Jeremy Burring (1955-2014)

In our About Us page on the Bojingles website, I have included a brief obituary, but on a more personal note I want to say goodbye to a friend and colleague who I have been privileged to work with for two periods: at Rediffusion Music in the 1990s, and at Bojingles from 2007 to the present. In between he carried on working as a senior member of the team at what became DMX and now Mood Media, the kingpin of the in-store advertising creative and production team.

In both cases I always found him outstandingly professional as well as fun to work with: we had our moments because he didn’t suffer fools, or foolish client briefs, gladly – but that is part and parcel of the creative process. I always knew that whatever he felt about the demands placed on him, he would do excellent work. He had the musical and mixing desk skills to perform alchemy and turn base materials into golden results. He most enjoyed it when a client had the budget for us to produce a proper sung jingle where he could extend himself musically, whether I asked him to do a pastiche of George Formby, Bertie Wooster, or James Bond.

These results play on still, through the airwaves of some British and Spanish radio stations. Back at Bojingles we will soldier on, with Rob, John and I (and our bank of voiceovers) maintaining the creative and production processes – but there will always be a big gap where Jeremy should be. He has been taken from us way too early, and our hearts go out to his wife Sheila and his extended family.

 

Chris Ring

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Designers can’t spel, KO?

In the dim and distant past when I was an impressionable Brand Manager learning how to do Marketing, I would be mightily impressed by the expertise of our advertising agencies and their creative teams, who expensively concocted carefully-honed TV ad storyboards, or press visuals, and would come up with the mot juste to sell our product or service.

In those lavish days they would always wheel out two Creative Directors – seemingly the theory was that like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, they needed to tell each other when their ideas were rubbish, and act as a Quality Control mechanism and a spur to the other to buck their ideas up. For like the Beatles, when apart they were never as good as together.

The other reason for the arrangement is that in the human brain, the visual sense is divorced from the cortex that controls speech and writing skills. How many great artists have also been first-class writers, or vice versa?

So it was that when I used smaller design agencies, there would only be one Art Director/Copywriter, and I soon coined a new Rule of Advertising – Designers Can’t Spell.  One could be more unkind and say that they can’t write good copy at all; but that would be going too far. Sometimes one word will say it all, and it’s hard to get that wrong…

But if it wasn’t the spelling, it would be the grammatical construction or the punctuation that would be at fault. Long before Lynn Truss lambasted the world’s sloppy writers in Eats Shoots and Leaves (required reading for any aspiring communicator), I found myself either inserting or removing errant apostrophes before the agency’s copy reached and aggravated my customers.

This is why, when I receive a request at Bojingles Towers for a creative solution to a marketing problem, I am always careful to establish whether the client wants a wordsmith or an artist. If he or she wants both skills in one body, for one low fee, I politely decline.  I will be delighted to paint a word picture and express it correctly (and for the most part free of errors): while for the visuals, I will call in my designer colleagues who can draw and manipulate Illustrator in ways that I can barely comprehend.

They of course have a different perspective (and they can draw in perspective, unlike me). Their rejoinder to my Rule would be – Writers Can’t Draw. And my answer would be, “guilty as charged”.

Do As I Say, not as I Blog…

If you are going to blog, blog regularly. That is the mantra that we at Bojingles preach to our clients, and they often listen – we have a regular gig writing weekly or monthly SEO articles for several companies, including a health & safety consultancy, a window & carpet cleaning firm, an online bathroom sales operation and others.

So when we suddenly realised that we hadn’t updated the Bojingles Blog Biog for over a year, we recalled how busy we’d been in 2013, writing for others and doing their Google rankings no end of good.

Like the builder who never finishes his own house, we’ve been guilty at Team Bojingles of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

Moral for 2014: Must Do Better. Because when it comes to blogging, More is More…

Enhancing video for websites

One trend that you are unlikely to have missed is the rush to supply moving images on websites. It not only looks good (if done well), it lengthens the average time people spend on site, which is what all website owners crave – most sites achieve less than a minute’s stay.

Informational videos can be made with a simple presenter reading to camera, or can be animated using various techniques, or shot as live action with conventional cameras – it all depends on your budget and the type of communication you want to make – what sort of impression do you wish potential buyers to be left with?

Where does Bojingles fit in? Well our core strengths are creative scriptwriting, writing and producing original musical soundtracks, and supplying great voiceovers. So increasingly we are called in to supply one or more of these elements by video production companies or by clients directly.

We do not normally offer to supply a full video production package – but we can and do renovate old videos that need a new lease of life, or to be edited to remove redundant material. We recently refreshed 3 old videos for the website and YouTube channel of an automotive accessories company, to their complete satisfaction.

So if you need professional help, particularly with the way your videos sound, we at Bojingles are like Mr Spock – all ears…

Say less, mean more…

If there is one maxim that we at Bojingles would like to stress to any potential radio commercial client, it is this – Less is More.

In other words, when you are putting together a brief for a 30 second radio ad, do not give the poor production company 9 bullet points and insist they are all essential…

Bear in mind that we have a sensible maximum of 80 words to play with (70 is better if we want to allow the script to breathe and maybe to introduce and finish any music properly).  If there is more than one speaker, reduce to 65 or less: conversation is slower and people leave gaps between talking and listening.

Now take away the words we need for the ‘call to action’ at the end – and 90% of you insist on a phone number (often twice) as well as a web address and directions, even though few people these days are going to stop to write a number down.

So we now probably have about 40 words in which to be super-creative. Oh joy. This is why when you say ‘very nice but can you just add in….’ the correct answer is ‘no’.

So if it’s that restricted a format, what can you hope to achieve?

The answer: Say One Thing, and say it well. Then repeat frequently via a canny media plan.

Don’t over-elaborate, and don’t expect immediate results; unless it happens to be a never-to-be repeated offer for sale today, you won’t get everyone out of their kitchens and cars to take instant action. Radio works by repetition.

Above all, trust your creatives. Don’t hamstring them in advance, and don’t try to be your own scriptwriter. Follow these few pieces of advice and you are much more likely to be pleasantly surprised by the results…

Making a noise…

At Bojingles we are used to interesting challenges, so when we were asked to help out the organisers of an F1 Grand Prix we were only too pleased.

They had a soundtrack for a TV commercial and thought they had the rights to use it for radio and their website – but it turned out they didn’t (memo to clients – do the homework in advance…). Cue panic attack, but in no time we had accelerated the process (sorry) and delivered an exciting piece of audio, complete with high-octane effects, and rights cleared as needed.

And the moral of the story? If you’re in a hole and need to sound your way out – give Bojingles a shout.