How Sound Design For Commercials is done Asbjoern Andersen


Tom Disher and Ben Hicks are both musicians and sound designers - and they have spent years doing sound for television and film, including lots of work on commercials for the advertising industry. This article is an in-depth look into their world of doing sound for commercials:
Written by Doug Siebum
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About Tom Disher and Ben Hicks:
Tom Disher is a composer, sound designer and the owner of Disher Sound. Tom has over 28 years in the film industry and has worked on films such as The Great 14th, Run Tiger Run, The Surrogate, Tofu, Banshee Chapter, and Awarewolf.

Ben Hicks is a musician and sound designer who has worked on television shows and films such as Moving San Francisco, Bulge Bracket, Bleeding Audio, We Are Gathered Here, Q Ball, and Jinn.

TD = Tom Disher
BH = Ben Hicks
DS = Doug Siebum

DS: I’ve interviewed Tom before, so Ben, why don’t you go ahead and give us a little about your background and how you got started in post production sound.

BH:I have been working with Tom and at Disher Sound since 2017. I got involved in it because, I was really interested in working in audio post production for film and TV after being a professional musician for a number of years in my 20’s. I had the thought “hey, wouldn’t it be great if I could do something that uses a lot of the aural skills that I’ve developed over the years and I don’t have to travel as much. I could stay in one place.” I also had a deep love for film and television and storytelling. I thought it would be great if I could find a place where I could cultivate that skill and that passion. I went back to school in 2015 and then met a former employee of Disher Sound who brought me on and introduced me to Tom. The rest as they say is history.
 

DS: What are some of the differences between doing commercials versus episodic TV or even film?

TD: Commercials are kind of like a microscopic kind of view because you have a 30 second, 60 second, 7 second, sometimes you have a 2 minute or 3 minutes, 5 minute piece even, that goes on the web. It’s really a targeted piece of information. There’s often a lot of people involved in decision making. Not that there wouldn’t be in episodic TV, but you have a whole creative team that’s involved in the process of making the commercial and then they hopefully have understood the client well. That’s not always the case. Talking about what a commercial should look like and sound like is a lot different than actually delivering something that the client’s going to like. With that understanding, there’s more layers of people who are reviewing the process. At the very top of that, is a person that can say “No!!! change everything.”

Depending on the team, they can be very concerned or even afraid to show something to their boss until they get it perfect, but they could be going in the wrong direction. Making progress that sounded good on paper to the final decision maker, but then they find out that’s not what they were thinking. The biggest difference besides it being a microscopic piece of work, is the level of scrutiny and the various levels of input that might come from clients, lawyers, the creatives within the company. Then all the usual layers of the director, producer, creative director, and editor, within the production company itself.

BH: I would give an idea into the technical aspect of it. There’s a lot less dynamic range that seems acceptable for commercials. You’re trying to sell something in a short amount of time and you’re trying to keep the energy going. Typically, music is as loud as it can be, dialogue is as loud as it can be, as opposed to episodic TV and film, where you’re trying to leave room for storytelling and acting. With advertising, it’s energy all the time, in your face. Buy the toothpaste or deodorant.

Typically the process for commercials can be very intense and very energetic. I think that’s what Tom was giving insight into in respect to who is involved, who is present, and who is giving feedback. If you’re working with an agency or company, you typically have more people that are sitting behind you while you’re doing your work, and offering input. There’s a lot more layers. “I really want to do this, but we have to run it by legal”. That kind of thing. In addition to the creative aspect of it, you’re working within an organization that’s a lot more clear and defined in commercial work.
 

DS: How much time do you get for a typical commercial?

TD: [mumbles quickly] “Get it done by the end of the day.” [everyone laughs]

It really depends. On some projects we have a months notice that we’re going to be working on it. “Here’s our work in progress. Here’s what we’re thinking.” Then we may have a week set aside to do our work. That deadline may leave a three day buffer before they have to put out their final version and then it might go to air a few days after that. We’re talking about video where they also have other approval processes to deal with. A lot of times it really boils down to having a couple of days to get the work done. We have some regular clients that are producing things where their holiday special offers are coming in on Friday. Can we have it Monday? They always ask “can you do this?” It really wasn’t a question. It’s more like “get it done.”

