“Big Mistake” | Funny TV Campaign for Channel 4 St. Louis (1985)

St. Louis media history rediscovered! Here are KMOX-TV Channel 4’s “Big Mistake” commercials from 1985, alerting viewers to an error in TV Guide magazine. Writer/director: Paul Fey. Guy on camera: me!

Yes, that’s me, Walt Jaschek, at a studio in KMOX-TV (St. Louis,) performing on-camera in 1985. I recently found these spots on 3/4″ tape, transferred them to digital, and asked Paul to remind us why this campaign existed and how it came to be. Here’s what he said!


The VP Parade was an extremely important local programming event for Channel 4… not only for the major revenue that would be generated from a local program, but because it also indirectly served as powerful cross-promotion for its news team, who would be heavily visible while covering the event.

A “Big Mistake” occurred when TV Guide did not correctly include the listing for the VP Parade coverage, and instead left the normal weekly listing for Family Feud. Without a crucial TV Guide listing (which was actually a big deal in those days), Channel 4 had missed a major opportunity for exposure, and all felt lost. The magazine was already in print. There was no way to get the incorrect listing changed by the time it was discovered, only a few days before the event.

Out of sheer frustration and in order to amuse himself (this was NOT an assignment), Paul Fey wrote the campaign later that night after the irretrievable “Big Mistake” was discovered. He pitched it to General Manager Allan Cohen the next day. Allan loved it, and Paul enlisted friend Walt Jaschek as the on-camera talent.

The Creative Services team launched into action. shooting it, produced it, and putting it on the air within about 24 hours. The three spots ran heavily over a total of 3-4 days leading up to the day of the actual event.

Even without the correct TV Guide listing, Channel 4 handily won the time slot anyway.

Afterward, Allan said this: “You guys somehow always manage to find a way to turn chicken shit into chicken salad. This time, you turned chicken shit into Chicken Cordon Bleu.”



What are we doing now? Paul runs World Wide Wadio in Hollywood, California.,

Walt runs a YouTube channel and the entertainment empire, Copywriters In Love.

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St. Louis V.I.P: Jaschek Wins With Humor

This post transcribes an interview with me from Advertising Age in 1989, when my taste in funny advertising exceeded my taste in ski sweaters. That photo, oy! Did I not own a normal shirt?

Article transcribed from the version published in Advertising Age magazine, March 19, 1989.

BY JUDITH VANDEWATER

ST. LOUIS – Walter Jaschek assesses his sudden stardom with this rhyme:

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful
I don’t want to sound like a jerk
But instead of all the ad awards
I’d like a little work.”

The work will likely come. Last month, Jaschek, 33, a little-known copywriter, surprised the local ad community by winning two of the four “Best of Show” awards at the Advertising Club of St. Louis’ Addy competition (AA, Feb. 27.)

He won in the radio category for English- and Spanish-language versions of “Laugh Catalog,” a 60-second commercial for King World’s syndicated TV show, “George Schlatter’s Comedy Club.”

In the print collateral category, Mr. Jaschek won for the funny “Warm, Personal Letter: – a form letter with blank spaces for the recipient’s name to be written in – used to promote his agency.

Mr. Jaschek, who runs his two-person shop, Jaschek Ink, out of an office in his basement, won five Addys for three last-minute entries.

His agency partner is his wife, Jackie, who handled the business side.

Might success spoil the shop?

“[Anheuser-Busch Chairman] August A. Busch III hasn’t called yet, but I wouldn’t want to take Budweiser away from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles,” Mr. Jaschek said.

Actually, he worked on the Bud account for DMB&B, helping develop a direct-mail piece now under A-B consideration, he said. He has also done projects for his former employer, Southwestern Bell Corp. Mr. Jaschek quit as an advertising manager there last year. “I just woke up one day and I said, ‘People should not do what they are good at; people should do what they are great at.”

Mr. Jaschek has collaborated with Paul Fey, and independent producer in Los Angeles, on several radio commercials, including the “Comedy Club” radio spot, a catalog of distinctly funny laughs.

Messrs. Jaschek and Fey waltzed away with their first “Best of Show” Addy radio spot 2 years ago. The spot, “Subliminal Seduction,” was created for a Denver restaurant, but it also been sold to Menage, a local dance club.

Related:

A Big Hand For The Little Agency: Adweek Magazine

Walt Jaschek and His Basement Humor: St. Louis Business Journal

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