An original “retro” holiday song is the ticket to promoting holiday scratch games.

Posted by on Dec 15, 2011
An original “retro” holiday song is the ticket to promoting holiday scratch games.

Recently, HY Connect was challenged with the task of promoting holiday scratch games on the radio for
The Wisconsin Lottery. Needless to say, when the words “holiday” and “radio” are in the brief, it’s fairly difficult (if not downright impossible), not to think of holiday music. But we didn’t want to just add lyrics to a popular song. So we set out to create an original piece that captures the fun of gift giving and the holidays
in general.

We wanted to compose a piece that was authentic to the classic holiday songs of the 1940s. This meant NO electronic instrument sampling. In one session, a string section comprised of 11 members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was recorded. Violins, violas and a couple of cellos captured the era nicely—especially with the arrangement having pizzicato parts (the plucking of the strings). Another session included the slapping of a standup bass and a Les Paul-style of rhythm guitar, along with period drums. The percussionist actually volunteered to bring in his mid-century set to make sure we stayed true to the sound of the time period instead of just using the “modern” set that was in the studio! He is also playing the sleigh bells live to allow some variation in the rings—which we wouldn’t have had with a computer sampling.

Our lead vocalist is an aficionado when it comes to music in this era. In fact, he sang a song for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds—a film that takes place during WWII. His voice is a great blend of Perry Como/Andy Williams with a little laziness of Dean Martin and the swagger of the Chairman of the Board. Basically, he was exactly what we needed.

Background vocals were originally only female, but to capture the feeling of the Pied Pipers (Sinatra’s backup group from back in the day) or the Modernaires, we added a male voice to the higher harmony parts.

The spot began airing throughout Wisconsin the first week of December. We hope you enjoy hearing it as much as we enjoyed creating it.