The Terrible Agency Behind The Larry The Cable Guy Prilosec Commercials

August 15, 2019
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    How to make a horrible TV commercial

      I make commercials.   Due to that I watch a lot of other commercials. I criticize many. Admire some. Think about how they were produced and filmed. Debate about actor choices. Editing decisions. I think way too much about them.   Occasionally I think, “How in the fuck did that get made?”   There’s no better example of this than the Prilosec TV Commercial ‘Jet Ski’ featuring Larry the Cable Guy. If you haven’t seen it, I will painfully provide it.  
      It’s Larry the Cable Guy being an idiot at someone’s lakeside BBQ. He not only doesn’t know how to eat like a normal person, he essentially destroys their water-sport equipment.   I don’t think I ever really needed a reason to never invite Daniel Lawrence Whitney, the actor who plays Larry the Cable Guy, to eat my food. But this definitely solidified it.   I won’t pick apart the scripted dialog nonsense seen above. It’s clearly written for a lower audience. Those people who want to eat like a dog in a dumpster but not suffer the consequences.   “I want 6 hotdogs but I want my tummy to be okay. Okay, make it 9 wieners.”   What I want to talk about is the writer’s room where this was conceived. The agency responsible for this abomination is Starcom MediaVest Worldwide. They don’t share this gem on their website so I can only hope they came to their senses and fired everyone responsible.   I’ve been sitting in writers’ rooms for over almost 2 decades. I know the process. I know how to try and mold a great idea out of any musty concept. Not everything works. But the process is there to help the group do its best work.   I often wonder how the writers’ room went the day this one was conceived. I have a pretty good idea. I’ve given the ad-men fictitious names… but I’ll bet you, I’ve got them dead on.   Clem walks into a room with 4 other people. All of which have their shirt tucked in their underwear.   Clem: Hey guys, Prilosec asked us to do a TV commercial to show how gooder their pill does.   Elmer Joe: I eat those like candy!   Bobby Jim Joe: They aren’t candy?   Sally Jean Mae: Do you have a creative brief?   Clem: I did but I think Elmer Joe ate it.   Elmer Joe: I eat those like candy too!   Clem: It’s okay, I have it all in my head. I think we should go high-concept. People eating too much food.   Tom: Do we want to endorse gluttony?   Clem: Tom, get out. You’re fired.   Tom exits the room.   Clem: I can see people eating a bunch, doing stupid things. You guys follow me?   Bobby Jim Joe: Okay, I can see this. It’s good. So then we what? Everyone grabs their stomach and eats these (holds up box of Prilosec)? Then they go back to eating?   Sally Jean Mae: I’ll play devil’s advocate here. How is this going to stand out? This could be every day for them? We need that ‘thing’ that makes it memorable?   Clem: Well, then you’re in luck. Because they already have a spokesperson on board. It’s Larry the Cable guy. This guy visually speaks over-indulgence for the demo we’re aiming for.   Elmer Joe: Oh wow! This thing already writes itself. I see it in my head and it’s amazing.   Clem: Let’s hear it!   Elmer Joe: Okay, a guy is having a BBQ by a lake. People eating like we talked about. The grill is full of meat. Giant burgers and ribs.   Clem: That works. Then what?   Elmer Joe: Then Larry the Cable Guy walks up in a tiny little life jacket.   Sally Jean Mae: We should make it camouflage!   Elmer Joe: I think that’s a given, right? Okay, so he speaks some nonsense about food and runs towards someone’s jet ski. He starts it and immediately rides away.   Bobby Jim Joe: Without eating? Doesn’t that…   Elmer Joe: No, listen. He’s riding a jet ski. Larry the Cable Guy is on a jet ski. Who’s going to stop watching that?   Bobby Jim Joe: You’re right. Sorry. Continue.   Elmer Joe: That’s it. That’s all I got.   Clem: It needs an ending. I feel it’s incomplete.   Elmer Joe: What if he tells a fart joke?   Clem: That could work. But let’s think about it a bit more. So, he’s on the jet ski. Is it a metaphor for anything? I mean, randomly jumping on a jet ski and riding off. What happens next?   Sally Jean Mae: Could he jump something? Like a bus?   Bobby Jim Joe: On water?   Sally Jean Mae: Fire. He jumps fire!   Clem: Yeah. He steals a jet ski from a BBQ and jumps a ring of fire. I like this. The whole time talking about how you can eat at much as you want and you can poop it out your inflamed butthole. We all know that feeling, right?   Sally Jean Mae: I’m about to know it again after this meeting.   Bobby Jim Joe: What does he do when he jumps? Fart sounds?   Clem: We’ll just get a close-up of him making a fat, stupid face. It’s will be awesome. I think people always assume he’s farting. So that’s redundant.   Elmer Joe: This is so much better now. How does it end?   Clem: He then rides the jet ski right onto the beach. I mean, it’s not his jet ski anyhow. So there’s no reason to dock it like an adult. He can just jam it up there, ripping the bottom out of it.   Elmer Joe: This could be where the food comes back into play. Like, going in for seconds.   Clem: Right, he could ride the jet ski right up to someone who has their own plate of food and just take some right off it. It’s like “sorry I crashed your jet ski but I want to finish your ribs.”   Bobby Jim Joe: Then the fart?   Sally Jean Mae: That’s so Larry!   Clem: I think we’ve got it. Let’s write this up and get it back to Prilosec.   Bobby Jim Joe: Should we maybe come up with a back up idea?   Clem: Huh?   Bobby Jim Joe: I’m kidding. Let’s hurry and beat the crap out of Tom before he cleans out his desk and is escorted out of the building.   Even if this wasn’t how it went, I can guarantee you that this follows the same process of when one of your best friends does impressions while you drink. It’s funny to you because you know him. You try to relay it to a stranger and you get blank looks. They are aiming for an audience that will laugh at Larry the Cable Guy getting a drink of water. The rest of us, we’ll never get it.   Aim higher with your art. Do that or people will start changing the channel.

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