I’ll admit, I’m still one of those people who watches live television and watches the commercials. (I like to stay up on what advertisers are doing.) And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the new Dish Network TV “Road Trip” commercial where three men discuss an unfortunate purchase of an old and questionable RV. It was really funny. I even found myself rewinding the DVR to watch it again. Which I think is a great sign of a good commercial. (I know I’d be happy if someone did that to one of my commercials.) But it got me thinking about funny commercials. They’re not easy. When you’re putting together a funny commercial, there really are three components that can make or break it. And you need all three to have a successful product in the end.
1. The writing has to be spot on.
I know, I know. This seems obvious. But I’ll tell ya, writing a funny script is damn hard. Luckily, I’ve tried and succeeded in my career, but more often than not, I fall flat. Not everyone can write funny copy, so a big shout out goes to the writer of this commercial. It’s simple and clever. And that helps the spot right off the bat.
2. Casting is soooooooo important.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had voiceover talent or actors butcher my words. Here’s the thing: not everyone can pull off funny. Timing is so important when it comes to delivering comedy. So when you’re casting for a script that is meant to be funny, you definitely wanna find someone who gets it. When I listen to sample reels, I can tell right off the bat if someone gets it or not. The cast of this commercial not only understands comedic timing, but they’re a perfect blend of average, everyday-looking people. And that helps make the delivery more believable, too.
3. Editing can be the pièce de résistance or the kiss of death.
A lot of the “funny” commercials I’ve seen have landed flat on their faces because the cut is terrible. And vice versa. I’ve seen some commercials where maybe the copy or the concept isn’t incredible, but there’s something about the edit that makes it quite hilarious. Again, it all comes back to timing. Comedy is ALL about timing. And you can do some pretty amazing things with a fast cut. Or a long pause for reaction. I’ve had many a video editor roll their eyes at me when I’ve asked to tweak a cut 14 times until it’s perfect. But there really is a method to my madness.
So I guess what I’m saying is, while I’m sure this commercial won’t go down in history as the best commercial ever made, it’s very well done. It’s the perfect blend of the one-two-three necessary for a very funny commercial. In my humble opinion, of course.