BH: We do have a couple of clients who we’ve been working with them for a long time and we have a sense of what they’re looking for and what they want. We’re at the point now, where we’ll get something and they’ll say “is it possible to get this done by the end of the day or by tomorrow?” and it’s like a 2 minute spot and we say “yeah sure.” It could just be dialogue and library music that needs to be mixed. We’ll get an email that says “is it possible to do this by the end of the day,” we check with the team and someone says “yep, I’ll do it.” That comes with working with people for a long time and understanding what they’re looking for and what they want to hear. We can typically have a pretty quick turn around with a lot of people. Especially the folks that we’re familiar with from over the years. They’re looking for this, this, this, and this. We send it to them and they say “great, sounds awesome. Thank you.” Like Tom was saying, it really does depend on the client for the turn around.

TD: It also depends on the creative brief that we’re looking at, as Ben was saying. We are an audio post facility, where sometimes what we’re doing is not necessarily adding a bunch of sound effects. There may only be a few things that need to be added or their might just be production sound effects in there. They video editor might have dropped some stuff in there and we might replace it. Pretty much, we’re the last step in the chain. So if it was supposed to show up on Tuesday, but now it’s Thursday afternoon and they need it to review on Friday, we are the last step, so we have to be ready to deal with that approach.

On the other hand, we have some clients that do these awesome animations. One of our clients is business to business marketing. They really put a lot of thought and detail into these spots. With something like that, we will record the voice over and they will be involved in a word by word review of the script as it’s being recorded. We composite a lot of different takes into one little 30 second spot. Sometimes they’re one minute, two minute, even three or four minute expositions about the details of their stuff. Then they take that and work with that and we would get that back. In this case, Ben and I will be working on these together.

When it’s like that, it’s really fun business

Ben will come up with some really fun sound effects. We’ll review that with the client. The client will ask for a little bit more of this or change a little bit of that. They’re not typically hiring us to compose for them, but I may be extensively reediting the library music, adding a layer of this, taking away a little bit of that. Then we get an approval of everything and then go to the mix stage with it. With a client like that, it’s really a joy to work with them. They’re fun, they know what they want to do, their clients love them. They have a really great perspective on their client. We’ve done a bunch of detailed work for high end clients and things don’t come back from their clients very much at all, because they understand their clients and they do really great work. They give us a clear picture of what we’re supposed to do. It can’t always be that way, but when it’s like that, it’s really fun business.
 

White Sands seed pod wind

DS: How long are the commercial spots that you do?

TD: The short ones for social media for some of our clients are 7 seconds. Then they have 30 seconds for broadcast and sometimes 60 seconds for broadcast. Then they might have their hero spot, which is 2 minutes and 13 seconds. That one is going to be on the web, that one has the most detail. The other one’s are pretty much cut down from that. The 2 minute and 13 second one is usually the one that we finish first. Then the 30 or 60 second spot has all the best parts from that, including the best sound design. Of course, music has been edited pretty carefully for that. The 7 second version is just the punch line or just enough to get you interested. So we may have some time to work on the hero, then that has to be approved by their client, then when we get those back we need the cut down in a day. The ranges seems to be somewhere between 7 seconds and 5 minutes these days.
 

DS: So, with internet commercials, you’re finding that the length of some commercials are shorter than before?

BH: Like Tom was saying, there’s a lot of hero cuts and then there are cut downs. It really depends on the platform where these commercials are going to be viewed. I’ve done internet cut downs that were specifically meant to be viewed on Tik Tok. Those are pretty short, because you get a lot of people who are just flipping through their phones on Tik Tok. Then you have ads that are meant to be seen during YouTube videos. If the YouTube video is long enough, it might cut out to commercial in the middle of it. Some of those, especially the one’s that give you the option to skip, the ads can be 2 or 3 minutes. I would say some are shorter, but there’s typically more variation in length now days. I wasn’t working in audio post when it was mainly TV advertising as the main medium. When I came into it, people were watching ads on FaceBook, Instagram, on TV, before a film in a theater. There’s just a lot more variation. So some things are shorter, but I wouldn’t say the majority of things are shorter.

DS: I’ve done some work in advertising. I was doing spots that were mainly 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, and then I got some spots that, I think they were for Snap Chat and they were 10 or 15 seconds. They were really short. It just goes by so fast.

BH: Yeah, because people’s attention spans on those apps are just non existent. So you have to get their attention real quick.
 

DS: What are the typical loudness specs for radio, TV, and internet for commercials?

