Monday, April 27, 2015

Advertising SchadenJoy

Making a television commercial is a tricky proposition.

How, for instance, do you convey the incredible handling and jet-propulsion power of a finely made German sports car?

Or, how do you describe the indescribably salty, tangy, beefy goodness of a restaurant chain's signature Kobe bacon cheeseburger using only the elements of sight and sound?

Years ago, I encountered what is perhaps the greatest of all challenges for a Television commercial -- television.

I was brought in at Chiat/Day to help pitch Pioneer Flatscreen TV's.

Their big selling point? Picture quality. But how, you might ask yourself, do you sell the quality of a new Pioneer TV to people watching TV on their Hitachi's, Panasonic's and old Philco's.

The answer oddly enough, at least for me, was radio.

Not radio specifically but metaphorically, as in theater of the mind. My idea was to craft little paragraphs of copy, not unlike what a screenwriter would present in a screenplay, and have the words read over the air.

The viewer at home would assemble the picture in his or her own imagination and in effect play an integral role in the communication. Not to sound immodest, but not a bad idea. It was different. It was intriguing. And it gave me, the freelance copywriter who had been doing a lot of crappy Year End Sales Events, an opportunity to flex some muscle.

As is often the case, my evaluation of the idea and management's evaluation of the idea were not exactly in synch. Because it was "small", "lacking in scope" and "dry", it got unceremoniously dumped in the huge Siegel Work That Never Made It Out The Door File.

Last week the idea resurfaced. Not for Pioneer TV, they went belly up (you can draw your own conclusions), but for Vizio.

In fact the picture-less commercial for the superior picture Television TV commercial was noted as Creativity's Ad of the Day.

In the past, seeing one of my ideas executed by another team, who will probably get promoted and earn themselves a big raise and buy themselves sportscars that will stave off their midlife crisis for another few years, would have made me steaming mad.

But the truth is, they executed the idea with much more panache than I saw it in my head.

The other truth is, I know the guys behind the work and can honestly they're the good ones. Craftsmen who spend more time working and no time politicking or chest beating or putting up selfies of themselves on Facebook.

Instead of Schadenfreud, I'm now experiencing this uncomfortable feeling of SchadenJoy.

In other words, I'm genuinely happy for them. Which means I've matured quite a bit.

And that's the really scary part.

1 comment:

Tony Mariani said...

Love the theatre of the mind!