One-Minute Jesters Court Laughs and Listeners

Awards and Recognition, News, Press Coverage

This Los Angeles Radio Guide article about funny radio commercials from 1994 describes how Paul & Walt Worldwide and others are “eliciting guffaws” for radio listeners and “inspiring them not to change the station.”

Article transcribed from Los Angeles Radio Guide, 1994

BY COLLEEN GIBBS

Unlike most professionals in the broadcast business, radio ad writers hope that their listeners have a short attention span. They’re not after the patient symphony aficionado, the opera buff or the die hard fan of “In-A-Gadda-da-Vidda.” Ad creators crave a different type of audience.

“Just give me 60 seconds, and I will try to make you laugh,” says Paul Fey of Paul & Walt Worldwide.

Fey wants more than anything to surprise and delight listeners, eliciting a guffaw, a mirthful nod of recognition, and most significantly, inspiring them not to change the station during the commercial break.

Fey is one of the wits behind those clever radio ads.

“For 60 seconds at a time, I want to bring radio into the foreground of listeners; consciousness. In fact, I want people to laugh out loud and say, ‘Hey, did you hear that?'”

Fey’s elaborate ads are certainly the attention-getting type. As one half of the production company Paul & Walt Worldwide, which he operates with partner Walt Jaschek, Fey is one of the guilty pranksters behind memorable spots for Miller Genuine Draft, Southwestern Bell Mobile System, GM Parts and Bud Light.

In a spot for Bud, the listener is sucked into the mind of a narrator who describes his eerie, Twlight-Zone-type surroundings.

“I was in a room with curved walls and only a dim light at the top,” the ad begins, accompanied by cavernous sound effects. After 55 seconds of dramatic depiction, the listener realizes the narrator is a Bud Light beer.

In addition to grabbing attention, Paul & Walt’s ad earned a lion’s share of industry awards – nearly 400 of them, including five Ollies (the Oscars of the ad world.) Fey calls this success “world-class advertising” and defines it as commercials on par with the very best radio comedy or drama.

Fey’s criteria for great radio is high. He grew up with his ear glued to the stereo, devouring and digesting thousands of hours of Monty Python skits. This influence is apparent in the hyperbolically silly but highly polished spots that evoke preposterous visual tableaux.

“Like really great radio, a great ad succeeds despite the fact that you can’t fall back on a visual, as with TV,” he said. “In fact, really great ads are great because your mind is able to fill in and make a mental picture many times more vivid than an actual one.”

For Paul & Walt, world-class radio ads consist of equal measures of timing and talent, liberally sprinkled with a daredevil willingness to boldly go where no ad has gone before.

For their radio promotional spots for Fox’s “Star Trek: the Next Generation,” the team regularly poked reckless, wicked fun at Captain Jean-Luc Picards’s stalwart, dignified character. One ad called “We’re Shaving Our Heads” features zesty testimonials from “Star Trek” fans who are happily shaving their heads in a fit of zeal over the show’s syndicated run.

Fey embraces self-deprecating humor in his projects, as well. Some of the ads even ridicule the business of advertising.

For 20th Television, a spot for “Doogie Howser, M.D.” launches straight into a rousing, big-band number, with Andrews Sisters wannabes sining about the new dance craze, the Doogie Boogie Woogie. An earnest voice-over apologizes for the elaborate musical ruse, but there is really no new dance craze, only desperate writers who couldn’t find anything else to rhyme with Doogie.

“It’s hip to be able to laugh at yourself,” Fey said. “It demonstrates that you are confident enough to point out weaknesses. If I have the freedom to allow the consumer to have foibles, so much the better.”

Sometimes, Fey admits, world-class raw material is quite literally written all over the product.

“The Simpsons” provided Paul & Walt with one of their most memorable spots, fashioned after a classical poetry reading. It featured the resonant, velvet voice of Robert Goulet reciting the blackboard writing of young Bart Simpson.

“I will not trade pants with others,” Goulet intones. “I will not eat things for money. I will not Xerox my butt.”

The list goes on, over a background of chamber music, finishing with, “I will not call the principal Spud-Head.”

Los Angeles Radio Guide, December, 1994

“Former Current Editors Inducted Into St. Louis Hall of Fame” – UMSL Current Article

Awards and Recognition, News, Paul Fey, Walt Jaschek

paulandwalt-umslcurrent-online

The Current, the student newspaper at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, did its own take on the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame thing. Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek met there, and were back-to-back editors-in-chief of the Current in the 1970s. Take a look at the fun article by Kat Riddler:

Former Current Editors Inducted Into St. Louis Hall of Fame.

Paul Fey & Walt Jaschek Inducted into St. Louis Media Hall of Fame

Awards and Recognition, News, Paul Fey, St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, Walt Jaschek

paulfey-waltjaschek-1991-lowrez

Paul Fey (left) and Walt Jaschek of Paul & Walt Worldwide at agency launch in 1991.

Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek, writers and producers of creative, award-winning national radio campaigns, were inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame on March 17, 2018.

The St. Louis Media History Foundation inducted 20 other individuals into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame that night, as well. More than 200 people attended a downtown gala at which the honors were bestowed. 

Individually and together, Paul and Walt have reputations for creating high-impact, industry-admired advertising campaigns. They teamed up in 1991 to create Paul & Walt Worldwide, the radio commercial boutique agency and production company, and their work quickly won CLIOS, ADDYs and many other awards for national brands. Paul served as Paul & Walt Worldwide President; Walt served as Executive Creative Director. The agency had offices in Hollywood, California and St. Louis. Here they are in front of just a few of their industry awards.

paulfey-waltjaschek-awards3

Paul is now President and Chief Creative Officer of World Wide Wadio in Hollywood.  Walt is now writing comedy and comics at Walt Now Entertainment. Both men are St. Louis natives and continue to collaborate frequently.

See Paul Fey’s profile in the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.

See Walt Jaschek’s profile in the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.