TD: It’s a little bit of a moving target. Let’s start with TV. TV is supposed to be -24 LUFS, that’s like an average loudness + or – 2 dB. That one is a pretty solid target. Some of the streaming platforms like Netflix have gone to -27 LUFS to keep everything in a film like perspective. With internet specs, it really depends, it’s more flexible. -18 LUFS for a long time was considered to be a good respectable loudness to hear pretty clearly, but not so loud that it would be overwhelming. Then people started pushing it up to -15 and higher than that. There’s no governing number per se, but you want to limit your peaks at -1 and maybe higher if you want. The other question is “what is the material?” There is some discretion there between -18 and -15 or higher. The worse something is recorded, because not all of these internet pieces are brilliantly recorded, how harsh is the sound? How much work does it take to make it not uncomfortable to listen to? You want to fine tune that spec to make it the most palatable.

For radio, they’re going to normalize your file most of the time. So the question is how compressed do you want it. In general, I would say a -12 average is pretty hot.

BH: You can definitely push it on radio for sure. You can go a lot hotter. I feel like Spotify did set something of a standard when they set their specs for delivery at -14. It stopped a lot of people from going too hot. Like Tom was saying -18 LUFS (Loudness Units relative to Full Scale) was considered the acceptable average. People kept pushing things hotter and hotter, it had it’s own kind of loudness wars, if you’re familiar with the loudness wars in music. People thought “if my commercial is louder, people are going to pay attention to it, so I need to push it louder than everybody else, I don’t care what the acceptable average is, I’m going to go louder.” Spotify basically said “hey, average everything to -14 and it’s going to sound okay when we do our compression and processing.” Spotify being a huge platform for advertising, that set a lot of people on a much stricter path.

DS: Right, I believe YouTube did the same thing. Aren’t they recommending -14 now?

BH: Yeah, it’s gone up since I’ve been doing this. I think -14 and people are kind of sticking with that for the ads that they put up.

DS: It’s starting to find balance.

BH: Any kind of loudness wars just gets irritating to me after a while. Like most engineers. I know an engineer who mainly focuses on music production and he famously said “I will not do the loudness wars. Here’s where I average things out. Here’s how I like to do it. Don’t come to me if you want things overly compressed and pushed to it’s limit.” I do respect that, but it’s a trend and some people expect it to sound really loud. It does affect the quality of the audio too at a certain level. Especially with commercials, because you are just pushing things as loud as they can go. It’s nice to finally get a little bit of standardization in terms of what we are doing.

TD: The YouTube and the Spotify platforms, especially Spotify, are based on comparing it to the levels of the music. When I’m talking about -15 to -18, we’re talking more about business to business targeted messages, where we don’t need to hit them in the face. Where we need to allow for some breathing room and some polish and leave a clarity and comfort in the sound. All you have to do is turn up your headphones or turn them down. When I have my earbuds on and the commercial is too loud, it just sucks. I don’t need to push it too hard, depending on what the message is. We’ve done some sports oriented commercials for example, yeah -14. Something with deep bass in the music, absolutely -14. When you’re talking about a sophisticated product to a sophisticated client and you don’t necessarily think “I’ve got to pump it up,” because that’s not going to help the client reach their potential customer.

DS: Exactly! I think it has gotten better, because I remember the earlier days of the internet and every once in a while, a commercial would come on and it was SO LOUD that I would have to rip my headphones off my head, because it hurt my ears.

BH: Yeah, it’s really the most annoying thing. That’s the idea behind standardization, so that type of thing doesn’t happen.

DS: Exactly!
 

Las Cruces Yucca wind

DS: How do you deal with the creatives that come in to your office? You’re doing a session and there’s multiple creatives sitting behind you, how do you deal with all those people?

TD: You have to figure out who the primary decision maker is. There usually should be some agreement about that. Sometimes we’ve been in situations where there is some discrepancy between different people having a certain amount of input. That can make for a very difficult session, where you have to end up being a referee between them. One case of that happened a number of years ago. A prominent auto maker and their faction from Europe and their branding people from another part of Europe and an American production company. They each had a different take on how to focus things. There was not any clear decision maker. Especially between the two European factions that were at war with each other. You still need to hold on to the idea of what makes the best sounding commercial. So then it’s trying to find the elements of the different opinions that are most valid. Like the lowest common denominator.

