Don't get headaches, learn the secrets from a pro!

Don't get headaches, learn the secrets from a pro!

   David Ogilvy (a Brit who did some ‘adverts’) once said, “If you can’t say it, sing it, dude. Sing it loud, sing it proud.” I believe he said this nugget at Woodstock when he sat in with Canned Heat for a set, then wailed like a banshee on fire as Hendrix burned his guitar. David wasn’t just an ad guru, he was also a monster singer and cowbell player. And a hell of a strip backgammon player.

   The point is, if you don’t have much to write about, write lyrics because when you marry them with music they tend to eat up a lot of time–– which means you write less but make the same amount of money so you make more per word. In the future, this will be how writers are paid. Art directors will be paid by the tonnage of foamcore they generate for client meetings (yes, there will be more incidents of bleeding hearts hugging foamcore trees in the future). Anyway, the fact is most copywriters are afraid to write jingles because they are ignorant swine who have rhyming problems. Not to worry, inksters, here’s all you need to know.

   First, write something directed at the listener. A grabber that reaches out, yanks the listener by his or her ear, and burrows into their brains like a tranquilizer dart into Wayne Newton’s fleshy haunch. Your opening line should be empathetic to the listener. Here are some excellent examples of opening lines: You’re working harder than ever, umm, yes you are… You don’t like headaches and nausea, you’re not too keen on diarrhea and vomiting either… You expect precision engineering these days from auto manufacturers in a large Michigan city we’ve come to call ‘Detroit’… You’re about the best human being ever… You won’t fall for just anything because you’re savvy as all get out… you love a candy bar with chewy nougat and nuts galore drenched in creamy milk chocolate and relatively no asbestos fibers or rat feces…

    You get the drift.

   Now you have listeners hooked. Now that people know you understand them, they are ripe to be slipped a sales message. So, give it to them. How? In rhymes, of course. Watch: You’re working harder than ever/ you’re never ever gonna stop/ you know whatever the endeavor (PRODUCT NAME) will help you reach the top!!! (NOTE: three exclamation points mean you really, really, really mean it– and people love that kind of sincerity thing).

    There you go. Now, find a singer who sounds like Bob Seger after guzzling four pints of bourbon, smoking three packs of Luckies, and clearing his throat with steel wool. Marry these insightful lyrics with some scorching guitar licks, booming drumbeats, pounding bass, maybe a bit of the ol’ David Ogilvy cowbell, and you’ve got a hit that’s sure to get the client’s toes a-tapping (“Hey, I dig the beat! Do you think we can do a version about value–no, wait, I got it— the value of our product reflects genuine American values! Hey–I really like that! See if you can jimmy that message in there!”)

   Of course, if you don’t want to go to all the bother of writing your own lyrics, you can always just take a rock classic and rewrite its lyrics. Like so: (To the tune of the Rolling Stones classic “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”):

   SING:  I can’t get no good traction/ I can’t get no gripping action/ ’til I tried smoother ride/ I tried Goodyear pride/ now I get some/ Goodyear sticky traction/ said I get me some/ Goodyear gripping action… ANNOUNCER VOICEOVER: When the rubber hits the road, nothing beats Goodyear tires. Goodyear, the tires that are round so they roll better most all the time… SING: Now I get more smooth riding traction/ said I get more/ sweet driving satisfaction/ cause I tried/ Goodyear pride/ have a Goodyear ride on my side… oh I can get more/ Goodyear sweet driving satisfaction/ said I get me more/ Goodyear smooth handling all weather gripping the road traction… (FADE OUT)

    You dig, right? I’m currently working on a version of Iron Butterfly’s “Inagada Davida” for Contadina sauces. “Ina Contadina sauces are big mushrooms/ Ina Contadina sauces are spices that go boom…”

   The only problem I’m having is that, apparently it’s almost impossible to buy 18 solid minutes of commercial time, and I’d hate to ruin the integrity of the original song.

   Here’s hoping this has been helpful. Next time, we’ll look at “Bite & Smile: The Importance of Putting Some Teeth Into Your Commercials.”