Sorry people! I don’t mean to startle you by barging into your focus group like this. Everything’s cool. I’ve been watching you guys from behind the one-way mirror there and I thought I’d make my presence known. Normally I’m content to just chill behind the glass, make disparaging comments to my fellow observers, and eat handfuls of M&Ms. And while I know this is “highly irregular” I feel like I have to say something to help you better understand the overall messaging, the gestalt if you will, of the TV commercials we’re testing here today. Not to take anything away from Fiona, your lovely and talented focus group moderator. Hey, she’s doing a great, great job. What’s that? Who am I? Who am I? Um, only the copywriter! The founder of this feast. You see, that’s my work you happen to be eviscerating. Excuse me, “evaluating”. Don’t worry Fiona; this won’t taint any of your precious findings. I just want to get the group back on point and then I’ll happily turn the helm back over to you. Cool? Cool? Whatever. First of all, I don’t think you people truly appreciate what’s at stake here. We, all of us, are tasked with “redefining” the pet food commercial from the bowl up. Do you know what “sea change” means? Kyle? I know you know what “oil change” means, but this is bigger: sea change. Don’t know? Does anybody here fucking know what it means? Nobody? Well, it means that if this TV campaign goes to air, cat food advertising will never ever be the same again. It also means that Yours Truly will be a rock god in the advertising pantheon and, quite possibly, the agency’s next group creative director! I mean, have you any idea of the trappings that come with being a group creative director? Well, you get an iPad3, you get an Eames office chair, and sometimes, sometimes you even get a date with a haughty English hottie like Fiona here. What? It’s true. But I digress. What’s concerning me is that my work may be too… strong for you groundlings. Too avant-garde. So this one time I’m going to explain it very slowly and in terms you can all understand. Like captions for the “Thinking Impaired”. OK, let’s start by correcting some misconceptions surrounding the cat protagonist of the spot, the Tabby. He’s—why is everyone flinching? Are you afraid of this thing? It’s only a laser pointer for cripe sakes! You’ve never seen a laser pointer before? It’s just a tool. Now, I’d like to speak to the Indian lady right… right… there! Bull’s-eye! Pooja? Now Pooja, you said the Tabby character was too “anthropomorphic”. Well, what you failed to understand is that the Tabby is a metaphor for the Everyman. Or better yet, the “Everycat”. Yes, I’m painfully aware that cats don’t normally frequent cool new restaurants in the Meat-Packing district. But I’m trying to couch the messaging (stay with me here people) in terms that human consumers can understand. Most people don’t go to exclusive restaurants either. But now they can live vicariously through their cats! New Kitty Kanapés is, for a cat, the experiential equivalent of dining at a two-starred Michelin restaurant. Now do you see? Cool, huh? Where’s the blind guy, Bill? Get up please, Bill. You said my writing was “puerile.” Really Blind Bill, “puerile”? Do you know how painful it is for a copywriter to hear that? Do you know how painful it is for any writer to hear that? Jane Austen herself would come right through that fucking one-way mirror if she heard you call her work “puerile”. So think before you speak, my man. I see Fiona is giving me the “speed it up” signal. Or… could she be motioning to someone else? Security? Oh, come now Fiona, is this necessary? Does my creative intensity burn so bright as to blind you (no offense, Bill) to my worthwhile intentions? And now you’ve gone and summoned overweight “Thought Police” on Segways. Fine, I’ll just turn down my flame a bit and return to my fortress of solitude behind the mirror. I think we’re all back on track now anyway. Just remember what we talked about people, OK? Well, I see we have some visitors. Hello? A taser gun? Seriously Falstaff, a taser gun?
August 2, 2011
The Writer of a Cat Food Commercial Confronts a Focus Group
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