Articles

THE ULTIMATE SPECIAL EFFECT

These days, you see a lot of TV commercials that are quite high tech, using the same special effects that we just were dazzled by in our local movie house, only now in the service of selling automobiles or protein bars instead of forwarding a thrilling story. After a while, some of these unique special effects no longer have any impact at all on the viewer because of over saturation by advertisers. What was so new and exciting three months ago has become banal and "Ho hum."

And yet, simple commercials that feature no "effect" more special than a hilariously real moment of human experience maintain their freshness over time. You appreciate it more each time you see it, and the message continues to have influence and impact.

Thatís the strength of the commercial campaigns Iíve been involved with during my career as a "Man on the Street" interviewer. You couldnít call my approach "high tech" any more than you could call Michael Jackson a "cautious father". But it still succeeds, and sales go up accordingly.

I got started doing testimonial commercials in Texas in the mid-eighties, when I was hired to interview shoppers on camera for the Skaggs Alpha Beta grocery chain. In the five years I worked as "The Skaggs Man", I must have interviewed a thousand people and created over a hundred commercials featuring real people saying the kind of peculiar, wonderful things that writers wouldnít ever come up with. My extensive improv background served me well, as I was always ready to explore the unusual moments that would arise during a conversation about broccoli spears, rabbit food or sweet potato pie.

Iíve continued to perfect my technique and build my list of satisfied clients over the last 15 years, and Iím confident that, unlike that neat special effect where the action freezes and the camera does a 360 degree sweep around somebody splashing motionlessly in a big puddle, my man on the street commercials will be effective three months from now, and on and on, because real people are forever interesting to other people. They certainly are to me. Maybe real people and their points of view are the ultimate special effect...

If youíd like to receive a brand new, very entertaining reel of my man on the street commercials, call Josee Goudereault of Chic Managment at (818) 310-4912, or drop me a line at 2minds@appliedsilliness.com. We'll send one out to you right away.

Jim                     

 


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