There was an old rule of thumb in Television that went something like; “to have a successful show, your lead character must be safe, likable and never do anything that could be considered problematic”.
That guy must be hurling mom’s meatloaf into his coon skin cap every time Family Guy, The Simpsons or South Park comes on the tube. Heck, by comparison,“Alex”, from a Clockwork Orange, has probably had an easier time relaxing in front of the idiot box.
But, that’s TV and movies. By contrast, cynicism in the world of radio advertising is a domain that hasn’t been deeply mined. That’s why this latest batch of radio ads that we’ve been recording with Kerker for their Roundy’s account has been so refreshing.
A typical recording session with Kerker: many laughs and animated thought clouds
The writers for these radio ads, Terry Thomas, Ian Simpson and Beth Kinney have tapped into a great way to use a single voice, minimal production and unabashedly outrageous premises to create some really funny spots for Rainbow Foods, Copps and Pick ‘N Save grocery stores. And, they work hard too – there’s always at least three different products and price mentions in each production. What’s really impressive is that these radio spots are all being done with the limited budget and margins common to the food industry. Truly, these are cheap laughs.
The voice-over recording for these radio ads is typically a pretty hilarious process. Twin Cities voice-over legend Dick Ervasti, the booming voice-over talent for all these spots, brings a swaggering countenance into the booth to get the character just right. Any single pass behind the microphone will undoubtedly carry with it a distinct sneer and some deliberate finger pointing antics. Somehow, words like “rump roast” just come off funnier that way.
Part of what’s been a trip for Terry, Ian and Beth (aside from the time here at the recording studio) is the running tally they’ve been keeping of all the people, places and things they’ve thrown under the bus in the name of comedy and moving cans of peas. Here’s the infamous, “list of the ridiculed” to date…
All this silliness has proven to be smart marketing, however, as sales at all three grocery chains are on the rise.
We picked out a few of our favorite Roundy’s radio ads from the past months recording sessions to post here for you. Here is “Buy One Get One Free”, “No Relation”, “That’s Not Funny” and our new personal favorite, “Sounds Better” featuring the vocal stylings of writer, Terry Thomas – who is now perhaps the only person on earth who has ever made a Neumann TLM-103 sound like complete crap.
Dick Ervasti can be booked for voice-over recording sessions through his Minneapolis voice-over agent, Moore Creative Talent, inc. Terry Thomas can not be booked for voice-over recording sessions for reasons that should be patently obvious.