Entries Tagged as 'tv'

3 reasons why this such a good tv commercial

It’s hard for a TV commercial to get my attention, hold my attention and make me remember it. That’s because I’ve not only seen so many commercials but I’ve also been a part of so many commercial productions that I think I’m a little jaundiced about spots.

So the other day while just changing channels, I came across this Bayer Aspirin commercial having never seen it before. It totally drew me in and got my attention and I’ll tell you why I think it worked so well.

You innocently watch a guy at a sporting event, enjoying himself. Some paramedics come towards him, which confuses him because he has no medical issues. But as they tell him, he soon will. WHAT?! That’s a great commercial hook. Bam! 7 seconds!

Make no mistake, it’s not the voice-over that impresses in this spot, it’s the actors. Our protagonist not only delivers his set-up line well but his facial expression after he’s told he’s about to have a heart attack is spectacular, it’s real and it’s honest. But let us not ignore the great simple performance of the paramedic who firmly but calmly informs her soon to be patient that he’s going to have a heart attack.

From the establishing shot to paramedics entry and conversation shots, it all flows really nicely and innocently until the viewer is as smacked awake as the protagonist when the heart attack line is delivered. The editing is simple because there seems to be nothing especially dramatic unfolding. Until it does.

Maybe you saw the ad and it didn’t grab you like it grabbed me but it was so impactful to me as the viewer I wanted to share it with you. There enough NOT so impressive spots out there that I think we should celebrate the really good ones.

What do you think about this spot? Great? Or did it seem like just another TV spot?

who is this man and how did he help my broadcasting career?

Buffalo broadcasting legend Clip Smith

Buffalo broadcasting legend Clip Smith

Buffalo, New York has had a lot of amazing radio and television stars share our local airwaves since the early 1920’s when radio began here. Certainly people like Buffalo Bob Smith, Foster Brooks and Tim Russert are among some of the many notables.

Like in all television markets, there were also many notable local celebrities in Buffalo whose fame never progressed to a national level but who were immediately recognizable to a regional television audience.

If you lived in Buffalo during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – there were 3 main TV stations but for news most everybody watched only one, Channel 7. WKBW-TV, then and now an ABC affiliate, was the leader without question at that time (times have changed). They were led by a weekday anchor team that stayed together 25+ years. I knew the anchor team a little bit but I didn’t work with them; there was somebody else I got to work with at Channel 7 when I was briefly there.

In the summer of 1983, after my freshman year of college at the University of Dayton, I returned to Buffalo to begin a weekend internship at WKBW with the station’s weekend sports anchor and utility player – Clip Smith, the Clipper.

My mom got me the internship.

See, that spring my Mom and Dad were in Buffalo at a charity dinner and somehow my Mom sat next to Clip Smith. She naturally told Clip the TV guy about her son (me) studying broadcasting at the University of Dayton while he worked in radio there. And Clip immediately offered a chance at an internship at Circle 7 (named thusly because of their famous logo). So all summer long I recorded and watched games (remember the USFL…unfortunately I do), went out on news stories and watched newscasts and actually live broadcasts get put together in a way I never could have otherwise.

It was a tremendous experience, working with a variety of people but none better than Clip. Aside from the overwhelming feeling of trying to stay out of the way and not do the wrong thing, the thing I remember most about Clip (besides his humor – some of which included the corniest jokes in the world that he’d share on air) was his ability to improvise a sportscast. He would write and intro sentence and and outro sentence to help the director cue tapes and packages but all the rest was improvised. And it sounded smooth as silk.

His voice was amazing. I remember years before college hearing a voice (I didn’t know it was Clip) doing the top of the hour ID at Channel 7 and he sounded powerful yet friendly — it was amazing and I can STILL hear it in my head “You’re watching Channel 7, WKBW-TV…Buffalo”. Simple. Deep. Perfect.

You can hear Clip’s great announcing voice here in this recorded station sign off of WKBW-TV from 1981

After I left Channel 7 and went back to WVUD I lost touch with Clip. I caught up with him one time at someplace I can’t now remember just to reintroduce myself, say hi and say thank you. He said he remembered me. Later still, we worked together on Buffalo Blizzard Soccer broadcasts when I was the Assistant General Manager there.

He died tragically in 2004, I was sad to learn. In 2006, Clip was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame and I attended the ceremony. Afterwards, I made a point to speak with his wife who, understandably, was very emotional. But I wanted her to know how much her husband’s kindness impacted my life and what a good guy he really was.

She knew. We all did.

the thanksgiving tradition continues


It has been said: “For those who understand, no answer is necessary. For those who do not understand, no answer will suffice.”

Every year I still enjoy this wonderful piece of TV and I hope you do too. Please share this post with your social media voice-over friends!

Happy Thanksgiving!

bill and conjunction junction are 40!

You know how people reach certain age milestones and they are shocked or happy or depressed (sometimes all at once)?

Well when I realized that School House Rock turned 40 this year, I was stunned and pleased and sad (see, I can’t do anything right).

It occurred to me that my life in media may have been a bit of a pre-ordained thing:

* Born on the night the Beatles were first on the Ed Sullivan Show (a pretty major day in entertainment history)

* In kindergarten at the inception of Sesame Street (and yes we watched it in class); it was the same year I took my first tour of a radio station and was smitten/bitten by the radio bug

* At the prime learning age of 7 years old when School House Rock was rolled out

See…destiny. Oh yeah, it also reminded me that I is old.

This one is my favorite:

why casting matters

It struck me when I watched this commercial how critical excellent casting was to the success of the message and the comedy.

I suppose I should try and make some bigger point here but, um, really that’s all I had to say on the matter. The spot was well cast.

new television commercial voice-over for darien lake

If you live in New York State, you likely have heard of Darien Lake, which is the Empire State’s largest theme park. Rides, shows and some amazing concerts in addition to multiple hotels, lodges and camp sites.

Oh and a very nice water park.

It’s really quite a place so I was very pleased when I got the call to be the voice of their 2012 Season Pass campaign. It was fun and unique recording session that you’ll have to remind me to tell you about sometime. A brief hint, I was in Missouri at the time.

So in case you are out of state, here’s their nifty spot with a little voice-over boost from yours truly.