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Under the Influence with Terry O'Reilly
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Under the Influence with Terry O'Reilly

Author: CBC Radio

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Under the Influence gives listeners a rare backstage pass into the hallways, boardrooms and recording studios of the ad industry.
Join host and adman Terry O’Reilly for fascinating (and humorous) stories that connect the dots between pop culture, marketing and human nature.
197 Episodes
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This week, we look at one of the oldest advertising mediums - skywriting. From its beginning back in the early 1920s, skywriting was once the most sensational advertising medium in the country. We’ll look at the most famous skywriting campaigns, the most recent billboards in the sky and some of the most amusing spelling errors.
This week, we explore how the pandemic is affecting the world of marketing. Some products are tanking while others are setting sales records. We’ll tell the story of how one airline has started selling airplane food in grocery stores and why lipstick sales have tanked but plastic surgery is booming. Who wins and who loses is very surprising.
This week, we explore Superheroes in Advertising. Superman was the archetype of the modern superhero and he was the archetype for how superheroes were used in ads. From Superman promoting Kellogg’s in the 1950s to Batman hawking savings bonds to Batgirl advocating equal pay for equal work, stoic superheroes became the ultimate spokes-characters.
This week, we look at the most Famous Movie Posters of all time. The movie poster is the beginning of the story - often the first piece of marketing created for a new film. We’ll look at how posters are designed and we’ll analyze how the best posters influence ticket buyers.
This week, we learn about famous Female Brand Icons. In a marketing world full of Mr. Cleans, Ronald McDonalds and Mr. Whipples, there are female brand characters that were just as successful - and some even lasted longer. Join us as we draw a direct line from Josephine the Plumber and Madge the Manicurist to Flo from Progressive.
This week, we explore what happens when an established spokesperson switches brands. We’ll tell the story of how the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” guy ended up pitching Sprint, how “The Most Interesting Man in the World” went from Dos Equis to tequila and how a spokesperson for a hamburger chain got fired when she pitched spaghetti sauce.
Welcome to Season 10. It's good to be back. This week, we explore how this new era of racial reckoning is affecting the world of marketing. Several of the leading brands have their roots in racial stereotypes, like Aunt Jemima - which took its imagery from the slave era. Some brands, like Eskimo Pies, have announced they are now re-naming their products and acknowledging their old names were offensive to Indigenous people. We'll also look at sports teams and their long history of controversy with team names. Hope you'll join us.
We're back January 7th

We're back January 7th

2021-01-0601:202

We’ve got a fun 2021 season planned for you. Here’s a sneak peek at what's in store...
S9E26 - Ask Terry 2020

S9E26 - Ask Terry 2020

2020-06-2528:368

This week it’s our final episode of the 2020 season, where we answer listener questions sent to us through social media. Like - why the most popular Super Bowl commercial chose to replace their lead actor, why Gatorade’s famous "Be Like Mike" campaign called Michael Jordan “Mike” when no one ever called him that before and we’ll answer the age-old question - why are there so many bad ads? Thanks for tuning in, folks. It's been a fun season. We'll see you next year.
This week we’re talking about the Mandela Effect. It is defined as “collective false memory.” That means many of us remember things incorrectly and we all remember them incorrectly the same way. From famous movie lines to song lyrics to details of traumatic events and even to famous commercials, we all think our memories are time-stamped videos of our lives. But they are not.
This week, we explore the branding of diseases. Over the course of history, diseases have been named after people and countries with devastating effects. Names have stigmatized entire regions, decimated industries and have even caused diplomatic crises. And countries have weaponized diseases for political purposes. As with all branding, words matter.
S9E23 - Bookmarks 2020

