Sunday, May 17, 2009

"..stuck on band-aids..."

The video of Barry's Clio award and interview. (Thanks to Moonstone, she found it first.)

I have a relative who worked in the Wound Care division of Johnson & Johnson when they were revitalizing the decades-old Band-Aid brand. The details in the research are mind boggling: the thickness of the latex base, the strength of the adhesive, the manufacturing of the sterile bandage pad to prevent it from sticking to a wound. (Adding antibiotics to the gauze didn't cross anyone's mind until about 10 - 15 years later.) Then there's sterile processing and making the individual package easy to open while maintaining sterility before it's applied. The boys in this department could (and did....) go on for days about this kind of minutiae.

Marketing was a different part of the building. The nerds in research and development didn't give it much thought. They got the letters and feedback from the public and translated that into product improvement. But selling to the public after FDA approval was a different ball of wax. My relative was a low-level nerd in manufacturing engineering. Bottom man on the totem pole, just make the design and specs work in the product. He didn't have to sell Band-Aids, he just had to make them sellable.

So this weekend, he sees a current Band-Aids commercial, with Barry's jingle, he goes off on his usual diatribe about the "tough old days" when he was "paying his dues" in the industry. How the advertising folks had it so easy, they just had to throw together little songs and it was more like play than the work HE had to do. I kept quiet this time, just to give him a little rope to hang himself.

"So how did advertising come up with the commercials, Bob?"

"Who knows? They find some kid and give him a few bucks to whistle a tune. How hard could it be?"

My teeth almost exploded, I was trying so hard not to laugh. Yes, Bob is a serious Barry fan, especially when it came to Paradise Cafe and his Sinatra interpretations.

Someone (Gee, I wonder who?) came up with the idea of putting on the 70s DVD. No, I did not get a shot of the look on Bob's face when Barry gets to the part about how the Band-Aids jingle was one of his first compositions to earn him some cash. Wasn't quick enough with the camera.

All of a sudden, the sun came up and it dawned on Bob that maybe a little respect is in order for the advertising folks - especially the jingle writers.

I love moments like that. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Great story YBA. It's funny how people think that writing a song, a jingle, or coming up with an ad campaign is SO easy. It's hard work that not everyone can do. That jingle, along with some of the other masterpieces that Barry created have stood the test of time and when you think of Band-Aids you think of that little song. And I'd venture to say that all the research and manufacture in the world won't sell a product without making it known to the public. LOVE LOVE LOVE your little story. Thanks so much for sharing it!