Oh, no, they didn’t.

Oh, yes, they did.

They did for the first time I can ever remember in 30+ years of doing this.

A client now says they might not run their spots because, and I quote, “They are too funny.”

First of all, you would think, in the whole process whereby the client finds us, hears our stuff, goes to the website, meets us on the phone, meets us again with the creative staff assembled, during which time we talk about concepts and our approach and what we can do to humanize this business, during all that process you would think it would have come up.

You know, the part about us not using our trademark humor? The thing that has kept us in business for four decades now? The thing people traditionally come to us for, depend on us for, entrust their advertising dollars to us for, enjoy the rewards they reap for? Oh, okay, we can use it, but please hold back.

The British have the best word for it, I think: We are gobsmacked.

This also raises the question: To whom are we obligated here? To our client, yes. But also to their customers, to the radio consumer audience. And I don’t think, given our position in the industry, it is too lofty to say we owe it to the medium to give it what we truly believe in.

We have to assume that these advertisers have come to us to up their ante in the market, give them spots that break through the clutter on the air, and maybe, just maybe entertain a little while they sell whatever. That implies that they will trust us to do what we do best, just as we promise to always deliver the best we have in us. And create spots that we think sells this enterprise in the best possible way.

In short, is the customer always right? Is it too presumptuous of us to think we know better? I have written here about not fearing humor, about letting the pros do their work. Cited sources that nearly 70% of advertising deemed to be impactful employs humor.

Right about now, I’m darned near 100% mystified. It is a first for a client to ask us to be just a little duller, please. People won’t take them seriously if their spots are so funny.

Not sure how this will play out. Watch this page. I’ll keep you posted.

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