The flip side of that is, how do you deal with the creatives? You listen deeply and hear what they have to say. Find enthusiasm and joy in collaborating with them. That’s the positive side of it. I love our clients. They’re mostly really fun and have really interesting ideas. Some of them are out of the box, which makes it even more fun. We have to rope it in for their clients. That can be where the issue is. Sometimes, they’ll bring their clients in. Sometimes they won’t. These days I don’t see as many clients in the same room. It’s more that we finish the work, then they send it off and then we get notes. Depending on the personality, you have to love people just as they are and work with them in the best possible way.

The first way that I always think to deal with creatives is to make people feel as comfortable as possible when they walk through the door.

BH: The first way that I always think to deal with creatives is to make people feel as comfortable as possible when they walk through the door. Them coming in here is usually the last step in the chain. They might work for a large company or an agency. There’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of people with a lot of different opinions. They’re dealing with Slack messages from the moment they wake up in the morning. So there’s a lot going on. They just want to come in here and finish this thing. They’re so close to being done. So what we can do beyond being on top of everything technically and creatively is have coffee ready for them or tea ready for them or some snacks. Just having everything set up and ready to go. “Oh, you need a charger for your phone? Here you go. If you’re hungry for a big meal, we’ll go get it for you, no problem.”

Ultimately, my attitude is that they’re not going to remember all the cool gear and all the cool things like the Atmos system that we have and all that stuff. That might be a fun thing to think about for a second. What they’re going to remember is “Wow, they had great coffee. They had great tea. I felt really comfortable there. It was so cool. The person that I was with was just super chill and easy going. The work was good that they did and everything was easy”. So being responsive in the actual process itself, but also making an impression as soon as they walk through the door. Getting the mood right early on. It makes things flow a lot better. Especially with clients from bigger organizations. There are so many politics and so many things going on that we don’t see. We can get a sense of it from time to time, but they have this whole other world that they’re dealing with. So they come in and say “okay, what do we have to deal with? You need my opinion on this? Do this and this”, while they’re texting on Slack or whatever. So it’s a multi-faceted process. You have to be conscious of being hospitable as well as being on top of everything.
 


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DS: Who are all the people that sit in on the session?

TD: There’s various different titles. There’s a director, a producer, a creative director. Then you also have editors, your various clients. Within the company there can be any and all of those. Then maybe head of marketing, internal creative director, etc. As a mix facility, we also see sometimes composers and sound designers, voice talent, and other participants. Then there’s the legal team that may not be in the room, but they’re looking over every word. Sometimes we’ve had to change copy at the last minute, have to say things in a different way. There’s all these different influences. Then there’s people that aren’t in the room that are higher up on the food chain on the client side.

Dealing with a medical marketing agency, we would typically do work for the first level of our client. Then it would have to go to the legal department and then brand manager. They’d come back and say “can you make it a little softer? Less of those sound effects.” This happened several times. I was composing for this project too. Then it went up another level and they said “just please make it more subtle. We need get the message across without all this fanfare. Then they took it up to the head of marketing, the CMO. He said “God, this is so tame and lame, can’t you give it some energy?” So then the creative director at the agency said “why don’t you just show him the first thing we did?” So we showed him the first thing we did and that’s what went out. It was something for a cystic fibrosis drug. They loved it.

They had us do a version for the kids. They actually made a video game out of it. We did an 8 bit version for the music. If we had stopped at the vice president level, it would have been a different thing. You have to figure out who the primary decision maker is, but you can’t always get to that primary decision maker right away. Patience is important. You need to listen deeply and have patience and empathy for those people. Like Ben was saying, we don’t know all the politics. Ben’s personality is perfect for making everybody comfortable and feeling good and getting the process in the right mood. That can really help to get over the bumps of their internal politics and have some flexibility in the process of trying to get it right for all stakeholders.

BH: You become their beacon in the fog so to speak.
 

DS: How much time do you get to cut the sound effects?

BH: It depends on the project. Not all commercials have sound effects in them. Sometimes it’s just voice over and library music. Usually commercial stuff, if it’s through an agency, there’s usually a stricter deadline that we’re given, so we don’t have a ton of time with those projects. I’ve learned to read between the lines with a lot of notes or a lot of direction that we get from certain companies. This is going back to my days in the corporate world, I learned “how to speak corporate” so to speak. A lot of people are very nice and very good people. They’ll say “oh yeah, take your time…take your time with this, we want to get it right.” That does not mean, take your time. It actually means “we need to get this done right now, but I want to be respectful of you. We really need to get it done.”

