Final-BlendWhen talking to an audience that completely eschews anything it sniffs as being girly or pretentious…

…words like “eschew”, for example…

ya really gotta know the lingo.

Walk the walk.

Talk the talk.

And, if you manage to drop in the phrase “power tools” while doing said walking and talking – you’ve successfully drilled down to content that connects like Justin Morneau on a lame-ass hanging curveball (sports references work well too).

Such was the case the other week when we got to work on a holiday radio ad with Minneapolis advertising agency Hunt Adkins and their client, Northern Tool and Equipment. Brian Hucek, the writer, put the stated goal of the spot succinctly (of course, – we’re “walking the walk” here, after all) -“…driving customers to Northern Tool + Equipment during the holiday season. Given [that] the typical Northern Tool customer scoffs at the thought of Christmas sweaters and caroling, the spot needed some attitude to offset the tinsel. The solution? One pissed off Santa. Stuck in a chimney”.


This was gonna be cool. ‘Course, to do this well, you need the right voice-over talent – which, we did. Local hero Mark Benninghofen was our guy at the fictitious call center while Jeff Winter, aka Pissed Off Santa In The Chimney, was brought in via ISDN Digital Patch from Studio Center in Virginia Beach. Simple.

The sound-design was going to be the tricky part – putting Santa in a chimney on his phone would be an interesting wrench to turn. Or, so we thought. In the end however, what helped sell the effect for which we were going really wasn’t even an effect – we simply asked Jeff to affect trying to break free of the chimney at certain points in the copy. Ka-ching. We were able to enhance his struggling with some falling debris, a little small space reverb, a phone filter, some distortion, yada, yada, yada – effectively wrapping it up nicely and putting a glittery little bow on it – which is odd, because, y’know… we’re all guys. Who knew?

Here’s the radio spot, “Chimney”

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Chimney” dl=”0″]

Mark Benninghofen can be booked through his Minneapolis talent agent, Wehmann, or can be hired to write and produce radio spots through his production company, SHOUT!