Hi everyone, Ernie here with another part of my partner's life.David Buck. This time he gives us the story of the Great American Motel Chain and the man whose voice defines that story.
Bored today:You might recognize Tom Bodett's voice as the whimsical narrator from those hilarious Motel 6 radio ads that have been on the airwaves for thirty years. Today's Boredom attempts to explore the career of the man behind the voice and how he helped take over what was essentially a chain of cheap motels and change the image of it for whatsayingThe magazine calls it "the best ads of all time."— David @ Boredom
Today's GIF is of aparticularly bad dubbingan ad for Motel 6.
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The original price of a single night's accommodation.in the first motel 6.Today, there are more than 1,200 Motel 6s across the country and the rates are a bit higher ($45.99 a night at local facilities), but the same basic principles apply.
This is what a room in a Motel 6 looks like. (Amyashcraft/Flickr)
The largest owner-managed hotel chain in North America
From its humble beginningsLocated in Santa Barbara, California in 1962, Motel 6 has always been at the forefront when it comes to clean, comfortable rooms and what weary travelers seek: a good night's sleep.
The need for an affordable and comfortable motel arose in the early 1960's when places like Holiday Inn began to slowly renovate their locations.they changed their brandsfrom budget chain motels to something more upscale.
By 1994, Motel 6 was operating all of its buildings. After that, the chain allowed franchises throughout the country and was eventually acquired by the French multinational Accor.
The chain has stayed pretty much the same for most of its life. In 2015 Motel 6many expanded, remodeled and renovated locations, with a new advertising campaign to accompany the changes.
Though times have changed for the company, one thing has remained constant since the mid-'80s: ads.
"For the record, and at the risk of exposing myself as a complete fraud, we won't actually leave your lights on. We just mean it in a friendly way. You have to turn it on yourself as soon as you enter the room. There. I said it. Hmm ... I feel strangely at peace, unencumbered."
—Tom Bodett,in one2007sayingInterview. The Motel 6 spokesperson improvised the famous line, "We'll leave the lights on for you," shortly after a script test for the original ad campaign. He remained and has been a constant presence in the ads ever since.
A 1999 Motel 6 commercial. Yes, that's Bodett's voice.
Motel 6 created ads for everyone and updated them over time
When The Richards Group, a Dallas-based advertising agency, landed Motel 6 as a client in 1986, the company's creative director, David Fowler, knew the right man for the campaign. Fowler was a fan of Tom Bodett's NPR comments in the mid-'80s about his work as a home builder in Homer, Alaska.and decided that Bodett's voice and behaviorto be "someone I could employ one day".
According to Bodett, the ads were tested in California and Texas in December 1986 and launched nationwide the following year. And the result is one of the most recognizable voices on radio.
While the company's early ads gleefully denounced the seriousness of the competition, they reinforced the idea that Motel 6 is the place everyone can stay: a comfortable place to sleep without all the other "bullshit" associated with luxury hotels. In the samesayingIn a 2007 interview, Tom notes, "You don't need art on your motel room walls because your eyes are closed anyway."
Subsequent ads follow a similar theme, adapting to the culture of the time.including podcasting in 2005.
It is this timeliness that makes ads work so well. We have heard of him over the years.Y2K,Fungus,how to save a dollar,Vampire(both standard and sparkling), trends such astablesYHang tagsand more recently, a humorous versionmillennial slang.
As Bodett says in the latest ad, "We'll turn it on for you." I'm still not exactly sure what "in flight" means, but I'll have to let it go with the times. The Westwood One Radio Networkawarded first and second place awards to Richards Group Agency in 2017for those Super Bowl radio ads.
The Richardson agency oversaw the advertising campaign for Motel 6 throughout his life. The campaign's initiator, David Fowler, eventually left the agency, handing the reins over to its current operator, Chris Smith:who got into campaign advertising for Motel 6 and joined Richards Group.
According to Bodett, he was once heavily involved in the screenwriting process, but has regressed a bit in recent years. Campaign executives always gave him space in the studio to blow off steam and improvise with the content, so that's what they did.
In an interview with Tedium, Bodett sums it up succinctly: "Along with the incredibly talented creative people at The Richards Group, this lax control of our recording process is one of the main reasons the campaign has been so easy to listen, funny and successful". For more than 30 years."
"I didn't expect to do it 17 months later. I think everyone will know when it's over, but it never seems to end."
- Bodett, aand 2003promotional weekInterview.At this point, the campaign was 17 years old. Now over 30 years old, it still has the same speaker and follows the same basic format as when it started. Lately,a television ad traced the developmenthow families travel, and Motel 6's goal remains constant over the years.
Someone left the light on. (Photo by D Buck)
Personal anecdote: How the Motel 6 experience lives up to the hype
It wasn't the best motel experience I've ever had, nor was it the worst. From December 31, 2003 to January 2, 2004, I worked for a local television station as an assistant engineer. At that time, our team spent the night at a professional bull riding event. This being Colorado where these things are popular, multi-day affairs, we were ultimately forced to find accommodation in a hurry. The station was cheap, and he decided to house the crew at a local Motel 6 in Longmont, Colorado, just north of Denver.
I remember that the bed was comfortable enough, but the room was cramped and a bit disorganized. The "continental breakfast" was generic cereal and stale Danish pastries, but at least they had a decent cup of coffee.
The motel advertised cable TV, but the TV in our room broke. It didn't matter though, since we got to the motel so late, all we wanted to do was sleep. It was nothing special and Itatget a good night's sleep at a reasonable price. Would definitely go back if need be. Therein lies the genius of advertising.