S9E23 - Bookmarks 2020

2020-06-0427:566

This week it’s our annual Bookmarks episode, where we tell fascinating stories from our research that didn't make it into the regular season. We’ll talk about a book that maintains if you build a better mousetrap, the world will NOT beat a path to your door. And we’ll tell a story from a biography of Bruce Lee that proves sometimes the only way to sell a product is to increase its price. Throw on your reading glasses and join us for Bookmarks 2020.
Some people call Under The Influence "UTI" for short. It’s not a good nickname. But some brand nicknames are positive and extremely valuable - like "Coke" and "Chevy." Others like “Whole Paycheck” don’t make Whole Foods happy. Join us this week as we explore the implications of Brand Nicknames.
Every episode of Under The Influence begins with an opening story. And after more than 300 episodes, we’ve told over 300 opening stories. This week, we look back at the ones that generated the most listener feedback - from a story about a one-armed martial artist to the unorthodox ways lovers communicated in the Victorian era to the story of the greatest racehorse of all time.
80-90% of new product launches fail. So to lower the risk, companies do trial runs. This week, we explore Test Markets - where companies launch new products in small towns to see if shoppers pay attention. We’ll tell the stories of successful product launches as well as a few notable product disasters.
This week, we explore how business can be won or lost with spontaneous off-hand remarks. Not all advertising business is conducted in a boardroom or in commercials. Sometimes somebody says something in an elevator, or in a speech or in a doorway that leads to winning an account - or losing it. Talk ain’t cheap.
S9E16 - Brand Envy 2020

S9E16 - Brand Envy 2020

2020-04-1628:255

This week, it’s our annual Brand Envy episode, where I tell the stories behind some of the brands I admire. We’ll talk about a romance novel company that was started by a fur trader, an empire created by a cartoonist and a certain dairy product with its very own spokes-angel. Hope you’ll join us for the 2020 edition of Brand Envy.
This week, we explore the world of Torture Tests. Torture test commercials are one of the advertising industry’s most powerful techniques - because when a product can survive a dramatic test, it can convince a lot of people to buy the product. Unless, that is, the torture test goes very wrong…
This week, we explore the world of Online Reviews. These days you can leave a review for anything - from a cup of coffee to your dentist. 90% of us read online reviews before buying a product - that’s why those reviews are so influential. Yet how do you tell fake ones from the real thing? Thumbs up or thumbs down, welcome to the world of online reviews.
This week, we explore the quiet world of ASMR marketing. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a new form of marketing that creates a calming feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation. Marketers create that experience using sound effects and whispers. Everything from beer brands to fast food restaurants are using it - hoping that tingling sensation leads to a cash register.
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Comments (31)

Buck Fruckster

I can't be the only person shaking their head at the ridiculousness of today's political correctness whitewashing branding. 20 years from now people of colour will be complaining they aren't represented in branding.

Jan 14th
Reply

Andrew Randall

I can't get enough

May 19th
Reply

Fraser Scantlebury

An excellent episode - brought back great memories- thanks Terry!

May 16th
Reply

Janine White

entertaining as always. but maybe a little tone-deaf celebrating brands that made it through a pandemic despite the odds, while hundreds of your listeners are struggling with exactly that battle right now and probably won't have such luck.

Apr 18th
Reply

Janine White

my favourite banana slicer review was the one who complained that it curved the wrong way. dad joke gold.

Apr 7th
Reply

Hamid Nosrati

how can I get podcasts text?

Feb 9th
Reply

Danny Savino

love you podcast

Sep 23rd
Reply

Dave E. Fortin

where is season 6 and 7?

Sep 6th
Reply

Hermon J. Mayers

Love the show but one correction, the ridiculously named Redskins are a football team. The baseball team with the equally ridiculous name is the Cleveland Indians.

May 18th
Reply

Bob the Conqueror of Mornings

Mailed it in on this episode. 5 minutes of examples of number stations. I think one station would do the trick

Mar 16th
Reply

Maxx Vu

Excellent show. Thank you!

Feb 21st
Reply

Bob the Conqueror of Mornings

Great episode. If only all the episodes were so full and rich with little fluff to fill out the 25 minutes

Feb 14th
Reply

doug macleod

love this show

Feb 11th
Reply

Paulie Deville

this is one of my favourite shows to listen to on CBC

Feb 2nd
Reply

Ken W

Dont think season 2 is available yet. Check CBC website

Jan 22nd
Reply

Anthony Hicks

I can't find season 2 any where ! It would be awesome to see it here. Any suggestions anyone ?

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

Katie Blight

this is the best! thank you!

Jan 2nd
Reply

Delainy Brown

excellant show more pls

Dec 18th
Reply

Gary Geer

yes, more, more, more pls

Nov 7th
Reply

Soroush Karimian

please post more episodes of under the influence

Oct 31st
Reply
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