Stepping up to the mic: How I helped Asda and Metro create a radio ad in 24 hours at Do it Day
'Does anyone do accents?' In terms of scary questions it's right up there with 'what's that rash?'
There's a pause as the ramifications sink in.
The folks from Radioville are looking for us – the assembled group of marketers from a wide range of backgrounds – to come forward to a microphone and read a radio script as part of Metro and Asda's Good Deed Feed challenge for Do it Day. For an ad to be broadcast in just a few hours at 4pm. Mobile phones come out straight away, as people prime friends and family to be sitting by their digital radios.
The plan is to have a group of voices reading out alternating lines in the pre-written 30-second ad. The script calls on people around Britain to vote for their region if they think it's the kindest part of the country. Script in hand, each volunteer makes the terrifying journey up to the microphone to contribute. Surrounded by camera phones recording our every word - everything today is being Tweeted, Instagrammed and Snapchatted; we handle being in the digital media spotlight with no tears or tantrums.
Naturally there are a few bloopers - it's good to see that everyone has at least one good Germanic swear word in them. But the simple fact that we have to get the script recorded here and now lends a real urgency to the process.
After everyone has had their say, a crack team of radio boffins fly back across the river to Jungle to edit and mix the material that's been recorded. In total we have 37 takes with a range of accents and each voice has hit different notes in the script well. We work through lunch going over each take, assembling the mix of options, cutting and pasting until we have the best version.
Then it's down to the sound engineer to work his magic, which he does with quiet fortitude after the creative noise has ceased.
Versions for each of 10 regions are created, named and sent for output. We have a team photo outside Jungle and then it's back over Waterloo Bridge to the event's IBM HQ to see how everyone else has fared.
Amazing what you can do in a day.
Tristan Marshall is a senior copywriter at Krow Communications