TargetAlchemyThe Ancient Art of Alchemy, with all its zeal for trying to find the substance of immortality, was first practiced during the Middle Ages and managed to bring into the world such wonderful things as antimony and amalgams.

They sound so charming.

Modern Alchemy, with its zeal for trying to turn back time (and make a buck), is practiced on the Middle-Aged and has given baby boomers such palliatives as Rogaine and Viagra.

Indeed, turning “lead” into gold has never been so completely achieved.

Marketing Alchemy, a separate discipline entirely, has for years attempted to find a way to successfully blend retail and grocery – a middling problem for many of those who’ve attempted it.


Undated photo of early Marketing Alchemy. Researchers
at SuperTarget successfully synthesize fashion and food.

SuperTarget seems to have gotten it right. And not just with their stores, which cleanly stitch together fashion and food, but also with their own line of pantry products like Archer Farms and Sutton & Dodge Beef which are an aesthetic fusion of both sensory and design tastes. Plus, I gotta add, just a few months ago I got to try a SuperTarget “box-o-wine” that a friend had brought over on a whim. i was amazed by how good it was and just as bummed that its not available in Minnesota. Yet.

The radio spots for SuperTarget, called “60 second recipes”, are a bit of a surprise as well. The temptation when producing radio commercials for something like this is to mention everything (loudly), while getting nowhere (quickly) and conveying nothing (convincingly). Bettina Gillen and Lisa Moudry, The writer/producer combo for this campaign, have smartly kept these recipe scripts as lean as is reasonable, while allowing us just enough of a sound-design leash to keep the spots interesting and focused.

We record the talent and “host of the show”, Rose Abdoo, in our Minneapolis studio via ISDN Digital Patch using an APT 3d2 box dialed in to Voicecaster out in L.A. Rose really adds a nice and approachable energy to something that is not easy to do – mapping out a gourmet recipe, complete with products and directions, in under 60 seconds. And, while her name may not be immediately familiar to you, she’s quite a busy actress who’s currently working on a movie with George Clooney

One unique aspect of recording, editing, and producing these spots is that it gives Greg, John and I a chance to hop into the recording studio booth and work some Foley magic – anything from pouring cans of peas, and grabbing utensils, to tossing salads and removing “food” from an “oven”. Its an interesting way to add more originality to the spots while greatly enhancing the depth and breadth of our sound effect library.


Greg, getting some “food” from an “oven” – Our pal, Rose Abdoo – Me, “cooking” in Studio B’ s “kitchen”

This radio campaign is savvy too with how and when the spots get aired – typically in afternoon drive and on weekends when people are likely to be out doing their Target runs while listening to the radio. As if that weren’t enough, these” 60 second recipe” spots always give the SuperTarget website URL so, with just a couple of clicks, anyone can download the recipes, print coupons, and review special offers from the week.

SuperTarget doesn’t yet offer a discount price on immortality, but you can get a nice porterhouse and the BBQ to grill it on.

And on a warm, sunny Summer afternoon in Minnesota, that might be close enough.

Here’s a spot called “Balsamic Green Beans a Go-Go” that aired during the holidays. It features Greg at the controls and yours truly on the salad tongs…

Rose Abdoo can be booked through her agent, The William Morris Agency, in Beverly Hills