Did I mention that I work for Canada’s public broadcaster?
It’s awesome. Not only am I surrounded by brilliant and spunky people, but I get to climb around in Casey and Finnegan’s tree-house every single morning.
But things are always changing at the CBC, and recently, due to budgetary challenges, it was announced that our (formerly commercial-free) national music service will soon begin airing 4 minutes of commercials per broadcast hour.
It’s a siesmic shift. Nobody wants commercials cluttering up the airwaves, but the possible alternatives (show cancellations? endless re-runs of dusty radio dramas? dismantling the transmitters and selling the iron for scrap?) would likely drive even more listeners away. So commercials it is.
I’m just hoping nobody learns about my past.
Back in my early-twenties, I wrote commercials for a small-town radio station. I could churn out anywhere between 20 and 25 thirty-second spots per day. I wrote radio ads for funeral homes, steak houses, furriers, gentlemen’s clubs, used car lots, you name it. I was shameless, and I had a special knack for writing slogans.
One day, however, my copywriting superpowers deserted me. The results were disastrous. Check out this slogan I wrote for a flooring company – a company with the unusual name of Feel Fooring:
“For floors with feeling, feel free to phone Feel Flooring.”
Yes, I actually wrote that sentence. Forgive me. It was the end of a long day, and I’d written 30 spots already. I was, as they say, out of juice.
Back in those days, once you’d written a commercial, you had to call up the client to get them to approve your copy. It could be a humiliating experience; reading your well-crafted commercial over the phone, and then having it ripped to shreds by some dude who sold, I don’t know, chain saws for a living.
As I read that goofy Feel Flooring spot over the phone, I kept thinking NO WAY is Mr. Feel Flooring going to go for this.
“For floors with feeling feel free to phone Feel Flooring.”
I gave it my very best delivery. And to my shock and horror, the copy was approved! The commercial began running the very next day.
If you lived in the greater Espanola area during the early nineties, and spent any time listening to the radio, then I sincerely apologise.
On the bright side, that commercial won me the employee-of-the-month award. 50 bucks!