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.
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.