Clients want their 30-second spots crammed with as many jokes as possible. But Pongo founder Tom McGough, says that the number of verbal and visual punch lines isn’t as important as the cadence of their delivery.
As the saying goes, timing is everything in comedy.
“Other people might just run the whole thing at the same speed, and think that somehow that’s the answer,” adds McGough. “But we think it should be like a roller-coaster. You’re kind of being pulled, pushed and dragged along on this wonderful ride that has moments where you can stop and take a breath, then speed up, then you go into a lap that allows you to laugh in that moment and enjoy a joke. But how you cut that thing up and figure out the craft of it is the hard part.”
Another old adage informs Pongo’s work: comedy bends and drama breaks.
In a promo for a drama, there might be a fight where someone ends up in the morgue, and “in a comedy promo, somebody gets into a fight and they end up in the emergency room, but at the end of the day he gets the girl,” explains senior VP Cary Sachs, “We sort of flirt with disaster in a comedy.”
In addition to finely honed comedy cutting chops, the Pongo team brings a unique joie de vivre to their work, according to frequent client Jill Hotchkiss, VP of marketing and creative for Disney XD at Disney ABC Television Group.
“You watch their work, and you know that they’ve had fun working on the brand, which really comes through loud and clear every time you see a spot that they’ve done,” Hotchkiss says. “It brings a unique and organic feel to their spots.”