Confessor Jack McCall submitted this little essay prompted by his perplexity over the "Good Contractors List" commercials running with increasing frequency on The Ticket. I liked the writing and the recollection and the point. With Cowboys training camp and surging Rangers and Fight Night and all the rest there's Ticket fodder out there, but I thought this elegaic little piece was worth your time. Thanks to Jack McCall -- his nom de MTC is actually quite clever -- and, as always, I would appreciate hearing from others who would like to be a guest contributor. I hope Jack will weigh in on a Ticket topic soon.
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As a P1 you have a love-hate relationship with commercials. And by "love" I mean "not hate as much." Commercials are part of the P1 deal, though, so your best option is to at least let the advertising genius in you dissect some of these odorous specimens.
If you don't have that level of expertise don't worry--neither do I. But I do know something about the generally terrible idea of coming up with a message that is so contrarian that it must be good. Hint: it isn't.
Sophomore year of high school my buddies and I managed to talk our parents into letting us spend New Year's at a friend's "river house," which was actually a single-wide situated some 300 yards of thick, steep hiking away from a desolate stretch of the Brazos.
Obtaining their permission was tough, as our folks no doubt imagined a combination of booze, fireworks and just an utter disregard for the dangers of the river. We prevailed but were still rattled enough on the drive down that we came up with an idea, one that would layer in some additional lies to lessen the ongoing skepticism. If nothing else we might be subject to less grilling upon return.
This idea, which was really bad and poorly strategized from the beginning, went something like this: Upon calling our parents to confirm arrival in Unincorporated, Texas, we'd all mention how some state trooper had stopped us as we pulled into our destination. This idea, which, again, was really bad, was that we'd breathlessly tell our parents how this cop had pulled us over for no good reason, searched us and our car for no good reason, and then obviously had to let us go because of course his search was fruitless.
What our parents would take from these calls, however, was that a mere 90 minutes into our trip we had already found ourselves in trouble with the police.
It's easy to become so enamored of a contrarian idea, so convinced of its reverse-psychology genius, that you don't quite think it all the way through. For example, if you're a company called The Good Contractors List, maybe don't do a whole commercial talking about a really BAD contractor on YOUR list. As Seinfeld once said, "Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?"
Your company positions itself, down to its very name, as a cut above the rest. But you spend lots of money to run lots of spots talking about a bad contractor on your good list. I guess the resulting cognitive dissonance is supposed to be so jarring that I'm now listening even more attentively as you explain why your company is still good anyway. But really, I'm just thinking about how maybe your company can't quite live up to, well, you know, the name you gave it.
|"Anyone know where I can find a Hammer?"|