Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Obscenity on the Radio: (in)Fame(y) at last!

I have already written a post about the RACC, who clear commercial production for transmission on the radio.

Every quarter, they have an update including commercial ideas rejected as being offensive.

For October/December 06 they were as follows.

Rejected Products / Creative Treatments over the past quarter.

A humorous creative treatment based on addiction to gambling and it's effects.

The depiction of putting a baby in a microwave.

The depiction of killing a kitten in a microwave.

A joke making light of there being "no room at the inn for little Jesus."

A denigratory and potenially distressing creative based on 'playing the hospital waiting list lottery' ("the bonus tonight... bypass surgery!")

A creative treatment depicting and condoning dangerous driving.

A creative treatment making light of a person's kidnap.

The shameful secret?

One of these commercial ideas was mine!

When writing ads to promote a local smoking cessation service, the client and I came up with an idea on how to illustrate the harm smoking while pregnant could cause. The analogy we came up with was putting a baby in a microwave.

It was only after the RACC pointed out that "some people may find the depiction of a baby in a microwave offensive" that I thought: "Bloody hell! What am I doing?"

In the end, I quickly rewrote the commercial and came up with a much better idea!

Listen to it here.

Is there a moral to this story?

Yes - make sure whatever you write, you get a second opinion on. Because nobody likes getting a call from their boss sarcastically saying: "Well done, you made 'the list!'"

And I'm not just talking about those of us who make a living from writing. I think it's an equally valid suggestion for anybody doing any writing. We get far too close to what we write and an objective viewpoint can help us process what doesn't sound right, what's out of character and what's just plain wrong with what we write.

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