If you live in the American South, you probably know John Boy and Billy.
They’re comedic radio show hosts based in Charlotte, NC, with a flair for the absurd. Their daily morning show includes a variety of hilarious and often campy sketches that speak, as Shakespeare might say, to audiences “high, middle and low.”
So it was I drove into the parking deck near work the other day, and a radio skit unfolded wherein a sort of moderator – think sportscaster – was imagined sitting in front of a TV trying to narrate the direction and theme of a certain commercial of a well-known brand.
With the commercial’s upbeat soundtrack in the background, he announced there was a girl walking with a cup of coffee. The girl walked up to a group of friends, and they took a selfie. The moderator inferred this must mean a smart phone commercial.
Then the girl went to her car, putting her cup in the car’s cup holder and revving the engine. A car commercial, he thought. Nope.
Then the girl went for a laptop in her briefcase. He announced he felt that it might be an Apple commercial.
Finally, the girl with the coffee, the group selfie, the car/cup holder/engine revving, and the laptop runs through a field of wheat.
At this point, the moderator is laughing so hard he can hardly get the next word out, and so are John Boy and Billy. I’m laughing so hard I start snorting. Clearly this brand commercial has gone off the rails – the moderator confesses he has no idea what the commercial is selling or how the images now unfolding before him connect.
At Bon’s Eye, unfortunately, we encounter a lot of this. Stories advertising a product or service that go nowhere. You see, no matter what you’re selling, human beings are hard-wired (and much more persuaded by) brand stories that have a relative beginning and end, where a challenge is overcome and the main character is transformed.
Stories like these sell products or services because viewers can empathize and see themselves reflected. Stories like these – with discernable mind, body and voice – create brand devotees.
Stories like these are what we do best.
David Frederiksen, Creative Director