TD: “Take your time, 5, 10 minutes, whatever you need.” [everyone laughs]

BH: You have to understand, these people are coming to you because this is not their main focus. With that, they don’t always have a sense of the timeline or how long things will take. They don’t understand the specifics of “if you want this kind of sound design, I can do it within this amount of time, but if you want this other sound design, it will take a bit longer”. They’re like “No, just do this. Just get it done.” They’re not seeing nuance, because it’s not their job to see nuance in this. With that sort of thing, we need to be as prepared as possible to pull things up quickly. At Disher, we have a very expensive library of sound effects that we’ve acquired from major libraries and tons of sounds that we’ve recorded ourselves, that can be very useful. We have terabytes of sound effects that we can pull up fairly quickly. We have rooms here that we can go Foley something if we need to record something pretty quickly. That comes in handy with projects where you are afforded a little bit more time.

Creative films, narrative films, occasionally documentaries that are being produced more outside of the corporate world, you can still work very efficiently and very quickly, but then you can spend a little bit more time if you need to. You still impress people with how fast you can get things done, because you’re used to it. It depends on the project. If it’s something like a narrative film, there might be some very specific sound design where they’re saying “we want this sound design to be something unique and very creative”. Something that I’m working on right now, I’m using a bunch of different synthesizers to do sound effects for animations. That takes a little bit more time, because I’m basically creating something from nothing and making it seem like it works within the context of these animated sections of the film. You learn to manage your time effectively after working on a lot of commercials for corporate entities.
 

Ben Hicks does Foley with a leather bag

DS: You mentioned doing Foley, do you do a lot of original Foley or recording on these projects?

BH: Yes. Sometimes it’s easier for me to Foley things as I see them, rather than trying to cut in a prerecorded sound effect. It also makes the sound a bit more unique. You don’t run the risk of accidentally creating a trend like the Wilhelm scream that you hear in Star Wars films. I think it’s every single Star Wars film that you hear the Wilhelm scream. It’s an exaggerated scream that comes out of nowhere. That in and of itself becomes something that people listen for. It’s fun for the sound designers to throw in. It becomes a signature or something. With original Foley, you really can create unique soundscapes. Depending on the situation, it can actually be quicker to Foley it.

TD: You put the picture on loop, start recording, and there it is. It can be quicker than trying to find a sound that’s going to match, because the timing is so specific. It’s so much better when you can create something unique that fits the picture.

BH: The more Foley that you do, the more you have a sense of what’s going to work in certain places. There are plenty of times where I’m not using what you’re seeing on screen. I’m using an object or something to make a sound for this other thing on screen. You get a sense of what is going to record well and what is going to be believable when you’re looking at it on screen. One example, I used the sound of my wrist watch to Foley the sound of some earrings that one of the characters in a film was putting on. There are some more extreme examples that I could probably come up with. You just get a sense of what will work, what will record well, and what is believable.
 

Ben records Ronnie Foley run

DS: Is the workflow the same working on a feature as working on a commercial?

TD: It’s really more flexible. On a feature, you have to get the dialogue worked out. You have to figure out what the production effects are and get to work on creating the sound design and the Foley and meanwhile, there’s a composer working. There’s a lot of back and forth over a period of time, but ultimately you are working towards getting everything ready for a mix.

With commercials, each project to some extent, dictates the process. On one hand, you could have dialogue and music and you just need to get it done. On the other hand, you could have this really interesting creative idea that needs non diegetic sound effects and you’re trying to create this mysterious, inquisitive mood, but without being negative. There might be any number of steps in the process of doing that sound design. It’s so important to listen to the clients!
 

DS: Both of you are musicians. Do you ever get the opportunity to write jingles for commercials?

TD: Yes.

BH: Yeah, that was one of my first projects that I worked on actually, for an alcohol brand. Tom wrote the music. I think I played bass for it.

TD: Yeah, he played bass and I drank the alcohol. [everyone laughs]

BH: That was an interesting session. [laughs] Tom wrote a funk tune. I think I played bass and guitar on it. There were a couple other examples of that too.

Ben Hicks playing electric guitar

One thing that works out for me, working for Tom, is that he enjoys the sound of guitar and I’m a better guitar player than he is. He is an amazing composer and amazing piano player, but I do play guitar better than him, so that’s the one thing that I have going for me here.

TD: That’s true, Ben’s a great player.

we do play a lot of music and do jingles for commercials. It’s always really really fun.

BH: That allows me the opportunity to play a lot and practice my studio musician chops. But yeah, we do play a lot of music and do jingles for commercials. It’s always really really fun.

