love it when you write and comment on just about anything. Thanks.

BJM said...

Shadoe voicing Geoff Peterson is the only reason to sit through Ferguson's twatwaffling.

Leslie said...

You are charming, though, with a underlying disappointment, that is charming in itself. It spurs you on to make beautiful things, write beautiful things. It is your advertisement. And it is no bucket of swill.

Sixty Grit said...

Ex nihilo nihil.

leelu said...

Good times!

I actually got a pretty nifty stereo at the Federated on Olympic, just east of Centinella.

"A little bit of heaven, ninety-four point seven, KMET, ooo-wee!"

I used to listen to B. Mitch Reed when he was at KFWB in the 60s...

Yes, I am old...

Gagdad Bob said...

The supreme BMR!