3.03.2006

Creative skeletons in my closet

Could someone please explain Wildboyz on MTV2? It's Jackass with the B-team. I don't understand Nate's compulsion to watch it every night because it's essentially the same show over and over: A half-naked guy lets a snake bite his ass. Or sometimes it's a crab. Or sometimes it's a toucan. Or sometimes it's another guy. They should just call it Who Will Bite My Ass Today?

I left Nate to his show and found a far more interesting activity--reorganizing the front hall closet.

Amidst the the piles of clothes for Goodwill, the Christmas regift box, hardware of dubious usefulness, and duffel bags which only seem to exist to hold other duffel bags, I came across my old copywriting portfolio. (If you've ever poked around my blog, you will know that this is how I pay the bills.)

We're talking old. Like, really old. Like, I was living in my swinging NYC bachelorette pad, the first bad Bush was in office, O.P.P. was on the radio, and we all thought eating Snackwells was the key to weight loss. Also, back in (cough, cough) '91 a portfolio was a big leather thing that you schlepped up and down the broken subway station escalators until you were good and sweaty for your job interview. Not these newfangled shiny disc-things that the kids carry around nowadays.

So I wrestled it out from under the duffel bag of duffel bags, dusted it off, and flipped through the laminated pages.

And I laughed.

I'll spare you the student ads for the New England Bartending School (Orgasm jokes! Clever!) and skip right to the highlight: a brilliant little commercial script I had forgotten about entirely.

If memory serves me, I had no doubt whatsoever that my fine clients in Chicago would buy said brilliant spot, shell out a million or so for the talent, splash it across primetime network television, and make me famous beyond my wildest dreams. My Clio Awards Best of Show acceptance speech was going to strike the appropriate balance of humility and humor; I even had the perfect Betsey Johnson dress picked out.

Allow me to share the script:

Client: The Quaker Oats Co.
Product: Quaker Toasted Oatmeal Ready-to-Eat Cereal
:30 TV

TITLE UP: AMERICA'S GREATEST FLAKES

Open on Shirley MacLaine in her dressing room, eating a bowl of cereal.

SHIRLEY: I know I've never had this cereal before. It's brand new. But something about it tastes...so familiar.

ANNOUNCER: Introducing Quaker Toasted Oatmeal.

SHIRLEY: It's as if hot Quaker Oatmeal came back as a cold ceral.

ANNOUNCER: Covered with crunchy wholegrain oats, it's the only cold cereal with the goodness of hot Quaker Oatmeal.

SHIRLEY: I've been eating Quaker Oatmeal my whole life. Maybe longer. But this is the first time I've had it crunchy.

Cut to product shot. Tagline up.

ANNOUNCER: New Quaker Toated Oatmeal in Original or Honey Nut. America's greatest flakes.

----------------

I will completely understand if you never come back here again.


21 Comments:

Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Girl, you DO deserve a Clio. (Shirley McClaine would have been proud.)

I make my living as an art director. I pulled out an old portfolio recently and cringed. It was so painful I couldn't believe I had actually gotten paid for the crap.

(Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. Leave it to you to mine the comic gold in the FAQs - I hadn't even looked at them. And yes to the blogroll - I'm listing you too if you don't mind.)

3/3/06, 3:21 AM  
Blogger stefanierj said...

Well, of course! If Shirley McLaine isn't one of America's honey-nut flakes, who is?? I LOVE it!!

3/3/06, 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Leave it to you. Very clevah.

3/3/06, 8:08 AM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

You'll go down in cereal-lore forever! Not as much as Mikey, mind you, but still. :-) Is there a cereal pitch hall of fame?

3/3/06, 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

The sheer beauty brought tears to my eyes. That, and the fact that I now have the chorus from "O.P.P" stuck in my head (yeah, thanks a lot for that one!)

3/3/06, 8:56 AM  
Anonymous reluctant housewife said...

What are you talking about?


Using reincarnation as a metaphor for product line extensions is dead on.

Casting Shirley MacLaine is brilliant!