TD: Sometimes we get hired just to do the music and we don’t have the privilege of doing the audio post as well. There are certain clients that hire specifically because we can do the music, the sound design, and the mix. Those skills also allow us to work really well with other sound people such as sound designers, composers, re-recording mixers. It allows us to expand our services in both directions. Either we can finish what you started or we can have you help us create elements for something that needs to be finished (expanding the team) or we can provide elements to somebody’s finished product. Sometimes as a composer, I find myself composing for something that’s going to be mixed in LA or New York or what have you. It might be that someone has some music that’s really great, but it doesn’t fit a 30 second spot. We end up working with their music to make it fit that 30 second spot. Providing the right editing and maybe even adding this or that to it to make it glue, so the music feels natural. The goal of course is satisfying the clients and making the music fit the story as well as possible. Also making our creative sound people look and sound as good as possible. Our goal is to collaborate in the most meaningful way.
 

Tom Disher Guzheng SFX

DS: Is there any difference in terminology between commercials and film?

BH: I have an interesting perspective on this. I think the difference in terminology comes from the individuals that we’re serving, the clients themselves. It is one of my favorite things to hear the different terms that people come up with when they are describing what they want or how they describe how they want things to sound. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. There are some very creative ways that people come up with to describe sound. In a non technical sense, people say stuff like “I want this to sound sparkly”. One of my favorite ones was “I really wanted to capture the sound of ice melting” and it’s like “hmm, okay, ice meting. Alright. What could they be thinking of? Oh they’re thinking of cracking ice”

DS: Right, one of my favorite examples is, someone once asked me for the sound of falling snow. I was like “what does falling snow sound like?” Because you don’t really hear snow falling, it’s just there. It’s a good creative exercise, “can I create something that sounds like what falling snow would sound like if it made a sound?”

One example that I noticed in terminology in working in commercials as opposed to film was that instead of saying “send me the stems”, they would say “send me the splits”. Another one is instead of labeling a track VO for Voice Over, they might label it AVO for Announcer/Voice Over. But yeah, it’s always fun to see the differences in terminology and how people explain things.

TD: One of the big things about the communication, is from a big picture level, to try to keep things in perspective of the story that the client wants to tell. So rather than getting down into super detailed in a musical context or sound context, you want to get a definition of the sound that you’re trying to create in terms of the story. For example, if you see a truck door close. Do you want that truck to feel solid? or dependable? Do you want it to be a big heavy sound? or click smoothly into place? How do you want that truck to feel? Obviously you want to get the sound of the Ford F150 but within that, a door can close soft, a door can close hard, it can have that real deep comforting latch, or it can be a powerful hit. It depends on where it is in the commercial and how it fits in the story. So the more that you can put the sound effect in the context of what they’re trying to say about that truck the more likely you are to come up with a solution that really applies to how the client wants the commercial to be.

BH: What comes to mind is those old Chevy commercials with the song “Like a Rock” by Bob Seger. You see the truck moving over an unpaved road or out in the country in slow motion, so you can see how tough it is and how it’s moving, but still staying together. That, with the song “Like a Rock,” you think “oh this is a sturdy, awesome, dependable truck. That’s what this is.” I always thought that was a great advertising decision. It definitely did a lot for Chevy’s bottom line. That’s an example of having the people that have the creative where with all to say “I feel like this is going to be really effective” and be able to communicate it very well.

I was just talking about this with some people that I was working with today, the commercials like the Bud Light: Real Men of Genius commercials, those were hilarious. Same with the Dos Equis: Most Interesting Man in the World commercials. Those are so funny and they appeal to the brand of the different products. It’s like “oh, we’re here to have fun, we’re beer.” It’s fun. It’s funny. And Dos Equis is like “we’re funny, but we’re still a little sophisticated.” or “we’re sophisticated, but we’re not uptight about it”.

TD: What was the one that you were quoting earlier today?

BH: They’re spewing out facts about the character The Most Interesting Man in the World, and one of the facts is, they say “he bowls, overhand”. Just the visual of that. You just pause for a second and say “wait, what did that guy say?” You crack up, but then you remember the product. Advertising is an amazing art!

TD: …and an awesome team sport!

Thank you to Tom Disher and Ben Hicks for taking some time to talk to us about sound for advertising and commercials. You can find Tom on IMDb here and at Disher Sound here. You can find Ben Hicks on IMDb here and at Disher Sound here. Don’t forget to check out some of the commercials that they’ve worked on here.

 

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