Friday, August 5, 2011

Branding Speculation

When I heard Maury Buford's ads for his roofing company -- former Chicago Bear from the Super Bowl team who kicked the ball -- he says that "I'm a big P1 fan of the Ticket."  First time I heard it, I smiled, thinking well, he probably listens to The Ticket, but a true P1 would never say "P1 fan of The Ticket," because it's redundant. 

But then, this morning, I heard Corby doing a Baker Bros. Plumbing ad, and he also used the phrase "P1 fan of The Ticket." 

Two possibilities:  (1) He was making fun of Buford's locution, or (2) he was told to say it.  It was in the copy.

I'm thinking it may be (2).

Interestingly, "The Ticket" as a name for a radio station is not trademarked.   Whoever got the station going all those years ago probably didn't have an attorney who cared much about intellectual property issues -- either that, or they were too worried about surviving to worry about whether their station's name would ever have any value.   Turned out that it does, and now there are lots of "Tickets" all over the country.  And there's nothing that The one-and-only-genuwine Ticket can do about it.

Typical P1's Being Interviewed at Recent Remote
Maybe they're trying to change that.

"P1" -- it's been around too long, other people now use it, it can't be trademarked.  (Or copyrighted, I don't know which is which, zackly.)   But a distinctive phrase using "P1" could be.   And in order to trademark something, I think the rule is that you have to show that you're using it.  Wild speculation -- Cumulus is trying to wring some trademark value out of one of their (formerly) unique verbal inventions.

I've got a buddy who's an IP lawyer.   I'll check to see if Cumulus has any pending intellectual property applications out there. 

In the meantime, listen and let me know if you hear "P1 fan of The Ticket" in any other contexts.

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Anonymous said...

Seems there is no irrelevant minutia you won't read something crazy into.

Here's your answer: bad copywriting. If you listen, they complain about it on-air occasionally. At one time, long ago, there were actually paid positions for writers. Sometimes they did other duties as well, but the writing was important enough to hire someone with skills for the position. That is no longer what happens in stations. Copy is considered a low priority, and the writing is usually done by a mixture of sales staff, clients, interns, promotion guys and VO talent.

So when you hear "P1 Fan of The Ticket," you're probably hearing some inept intern who knows little about The Little One, and is trying (but failing) to use the jargon properly. And because things are done so off-the-cuff at The Ticket, Corby probably just ran into a VO booth, read what was on the page (see: Burgundy, Ron), and went off to find some Woodford Reserve.

Either that or T.C. wrote it. Mystery solved.

P.S. Now you've got me doing it: spouting off lengthy missives with pointless 25-cent words, when one or two sentences could do the job.

Jonaessa said...

Where are Christy, Cancer Monkey (and his name change), and P1 Steven?

Formal is the verification word today? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Are any radio station names trademarked? Seems like every one is copied across the country countless times. It may not even be possible since they're using public airwaves or something like that.

birq said...

I think grumpy Anonymous might have the answer for you. It's been a poorly-kept secret for a few years that copy writing is at the bottom of the priority list at the Ticket. Dan even goes so far as to make a show of stumbling over the words whenever he can. Most likely, that's what was written (and because nobody proofs the copy anymore) and Corby pulled a Burgundy.

Shaggy said...

The Ticket is the one who stole, er, borrowed, the term P1 in the first place. It is taken straight from Arbitron.

The Plainsman said...

That's what I love about doing this site: I throw out some uninformed speculation -- like a normal P1 would do -- and more informed people step in and provide, well, information.

I hear the lousy copywriting The Little One throws out, and the readers' irritation with the amateurism that sometimes makes it into the final copy. This phrase, though, stuck in my head. It is so odd, and so wrong in the context of Ticket lingo, that it seems like it has to be purposeful.

However, I am prepared to accept the explanation that it is copywriting, and not copyrighting, that is the explanation here.

And by the way, first semi-grumpy Anonymous -- I appreciate the tip of the hat to the (copywriting) dangers of trying to blast stuff out. "Irrelevant minutia" -- hell, even I wouldn't have used that redundancy!

Anonymous said...

To the first anonymous...

If you had used two sentences, your comment wouldn't have been nearly as informative. It sort of irks me when people complain about the Plainsman's writing. Although it seems that in today's tweeter and texting world shortcuts and terseness are what's most appreciated, it doesn't mean that anything of substance has been said. It's not enough to say something and then not back it up with facts and/or reasoned opinions. Your comment speaks volumes to what I'm saying. It is informative and substantive. Spouting off opinion or supposed facts without buttressing them does nothing for what might be a good opinion or supposed truth. It renders them as baseless.

birq said...

Boom! Roasted.

The Plainsman said...

Penultimate Anonymous: Thanks for the defense.

I don't mind the criticism of my writing. When I have time, I do try to smooth it out. Sometimes I hear something and want to get something out before I forget, which means I'm probably supposed to be doing something else (my job) and the excesses don't get corrected.

Besides, I thought Anon #1 was charmlingly self-effacing about the whole thing.

Also, this is intentionally a different kind of site, where Confessors and I can stretch out a bit, have a conversation. Sometimes conversations meander a bit.

I'm grateful for all readers and commenters. In case you're interested: I've looked at my hits for the last year. Hits are highest in the winter months, but it looks like these summer months will be stronger than last summer's. I get anywhere from 2500 to 4500 original hits a month, and 3000 to 8000 page views. I have no idea how many regular readers that translates into.

Thanks again. Comments have been unusually strong lately.

The Plainsman said...

Jonaessa: I miss Miss Christy, too. Perhaps she is put off by the lack of Bob and Dan commentary. I'm mulling over a piece on their recent week as drivetime fill-ins for The Hardline, but I'm conflicted about it for reasons I might explore in a separate piece.

P1 Steven still takes a shot now and then.

As far as the redoubtable Cancer Monkey is concerned: Perhaps we should run a word-count and style analysis to determine which, if any, of the other commenters is his worthy self.

Although attempting to identify an anonymous commenter as the same as another anonymous commenter might be considered by some to be a monumental waste of perfectly good Ticket-listening time.

Anonymous said...

Most of the commercial copy at the Ticket is written by Cactus Pryor, not by "interns, promotions guys and VO talent". Your anonymous may know something, but that shows he doesn't really know what goes on behind the scenes at the "Little 1". Cactus is a guy you probably ought to talk to at some point- he's a day 1-er (one of only half a dozen left) and between him and his assistant (the Southern, Civil-war loving Aubrey) they're responsible for all the spots you hear. He (or they) could probably give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes there.

and listen closely, when you hear the hosts bitch about copy, they're almost always bicthing about poorly written promo liners. If your other anonymous knew as much as he likes to think he does, he'd know that those liners are written by the promotions department, not the production department.

And it is copyrighting. In the early days no one thought it was going to hit it big. So no need to copyright the name (like KISS is copyrighted) to protect it. They've since servicemarked it (and the logo) but alas no trademark. Which means imitators are free to rip them off to their hearts content.


A different anonymous...