Oink Ink: No Pig In A Poke

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The Ink in Oink Ink Radio is not just a play on Inc.-it alludes to the production firm's writerly inclinations. In addition to producing radio spots written by advertising agencies, New York and L.A.-based Oink Ink pens about half the scripts it produces for clients and agencies directly.

For a Jeopardy campaign, Oink drew on its pool of some 30 freelance writers to create "Trash Talking," in which two champions exchange a round of Mensa-style yo' mama jokes: "Your mama is so teratoid she makes Rasputin appear to be as comely as Aphrodite," says one, trounced by the other: "Oh, yeah? Well, your mama is as vapid as Mentha Spicata in a glass of Camellia Sinensis."

Armed with a longstanding reputation, president Dan Price and VP-creative director Jim Price can afford to insist on high standards. "Radio is not a leave-behind you put under a window shield in a parking lot with 12 bullet points," says Jim Price. By the time an ad closes with two-fer offers and legalese, he adds, listeners forget whatever good radio the spot may have opened with. Oink liberates the airwaves from disclaimer-addled advertising, whether with its own writing or via agency scripts, one high-profile client-including McDonald's, Coke, Pepsi, Ikea and Southwest Airlines-at a time.

Most recently, Oink asked a disparate group of musicians to personalize Jeopardy's theme song for the show's brand campaign. In each of five spots, musicians riff off the tune-in one case, on an Australian dobro. "It's as if Jimi Hendrix had played it," says Dan Price, "What would he have done?" In one commercial, a 73-year-old plays an accordion interpretation ... la Moonstruck, while in another, the Cab Calloway Orchestra hup-hups its way through a big-band arrangement entirely lacking in legal provisos.

It's hard work to make radio listeners listen. Only one of the 20 scripts Oink typically writes for an ad makes it to the studio, invariably leaving some favorites in the dust. In support of fellow writers whose work faces similar odds, the company hosts an annual Dead Radio Competition. From about 850 script submissions that never saw the light of day, an impartial jury selects a winner that Oink produces for free.

The sixth annual competition winner led one client to change its mind about a script it had killed. Albuquerque's Rick Johnson & Co. presented Oink's irresistibly produced version of "Babysitter" to Rainbow Foods. Written by Adam Greenhood, the spot features a young boy who tells his babysitter she should do him a "bleeping favor and go bleep" herself, among other expletive-deleted unseemliness. A voiceover caps the preadolescent fulmination with an offer on soap, bringing in a host of awards for the agency and Oink alike.

Long-suffering radio writers everywhere should exhume their dead scripts by April 15 for a shot at an award-winning afterlife.

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