Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Remember to honk... when you drive by Tom Shane

Few people in Seattle can watch television between the hours of midnight and 6am without encountering that shady auto insurance pitchman imploring you to "Remember to honk when you drive by Vern Fonk." Though I know of nobody who actually has purchased insurance from Vern Fonk, most everyone can clearly recognize and remember his obscure, bizarre, yet often entertaining and creative commercials.

Well move over Vern, there's a new resident moving in down the street. The illustrious jeweler whose trademark voice has graced Seattle radio airwaves for decades has made the leap to television with a new series of advertisements and a jingle that puts "Remember to honk..." to shame. Tom Shane, your self-proclaimed "friend in the diamond business," stars as a faceless version of himself in these creative, yet odd commercials for the Shane Co. jewelers. In past radio advertisements, the closest thing to a jingle was the distinctive slogan, address and store hours that concluded each spot. The crossover to television ads seems to have warranted an actual jingle that reinforces the quirkiness of the commercial: "He's dull. But he's brilliant." Short and to the point.

On the bright side, the commercials are highly entertaining. I guess I can't complain too much about that.

And in a brief addendum, a bit more research has shown that much to my surprise the Shane Co is actually not a local company. Despite the fact that they do a very good job of making it seem (at least to me) like Tom Shane is sitting in his Medina mansion extolling the virtues of the Shane Co, he's actually headquartered and originally based in Denver. He now owns over 20 stores nationwide from Washington to Georgia. Fascinating. Still funny commercials.

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