“Subliminal Seduction:” The funny radio spot that launched comedy careers

Walt Jaschek describes the creation and unexpected success of one of the first funny radio commercials he ever wrote, and his debut as a voice talent. Want to create radio for decades? Start like this.

In 1981, as a novice copywriter at The Flynn Group advertising agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I was assigned to create a 60-second spot for Baron’s Saloon, a TGIF-Friday’s-like restaurant chain with a single location on South Academy Boulevard.

At the time, a popular book about advertising and pop culture was “Subliminal Seduction: Are You Sexually Aroused by This Picture?” by Wilson Bryan Key, which claimed to find hidden messages in TV and radio commercials and print ads.

I was sitting in the public library in downtown Colorado Springs on my lunch hour when I came up with a spot parodying the quest for the subliminal. I cast voice talent and baritone Herb Beattie as the announcer. I cast myself as the “Subliminal Voice!” Read more backstory here.

Here’s the spot, followed by the script.

“Subliminal Seduction” • :60 Radio for Baron’s Saloon • Script

DEEP ANNOUNCER VOICE: No doubt you’ve heard about this “sublimlinal seduction” nonsense. You know, commercials that are supposed to have “hidden messages” in them. Well…

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Come to Baron’s.

ANNOUNCER: Baron’s Saloon denies any use of this so-called “mind control.”

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Come to Baron’s.

ANNOUNCER: After all, Baron’s is seductive enough as it is!

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Get in your car and come right now.

ANNOUNCER: What with a 16-page dinner menu crammed with delectable items…

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: You’re starting to salivate.

ANNOUNCER: 30 dinner items under five dollars…

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Cheap out. Save big bucks.

ANNOUNCER: And a Happy Hour that lasts from 4 to 8 p.m.

[Slight beat]

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Sex.

ANNOUNCER: Obviously, Baron’s has that rare combination of good food…

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Take out your wallet.

ANNOUNCER: Good fun…

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Give us your money.

ANNOUNCER: And good prices.

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Give us your cash.

ANNOUNCER: So let’s put this “subliminal seduction” nonsense to rest. Nobody can do your thinking for you.

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: Come to Baron’s.

ANNOUNCER: You either want to come to Baron’s…

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: You do. You do.

ANNOUNCER: Or you don’t.

SUBLIMINAL VOICE: But boy-oh-boy, you do.

ANNOUNCER: Baron’s Saloon. Airport and South Academy.

© 1981-2020 Walt Jaschek

Related links:

15 Funny Radio Commercials to Inspire More of the Same

30-Second Radio Commercial Scripts With Recorded Spots for Comparison

How to Write Funny Radio Scripts: Laugh Your Ads Off

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