By Tony Best
Somewhere in between those awkward office parties and white elephant gift exchanges, the TV marketing industry manages to eke out a little work this time of year in the form of holiday promos. Yuletide-themed spots can be especially challenging in regional markets, where audiences tend to develop a personal affinity with their local station. The following spots, culled from deep within the PromaxBDA vaults, demonstrate different local stations’ approach to that challenge… in the golden era of the late 1980s.
As you might imagine, the results border on the hilarious, both intentionally and not. So kick back, pour a cup of eggnog and enjoy these schmaltzy holiday goodies, which range from the sentimental to the surreal.
KCBS, Los Angeles (1987)
Keith Olbermann, former KCBS sports anchor and host of the 2005 PromaxBDA Awards show, riffs on the virtues of camoflagued gift giving. Can we get that moustache wrapped up?
KITN, Minneapolis/St. Paul (1987)
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell… Spock? This promotional tie-in targets that unique 3-11 female, Cabbage Patch Doll-loving Trekkie demographic.
KYW, Philadelphia (1987)
The message of this bizarre yet lushly produced spot seems to be: It’s okay if you deny your mother on Christmas Eve as she can always go next door and give the cookies she made for her grandchildren to someone else.
WLS, Chicago (1986)
This Windy City spot has it all: sidewalk florists, a college basketball team, produce vendors and former host of AM Chicago (and PromaxBDA Conference ’97 keynote speaker) Oprah Winfrey. You know what WE wish? That Oprah still had that hairdo.
KGGM, Albuquerque (1987)
Slick analog dissolves and matte effects help showcase a rendition of “The Christmas Song” sung by a caroler quintet who look like someone slipped tranquilizers into their spiced rum.
WGME, Portland, Maine (1987)
Of all the numbers to go with, WGME for some reason settled on lucky 13 booze-free holiday drink recipes for this seasonal promo – aimed, apparently, at families auditioning for The Stepford Wives remake.