Do you want to know how quickly you can take a simple brief and develop it to engage audiences in their thousands? This is how to turn positive energy into creative multi-platform content… within hours.
Task: Develop a creative for BBC radio that delivers positive messages to Derby County FC from members of the public.
Deadline: 6 hours.
Brief: Create support for an injured Derby County footballer whose fitness was 50/50 ahead of a major game in the club’s history. Record positive messages from members of the public. Edit and produce recorded content for editor approval ahead of the next day’s morning show.
How I Turn Positive Energy into Creative Multi-Platform Content…
This was a piece from BBC Radio Derby and not in conjunction with the football club itself.
It was important to get natural reactions from members of the public that would be entertaining to hear on the radio.
As the player himself wasn’t available, I wanted to use a visual effect that led to some great audio reaction too. I needed a mannequin’s leg and a football sock.
Do you know how much a single mannequin’s leg costs?
I would also need the help of football’s leading psychic spoon bender and Euro 96 penalty sabbotager.
My creative would have me walking around the city of Derby, carrying a single mannequin’s leg, complete with Derby County FC stocking.
I called around the city to find a mannequin’s leg, explaining the reason.
Several shops and boutiques refused, yet one shop agreed on the basis that “it sounds a bit of a laugh”. (I also had to have it back within the hour because the boss was due back from his meeting after that.)
By the way, do you know how much a single mannequin’s leg costs? £200!
Having got hold of the leg, I needed to get a sock. You can only buy socks in pairs, of course; as opposed to stand alone items. (Please do not excuse that pun, I am extremely proud of it.)
At the sight of the single leg with one football sock on it, people tended to smile and laugh, but most importantly open up. It created a very natural sound.
On the flip side it also instantly highlighted those who didn’t want to take part. (When you approach a stranger with a dismembered leg and a microphone, it’s extremely easy to see if people fall into the “up for a laugh” or “leave me alone” camp.)
With the audio recorded, it was to the edit. The way I envisage a final project, I picture what I want the audience to experience – and I work my way backwards.
The members of the public were the key to this creative; they couldn’t be scripted. (Nor would I want them to be; the brilliance of the content came from their honest reactions.)
Recording people is only part of the cake. It is layered. The final serving has those voices from people but then it needs layering with music, effects and audio that adds something unexpected.
This is the audio I produced from that simple brief.
A Guest in Mind…
It wasn’t enough that I’d produced this audio package to build up the biggest game in Derby County’s recent history. I wanted to push the message and take it further with a guest interview.
When you think of positive energy and football, only one name springs to mind. (Well, my mind. And maybe yours if he’s used his powers to make that happen…)
I sourced his agent’s number and put a call in. Within minutes I was on the phone to possibly the greatest known football mind-influencer of a generation, if not in the entire history of the game.
The man who famously used the power of his mind to move the ball during England’s Euro 96 game with Scotland, leading to Gary McAllister missing a penalty for the Scots.
I spoke with Uri Geller. I said we were using the power of the mind to help heal and injured footballer because he was the key to securing victory for Derby County in the biggest game of their recent history.
Mr Geller took my word for it and requested all the details of the game: the date, the time, the venue, the teams, the afflicted player’s name, and the body part that needed healing.
Having sent a Whatsapp message to confirm, everything was in place. It was a WhatsApp message that led to me being able to write this rather long sentence:
World renowned Exeter football fan Uri Geller agreed to focus his energy on a makeshift waxwork leg on BBC Radio Derby whilst speaking live from his former soap factory museum in Tel Aviv which now houses more than 2000 spoons, including one signed by Elvis.
As you can see, it’s a long sentence because it deserves to be.
The conversation I had in that morning meeting at the BBC was that the star striker was injured ahead of this key game, and could I go out and speak to people about it.
To me, that was an opportunity to turn positive energy into creative multi-platform content. It was an opportunity to develop a concept from a straightforward brief.
I saw more than just audio: I saw the opportunity to use a visual to deliver great audio, to involve an audience on social media with Facebook and Twitter broadcasts, as well as Insta stories, and to produce a package using music and commentary that brought street interviews to life.
Plus, I involved a celebrity guest to add weight to the delivery.