Daily Archives: December 14, 2009

The best local news promo ever

This is a bit of a no-brainer.   Local news promos tend to have a one-note sense of urgency that reflects the thinking which drives the business nowadays:  Find out how this hidden killer may target your children — tomorrow at six!”

The promo is accompanied by a grave soundtrack, or the rat-a-tat rhythm mimicking the sound of a teletype, which remain a stylistic audio staple even though teletypes went the way of the rotary phone decades ago.

There are many, many good reasons, then, why this is the best local news promo ever.

The subject matter. Promo pixels tend to get hijacked by anchors and salacious content.  Promos about news photographers are very rare.

The Pythonesque music. Not just the tune, but the lyrics.  “Our coats are made of plastic / Our cables are elastic!” = priceless.

The video. Just watch.  The two photogs swerving in the car toward the camera is pretty awesome.  So is the photog supposedly dangling from the helicopter.  So is the grinning cop. So is the photog in bed with his camera.

The TK-76 cameras indicate the promo was made in the mid-80s.  (Writing that line, and thinking of the 3/4″ tape deck that accompanied it just produced a sharp twinge of phantom pain in my lower back).  NewsCenter 13 is WTHR Indianapolis.

WAGA created a photog promo in 1997.  It is spirited and interesting, but it lacks the madcap quality of its incomparable Hoosier forerunner.

Notice how Randy Travis hasn’t aged a day in the last twelve years.

I think these are called “institutional” promos, meaning they aren’t promoting a specific talent or upcoming story.

Such promos serve two purposes:  They tell the station’s story to an audience that, in all likelihood, is already quite familiar with it (but hasn’t yet seen the latest strokes-of-genius updating the brand).  And they kill time when there’s no revenue-delivering commercial cued up in the ol’ cart machine.  Or whatever passes for that gizmo these days.

Following Christmas, expect to see a lot of (updated versions of) promos like this vintage WAGA institutional.  Post-Christmas is typically a dry spell for TV advertising.  The local stations’ promotion departments are in overdrive right now, perfecting these little jewels.

And yeah, that’s yours truly interviewing the guy with the mullet.  Like I’ve got room to talk, haircut-wise….

H/T to Viewfinder Blues.