Radio: It's an ugly job, but someone's gotta do it

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I love radio so much I’m giving this Whipple chapter away for free. With the advent of podcasts and Spotify, there’s still work available for the uglies.


My Favorite Radio Campaign

“Recycled Resumes” — One of my faves because the very idea that Dunwoody publishes its catalog on paper made from crappy recyled resumes …it made me laugh even before I could write the spot. (That’s usually a good sign.) Turn it up when you play it. The sfx help.


“Ditch Diggers” — When I was a kid, my mom always told be to do well in school or I’d “end up being a ditch digger.”


“Janitor” — This is the very first spot I did in the series. I like how whiney and wimpy the guy’s voice sounds. The first of many jabs at traditional “liberal arts” degrees.


“Fast Food Guy” — This time the voiceover is the guy at “Burgerland.” He’s bummed out, he’s got a shitty job, and he complains about it to you, the person in the car waiting for service. Note that we continue to have fun trashing liberal arts classes like “art appreciation” and “romance languages.”


“Near Bored-To-Death Experience” — This one is another guy with a crappy job talkin’ about why he shoulda gone to Dunwoody. Kudos to the actor. I think he really pulled it off.


“Hamster” — This spot is one of two on this list that were inspired by a sound effect. Sometimes a sound effect so captures what it is you are trying to make your listener feel, you can build a spot around it.


“Job Line” — Actress Phyllis Wright, an old friend from Minneapolis, makes this spot work. She’s doing the part of the lady on the “Job Line” who lists the horrible jobs you’ll have to settle for if you didn’t go to Dunwoody.


“Crickets” — This is the other spot built around a sound effect. Of all these Dunwoody spots, this is the only one that made it into a national show (One Show). Maybe that’s because they all suck, I don’t know. But I don’t care either. I stand by this campaign as the best one I ever wrote. I encourage you to adopt the same attitude with work you instinctively feel is right — put your head down, plow ye forth, and go with your gut. Also, it helps to have a great client. (Yeah, I know, they were a teeny client. No committees. No gauntlet. In fact, that may have been the key.)

Suggested Reading

There is no shortcut. This is how we learn it. Bit by bit.
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Luke Sullivan

Author, speaker, and ad veteran available to recharge, reinvigorate, and refocus marketing, advertising, and branding firms.

I give a hugely energetic series of presentations on innovation, creativity, branding, and marketing. I spent 32 years in the trenches of advertising (at agencies like Martin, GSD&M, and Fallon) and I’ve put everything I learned into my book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. But for me nothing beats taking the message out and speaking to living breathing audiences at clients, agencies, and conferences. You can book me on the button below.