Friday, November 04, 2005

Crazy Radio Ads

(UPDATE: The below-discussed "Maggie's Song - Walls Of Stone" Is it me, or is there more than a hint of Phil Collins' Coming In The Air Tonight in this)

this one's for my buddy Anthony because I know he is, like me, a
collector of unredeemably horrible radio ads, which is a hobby anyone
here in Anchorage must take up if they want to listen to the radio.
Anchorage, for obvious reasons, doesn't have the highest ad rates
for radio, most notably on its hopelessly feeble sportstalk network
(major announcement from earlier THIS YEAR: "we finally have a
website!"), and now, i've found, on it's Air America affiliate, which
carries Al Franken (snapshot opinion: Al is great; the rest of AA's
talent is unlistenable).

Anchorage's radio, in fact, is so feeble that the sports station -
which has nothing but ESPN's network feed and, inexplicably, Seattle
pro teams, but nothing local - fills a solid half of it's commerical
time with public service announcements. I assume they just can't sell
the time.
So these PSA: there are, maybe, 4. All horrible, all boring, all
insulting ('don't be an energy hog' 'natives saved lewis and clark,'
'poverty sucks' 'gun crimes' etc).
They suck.
And then, over the horizon and gone from the pack, is the Arbor Day
Foundation ad.
This ad, which i guess is supposed to help trees, incites me nearly
to forest arson. It's this soaring, pulsing, hateful song by some
overwrought woman singer, extolling trees, who wants you to plant
"trees across the nation!!!"
It's like Helen Ready-goes-Green. Absolutely the most brutal 30
seconds you'll ever sit through in your car short of an engine fire.

I actually have seen a toned-down version on TV - similiar music -
but the radio one is 30 times as grating. And it's on EVERY SINGLE
commercial break, occasionally TWICE.

It's been probably a year since i heard the end of it - it's a
stone-cold channel turner everytime.

I know Anthony and I have had several conversations about the
unassailable horrors of the Arbor day ad.

Well, we have a serious contender:

over here on 1080, during Franken (and other times) is the Maggie The
Elephant ad.

Maggie, you'll recall, is the Anchorage Zoo's elephant, which they
shouldn't have. It's Alaska. We don't need elephants! Not surprisingly, she's gotten a
lot of press over the years.

Evidently, there is a "save maggie" group. (UPDATE: it's called Friends of Maggie, and this is their site). They want Maggie out of the
state. As far as i know, they might be a front group for some Lower 48
Zoo looking to get Maggie on the cheap. I don't know. I'm not getting

And i'm REALLY not getting involved after being subjected - over and
over - to their ad.

So you get the over-wrought woman, but this time just talking and
reading a script, with every cliche of useless feel-goodism imagineable
("we love maggie but we need to think of her needs" "elephants are
social, and they grow lonely when seperated from their own kind").
But over the top of this ad is - well, it's amazing.
It's another woman (maybe the same one) chanting - yes, chanting -
in a distinctly native-america way, only in complete white-girl
English. Only not in sentences. Just words and phrases. Just
uninterrupted moans of "Free! Freedom! Set us free! Love free" I'm telling you, tuneless moaning. Unreal.

See the link above to hear it.

It's the audio-version of a trunk covered with bumper stickers.
But here's the hammer: somebody has a drum. Ya know, a
drum-circle, bongo-like drum.
And they have no earthly clue what to do with it.
bangbang-bang-(pause)-bang-bang-(pause)-bang-(pau-)bangbang. Like,
rhythm-on-opposite day. Absolutely no connection to the voice, nor to
any sense of time.
bang bang.

Just absolutely horrific. Moaning, rhythm-less banging and an
annoying woman prattling on about an elephant's feelings.

Anthony - you need to get in on this.

ps - i just realized: the sports network has local programming - high
school football playoffs and hockey - local minor league (go Aces!) and
Which still doesn't explain why the hell they think anyone wants to
listen to the Mariners.