The Story Behind The Christmas Kitties

Backstage Info
12/21/18

By now, you may have heard about our parody of a Bangor Christmas Classic. Back in 1980, a local bank released a Christmas commercial featuring two cats, a tree, ribbon, and wrapping paper. It was priceless. No bank's Christmas commercial has come close to it since, and some banks are being painfully cheesy with their Christmas spirit they are trying to spread. But, we digress. 

For whatever reason, the bank that was behind the kitty commercial hasn't run it on television for YEARS. Dan decided it was time to bring it back. He enlisted expert musician and funny man Brian Nadeau and the two of them filled the role of the kitties. If you watch the original 30-second commercial, which is available online, you might notice that our parody is a shot-for-shot remake of the original, coming as close as we could come. Not only that, but we recreated the jingle. Dan learned that very jingle at a very young age on piano and still plays it every chance he gets to play a "Name That Tune" style game with friends or fellow nerds. So he changed it around slightly to create a parody of it, but left enough in tact so that viewers would recognize it. Dan also reached out to a family member of one of the producers of the original commercial. She gave her blessing to both the idea and the finished product. 

We ran the "commercial" for the first time at the live taping on Dec. 5. It was met with instant positive feedback. Laughter in all the right places, and sustained applause at the end, coupled with people coming up to members of the staff after the taping to say not only how funny it was, but to thank us for "bringing it back." We were thrilled. 

Then the piece ran on television and we made it available online. Again - almost 100% positive feedback. Plenty of shares and private messages coming into the show's e-mail account and Facebook. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is:



THEN, we got word that Channel 5 in Bangor would be willing to run our little parody as our own Christmas commercial up through Christmas Day. Ha! That just added to the hilarity we found about it. Channel 5 news called the next day and asked if they could do a news story on it. The answer was "Absolutely!" 

Everything was coming up roses. But - as George Hale once told us - if nobody complains you might be doing it wrong. 

After the news story aired we had a couple of angry messages on Facebook. One person said that it was "disgusting" and "DISRESPECTFUL" (in all caps) and that we had "sunk to a new low." (Ummmm...what was the old low?) Another person said that Dan and Brian couldn't pull off cute so they hoped it would at least be funny. (Ouch.) We got reports of an angry caller in to the TV station immediately after the news story aired. And - perhaps most telling - various people on our staff have friends that work at the bank that was responsible for the original commercial. Some of those friends reported to us that "higher ups" were acting very "defensive," "snooty," and "childish" about our parody, commenting that the original was better and that they should start running the original on TV again to "show us."  (Ummmm...sure? But, shouldn't you worry about banking first?)

So, all-in-all, we're chalking this one up as a success. We got instant reaction from our live audience as well as the TV audience with some very kind things said immediately after the show first aired. There was a nice amount of social media traction and a little extra exposure from our friends at WABI TV 5 (UPDATE: And from our pals at Z107.3 as well). Plus, people literally thanked us for doing it. (UPDATE: Even as recently as Christmas Eve, Dan reported getting stopped in the supermarket by someone thanking him for doing it. He said that it "felt amazing" to hear so many thanks from so many people for such a silly little skit.) To the few who were upset enough to reach out...we hope that you find some sort of inner peace so that you don't get angry about a parody of a kitty commercial in the future. Especially at Christmastime, there are more important things. 

Happy Holidays everyone!