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Jokes--and Clios--Are on Orkin Radio Ranch

June 10, 1989|BRUCE HOROVITZ

Dick Orkin must be laughing all the way home from the Clio Awards.

After all, Dick Orkin's Radio Ranch, the Los Angeles production company whose radio ads are woven with wall-to-wall jokes, walked off Friday with six Clio Awards, all for different clients. The awards, among the most coveted prizes in advertising, are judged by industry professionals.

One of Orkin's awards was for that familiar V-8 juice radio ad in which a future father-in-law hooks up his future son-in-law to a lie detector to see if the young man drinks V-8 juice. Another winning ad, for AT&T cordless phones, features a man sitting in a hot tub with his girlfriend while talking on the phone to his suspicious aunt.

"Humorous advertising cuts through the clutter," said Orkin, whose company has won about 80 Clios during the past 20 years.

"It's a more human way to sell products in a very cluttered marketplace," Orkin said in a telephone interview from New York, where he was attending the ceremony. Clios for the best television commercials of the past year are scheduled to be presented Monday evening.

Orkin said the Clios are often more important to clients than to the ad agencies or production companies that enter the ads. "Clients like to know that something they've spent a lot of money on has won awards," Orkin said.

In that event, many clients went away disappointed. Although more than 3,000 ads were entered, only 33 awards were handed out.

For the second consecutive year, the Motel 6 ad campaign walked off with a major honor, this time, best national campaign. The ads, created by Dallas ad agency the Richards Group, feature folksy Tom ("We'll Leave the Light on For You") Bodett as spokesman.

Until last year, the Bodett ads were part of a regional campaign aired primarily in California. But the ads helped generate so much new business that the company decided to use a portion of those added revenues to take the campaign national, said Hugh Thrasher, marketing director of Motel 6.

Bodett is under exclusive contract to Motel 6 for two more years, Thrasher said. And Bodett's success with Motel 6 recently led the resident of Homer, Alaska, to start his own syndicated radio show, "End of the Road Review." Naturally, Motel 6 is a sponsor of that show.

In one of Bodett's current ad campaigns, he even sings the Motel 6 room reservations phone number. "Obviously," gibed Thrasher, "you don't have to hire the Boston Symphony to win awards."

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