"SHIRLEY: It's as if hot Quaker Oatmeal came back as a cold cereal."

He he.

3/3/06, 9:02 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Too funny. But now you have brought back sad and pathetic memories of my own portfolio. It is a wonder I ever got a job, seeing as I am sooo clever!

Your oatmeal ditty is Clio worthy next to my Subway clip. Be proud. I know I am.

3/3/06, 11:29 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh ladies, you're all too kind. Now why couldn't one of you have worked in the marketing department of the Quaker Oats Co 15 years ago? My life would been inordinately different. Oh, the tragedy of it all...

3/3/06, 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Father Fred said...

Almost as good as mashed peas combined with mashed potatoes.

3/3/06, 11:54 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Why, father Fred, whatever could you be talking about? Perhaps this?

3/3/06, 12:06 PM  
Blogger Carrcakes said...

It’s humbling to know you weren’t always a wordsmith. You and Quaker Oats have come a long way.

And backing up to your bachelorette pad, did you guys used to steal each others penny loafers and scrunchies?

3/3/06, 12:11 PM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

ha!ha!ha! You've just given me an idea for a post. I used to write for a teen magazine and yes, I've written quizzes like, "are you a flirt?" I should totally put one up. Thanks for the laugh!

3/3/06, 2:59 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

I would totally buy Quaker Honey Nut oatmeal based on your script with or without Shirley Maclaine.

And I have never seen Wildboyz but know the dudes behind all of the skateboard cum MTV-reality shizit, not to mention Chris Pontious is an old friend and contrary to the version of himself he plays on TV, he once saved an entire village after setting it on fire. True story.

3/3/06, 3:02 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I love this! Oh, tell us more!!!

Speaking of Wildboys, does Nate like MXC (The Extreme Elimation show with off-color overdubbing on some weird Japanese game show)? I have to admit, this does tickle my funny bone from time to time.

3/3/06, 3:19 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

GGC: Oh man, you must spill. I'll away that story over at your blog.
Carr: Penny loafers? Scrunchies?I was still wearing Doc Maartens back then and berets. Because I was just that cool.
Jess: we both loooooove MXC. For some reason we always catch it up at my mom's house. It's "our show" (romantic, huh?) along with that really bad version of AFHV on Animal Planet.

3/3/06, 3:28 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Just breezing through, but love the blog. The captions for the nursing bra photos weren't enough. No. Had to crack me up more!! Love the Shirley Maclaine bit. And yeah, I gotta agree that I'd be cleaning out closets before I'd watch Wildboyz.

3/3/06, 4:48 PM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

Wow, you're good. If you can do that with cereal, I'd like to see what you could do with the Charmin ads that feature the cartoon bear using TP -- something about commercial and the dryer sheets bear make me gag.

3/3/06, 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Just had to say - we greatly enjoy the crazy show here at the MU household.

I particularly enjoy how the most frail little ladies make it across the nearly impossible obstacle courses of foam dominoes (es or os?) and costumed grim reapers.

I enjoy it more when they fall on their heads. I'm so sick.

3/3/06, 7:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

OH wow. In the early to mid 90's I had a portfolio for the articles I'd written to display for those upcoming gigs in either newspapers or Pr. The thing was big and giant and now its covered by 4 inches of dust.

I cringe when I open it and read some of my old stuff. :-)

3/3/06, 10:57 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I really like that script. I think it's hilarious and they should have used it. Seriously.

3/4/06, 2:18 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

"Amidst the the piles of clothes for Goodwill, the Christmas regift box, hardware of dubious usefulness, and duffel bags which only seem to exist to hold other duffel bags, I came across my old copywriting portfolio."

This cracked me up. Are you sure you weren't in MY hall closet? I have all of those things, including the bag full of bags, which I dug into yesterday for the big park outing. The bags I didn't select are still in a pile on the floor...lol

And I loved your ad! It's actually really clever using SM and referencing flakes. They should have used it.

3/4/06, 4:38 PM  

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