Happiness wasn't in on the conference call with Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal for their show "Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings" because IFC didn't send us a screener. (Don't you love the irony of a show about marketing with a flaw in its marketing plan?)
But we want to support our Tar Heels. So when IFC was gracious enough to send the transcript from the conference call, we selected some choice nuggets and decided to share.
One thing we learned, the guys are doing something new during the encore presentations of their shows: "We’re going to be showing the premiere episode every week at 10 p.m. on IFC. Then at 10:30 following that episode, we’re going to have an encore presentation of the previous week’s episode. During that broadcast, we’re actually going to be doing a live web show at IFC.com and YouTube.com/rhettandlink where you can watch that encore presentation with us, ask us questions. We’ll be telling behind the scenes stories about some of the things that happened on that the camera didn’t—or it happened off camera—answering your questions in chat, and doing a half-hour show. So, that’ll be the live broadcast—sort of an enhanced viewing experience if you want to stick around and watch that encore presentation."
Here's what else we culled:
Q: Do you envision a sort of an Oscars or an award show for local markets for who has the best personality, the most unusual or the best produced commercial, personality or some sort of an award show recognizing these hidden gems?
Rhett: Yeah, we’re actually launching that exact awards—the Loco awards at IFC.com are launching with the premier of the show where people can go in and vote—submit and nominate their favorite local commercials from their area just using a YouTube or Vimeo link. We have a lot of categories a lot like that like best ensemble cast, worst commercial.
Link: Best use of a mascot—
Rhett: Yeah. So, exactly what you’re talking about, we’re doing the exact same thing throughout the season. People can submit those, vote for them and win money.
Q: I was just wondering—what do your friends and family here in North Carolina think of you getting the show? What the feedback has been from them?
Rhett: Everybody’s super-excited back home. Everybody in North Carolina that we know have been fans of what we’ve been doing online for a while, and I think that they just see this is a natural progression being given a bigger platform, bigger opportunity, and just more help to do what we love doing. I think that’s the beauty of the show; this is exactly the kind of thing that we were doing online in terms of making the commercials, but now the show's built around the process—having that TV crew out there that’s following us around. And showing you behind the scenes of that moment that we find out that Bill, the hot yoga instructor, served time in Vietnam and being able to see how he reacts when we tell him we want to give him a fake AK-47 in his yoga commercial. Those are things that you don’t see in the commercial, but they are actually the heart and soul behind the commercial. So, everybody’s excited back home to be able to see that process opened up.
Q: Also I wanted to ask if you have plans to come back to North Carolina, or are you guys permanent L.A. residents now?
Rhett: Well, we’re here for while the show is on the air. We’re getting a lot of great opportunities out here. We would love the show to continue and that’s based out here. So the plan is to stay while we’re working on this and of course, we’ll be coming back home and can kind of splitting time between coasts. But, yeah, it’s looking at least, semi-permanent out here for right now.
Q: Have there been things that just you couldn’t convince someone to take the leap or it was just too crazy to film, or to use?
Rhett: We’ve gotten close. There were a few tense moments throughout the season, but we were always able to pull it off. One in particular, when we were making the commercial for Troy’s Spot up at San Bernardino, we asked all the people who kind of frequent the business if they had any special things that we might be able to put in the commercial. We said, “Anybody have any pets?” One guys says, “Well, I got a python.” We’re like, “Perfect! Python in a hair salon commercial, this is a great idea.”
So, incidentally, we start working with … who had a great hair-cut that Troy had just done on her and we were going to put her in this chair and spin her around. We’re like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we just wrapped this python around her neck and spun her around? That would make a great shot on the commercial?” Well, come to find out that … firmly believes that all snakes are poisonous and are on a mission to kill humans. This woman is deathly afraid of snakes. So, in the show, we have to convince her that a) pythons are non-poisonous and that this seven-foot python will probably not choke her. It is capable of it, but if it happens, we will pull it off and it’s safe to say that she actually did make it into the commercial and she’s alive. She’s still alive.
Q: Just one quick follow-up, any aspirations or any interest at all, or maybe any overtures from big brands?
Link: I mean, we’re experienced with working with big brands. We worked with Coke and McDonald’s, Dentyne, GM, Alka Seltzer. In terms of our YouTube channel, we’ve been making a living through branded product integration over the past few years. So, the local commercials is kind of a different thing, but we still kind of keep our hand in both arenas. So, we work with the larger corporations.
I think one of our goals, one of our … is maybe to create a Super-Bowl commercial for a larger brand, a large corporation, but that it would be done in the spirit and the approach of the local commercials that we’ve been making for small businesses. So, kind of turn it all on its ear.
Q: Any takers yet?
Rhett: No. It’s interesting. It’s obviously—working with local business owners is a little different. I mean, it’s just us and this guy who his blood, sweat and tears—this guy or this woman—who has put all this time into his business. It’s just us just sitting there talking about this commercial versus working with a major corporation where you’ve got ad agencies and brand managers and all these people are involved in this chain. And most likely, an idea like “Red House Furniture—where black people and white people buy furniture” is not going to make it too many rungs up that ladder, but it happens on the local level. That what’s so great about it.