We've all had those moments of watching TV when a commercial pops up that is far more entertaining than the program.
Producer Robert Dalrymple's job is to hunt down blurb gem from around the world and make them the program. His latest "World's Funniest Commercials" spesh, hosted by Kevin Nealon, airs tonight at 9 p.m. on TBS.
What started for Dalrymple as a clip special of Super Bowl ads for CBS seven years ago has evolved since 2004 into a franchise for TBS and the web that will likely never run out of steam -- not as long as somebody somewhere needs to launch a new brand of beer, or a car, or a suntan lotion, etc., etc.
Dalrymple has a team of researchers who scour the world for the best spots they can find -- and then there are Herculean efforts to get them cleared for broadcast. It takes five to seven months to compile the material for one hourlong special, which usually features about 50-55 spots. Dalrymple works closely with Phil Oppenheim, TBS' senior veep of program planning and scheduling, in deciding which spots make the cut.
"There's so much material," Dalrymple says. "This really is mini-moviemaking, from all over the world."
In addition to the speshes, Dalrymple's treasure trove is nicely displayed in the www.veryfunnyads.com/ site that he runs with TBS. It's one of the largest web archive of blurbs in the world, searchable by brands, categories, country and popularity. It even has a bustling blog for people who can't say enough about their favorite commercials. And of course, it has plenty of (paid) advertising on it too.
In his years of research, he's come to the conclusion that pound for pound, blurb for blurb, there is no more bizarro advertising than the spots that come out of Thailand ("totally stream of consciousness and non-linear," says Oppenheim), with Canada a close runner-up.
See for yourself by clicking here for a sampling of Thailand's best marketing minds at work.
And for a cheap laugh, check out this spot from a French condom manufacturer.