That first sentence is an example of a transition (albeit not the greatest, but a transition, nevertheless). It allows the reader to flow without interruption from one point to the next. My junior high English teacher would be so proud! Yet I did not learn that from her. Everything I needed to know about seamless transitions and smooth segues I learned from watching Marlin Perkins host “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” on Sunday nights.
Perkins was such a master of the transition from show to commercial, that I think Mom and I used to watch just to see how he could tie the subject to the sponsor. “Just as a mother lion protects her cubs, you can protect your children with an insurance policy from Mutual of Omaha…”
I also learned about the power of the commercial jingle. Barry Manilow is most responsible for that—and the fact that I can still recall so many of them 50 years later!
“I am stuck on a band-aid, and band-aid’s stuck on me.” “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” “You deserve a break today, so get out and get away…” “All across the nation, it’s a Pepsi generation…” Manilow wrote them all.
Some effective transitions are also jingles. Dinah Shore sang, “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet” and it worked into our subconscious way back in 1951!
“Double your pleasure, double your fun…” “Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name, and away go troubles, down the drain.” “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle’s makes the very best—Choco-late.” “Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, oh what a relief it is!” “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener…” “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R….”
And speaking of bologna, my high school track team wore dark blue sweats. Before meets, we pulled the hood strings tight together in front of our faces, huddled together and did our rah-rah “Go team!” chant. Except instead of “Gooooo Meadowdale!”, we sang: “More raisins! Much more raisins! More raisins than you have ever seen! So if you like raisins, plump, juicy raisins, you’ll like Post Raisin Bran MORE!”
These days, I’m not so much in touch with television commercials. It’s not because I’m not watching TV, it’s because I DVR most of my favorite shows. I play back what I’ve recorded while I’m riding my recumbent bike the next morning and I often fast-forward the commercials.
Not-to-worry, thanks to my slow reaction time, I’m still learning my fair share of slogans: “We are Farmers, dum-da-dum-dum, dum-dum-dum.” “800-588-2300, Empire—Today!”
Yep, I think it’s safe to say my commercial education is alive and well.