The ads always make Motel 6 seem like a warm and welcoming place to stay, in large part due to Bodett's dedication, wit, and sincerity in each location. And theEsSincerely—Bodetttold AdAge in 2007 that he himself uses Motel 6 when he travels.
The phrasing and humor in these ads go a long way in providing brand equity to the listener. One listens to the ads and hears that the Motel 6 is presented as a stylish and affordable alternative to a luxury hotel rather than being promoted as cheap accommodation.
Presenting Motel 6 as an affordable alternative to the competition creates a sense of value for the consumer. Through the commercials, we learn, with some humor, that Motel 6 offers several amenities (free Wi-Fi, anyone?), allows pets, and welcomes all weary travelers, regardless of social status or background. . At least, that's my impression.
There seems to be a clear juxtaposition of ideas and ownership in these ads, which appeal to people from all walks of life, growing the brand and solidifying Motel 6.Dieplace withThe most brand awareness of any budget hosting brand.
The ads are so popular that evenBad Motel 6 critics apologize directly to Bodett.
"There were a few years where people thought I owned the motel chain, there are still a few, and that left some people confused about what I thought was publishing books and talking about cartoons, but it was never a burden for me."
— Bodett, in an email interview.Bodett has done a variety of work outside of the Motel 6 ad campaign, includinga series of books[Amazon link] (along withcorresponding versions on tape, of course), a handful of TV narrator credits, and a lot of work for NPR.
Tom Bodett's other light-related concert: Animaniacs.
Five unusual places where Tom Bodett made his presence known in pop culture
- "Good idea, bad idea":This animated segment of the '90s cartoonAnimaniacs followed the antics of Mr. Skullhead- a skeleton in a blue suit, hat and bow tie - as he stumbled into some entertaining misadventures. Bodett also provided the narration for the Animaniacs film.wakko's wish.
- The "City" of Rockport:An episode of The Adventure Zone, a popular Dungeons & Dragons podcast, features Rockport, a place where every citizen is a Tom Bodett clone. Bodett's Army helps the characters on their journey. Unfortunately, Bodett's clones are not voiced by the man himself.
- Jewel Race:Bodett once gave an Alaskan-born singer named Jewel Kilcher a check for $5,000 -a check that helped her recover, and arguably launched her Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum career.
- "Nativity 6": On his 1994 album I'm Santa Claus, radio personality and parodist Bob Rivers took a Bodett-style Christmas step. "Hi, I'm Tom Bodett from Manger 6."the sketch begins. "We know he's traveled a lot this season and he's been told there's no room at the inn..." It continues the tradition of the Motel 6 style voiceover we all know and love. Rivers reportedly hired a Bodett impersonator to perform the play. In total devotion to the parody, he ends with the line, "We'll even leave you a star."
- Milsford Spring Water:in a 1996Saturday night liveSketch provided Bodett with the narration for the commercial using a variety of spring water that gained its purity.through a wave of murderous murders. Will Ferrell is a monster.
Among other things, Tom Bodett is an online contributor to "Car Talk."
Before Tom Bodett was a creator, he was a carpenter. He is now a normal Renaissance man.
Tom Bodett began his career through a series of fortunate events.Before becoming a spokesperson for Motel 6, Tom Bodett made a living as a carpenter in Homer, Alaska. He began submitting essays for his local newspaper and commenting on small town life for his local radio station KBBI. In 1984, Bodett sent some of these to National Public Radio and, to his surprise, to NPR.all considereddecided to play them.
On the subject of NPR, Bodett recalls: "ATC was and is their main evening news show, which at the time also had voices from all over the country talking about... whatever. I submitted my collection with low expectations and I loved it when everyone went on air asking for more.
Bodett's work for National Public Radio has made him a regular part of the NPR audience, and if you listen regularly, you may recognize his voice on NPR.Wait, wait, don't tell me,one of America's most popular panel shows.
Bodett says there are few requirements to appear on the show: show up sober, rested and ready to play. A basic knowledge of this week's news is helpful but not essential, and it's all about being fun whether you know the answers or not. He leaves us some wise advice:
"When I try to teach my own children something, it's better to be funny than correct."
“Writing is hard and easy to put down. Sometimes I do."
— Bodett,about his creative process and his next potential book project. He doesn't like to charm himself into making bold statements about the upcoming job, in case he doesn't go as planned.
Before becoming a spokesperson for Motel 6,Tom Bodett has written several funny books. the first of thesethe end of the street, which follows the lives of some of the most colorful characters in Homer, Alaska, is worth its weight with humor and whimsy. He wrote several more books about his former hometown and his wry and humorous observations of everyday life.
Bodett is never content to rest on his Motel 6 laurels, not even Bodetttried stand-up comedyin 2011. He has been a regular contributor to the online version ofNPR's Car Talk since 2012.
Not only that, he is also an outspoken family man.He once said "no" to appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Showto promote one of her books and prefers to spend some time with her son.
Bodett moved to Vermont a few years ago. As a carpenter, he has a fully functioning wood shop at home where he spends as much time as possible between jobs and time with his children, something he values highly.
He's not just a family man, cartoon narrator, Motel 6 host, author, and NPR panelist: he's a lifelong carpenter, something that's been around his entire life.
"I love making furniture out of native Vermont hardwoods," says Bodett, "this stuff will outlast anything I've ever said or written, and that makes me happy."