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Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Coming soon: Welcome to Blog TV?
Written on an ironic poster in a Tigard office building:
If we ignore our customers, maybe they'll go away.
I spent eight hours today in a training seminar MC'd by various high-ranking members of my company's local market. Along with a series of "inspiring" personal stories and an endless series of pie charts, vice presidents from various divisions explained how they're aiding _____ quest to take over the world (a joke? Maybe, maybe not.). My ears perked up and I put down my copy of John Lethem's Fortress of Solitude when the VP of advertising took the podium.
Apparently, running a commercial on Portland-area cable can run anywhere from $5 all the way up to $35,000, depending on what hour they're run and on how many channels. When the VP opened up the floor for Q & A, I immediately fired away with a flurry of stupid questions.
Q: Really? $5?
A: Yes, $5 if they want to run an ad, one time, on one channel, after midnight.
Q: So, do you get inquires for joke spots?
A: Yes, we get all sorts of weird calls from people that just want to be on TV in order to show off to friends and family. They usually lose interest when they realize how much work is involved. To produce a professional-quality, 30-second commercial requires an investment of at least $1500, if they want us to produce the ad through our in-house agency.
Q: But what if they don't?
A: Well, they could do it themselves but the sound and video quality would probably be sub-par.
Immediately, a plan began forming. A ready-to-air ad is just a rented digital camcorder, an afternoon and a pirated copy of Adobe Premiere away. If _____ is willing to run a late-night commercial for a local barbershop that consists entirely of a logo and ancient camcorder footage of a kid cutting his own hair, surely they'd run one for Welcome to Blog.
Am I serious about doing this? Right now, yes. Twenty minutes from now, maybe. I'm sure that, while the company is legally obliged by the FCC to run ads that don't contain offensive content, the staff in marketing would do everything they can to discourage my efforts to get an unwatchable commercial aired on Portland television. Is this something worth a considerable time investment along with a lot of begging and pleading? I'll have to think about it.