Some months ago, I was contacted by a company in Devon who were looking to add to their portfolio of radio commercials.
They had taken to spoofing well known ads from the 1980s and in my first job, I got to impersonate Orson Wells in the recreation of a Carlsberg advert. At some point, I may well share that with you.
Once completed, the client told me that they were looking to spoof a cinema advert from the same era. This time, it was for Fry’s Turkish Delight. Now let me start by saying that whilst I love this advert, I cannot stand the product in question. For me Turkish Delight is what happens when Satan himself is left in charge of a sweet factory, but that’s a whole other story.
The hard part for the client was getting the rights to the music. The original piece had been written by Jeff Wayne – a genuine musical hero of mine for his album, War of the Worlds – an album which I think it is fair to say I know backwards. In fact, I had the great pleasure of doing a voice over job in the very same studios where Richard Burton recorded his dialogue for the album in question, and that was a serious highlight in my voice over career.
Well it took a while for the rights to come through and then all we needed to do was make it sound right. The client wanted to use all 60 seconds of the advert but both I and the radio station agreed that a pure instrumental track like that would cause people to switch over before they got to the end of the ad – not a good move from a marketing perspective.
So I managed to edit it down to a lean 40 seconds and then all we had to do was record 7 words. That’s all – 7 words, but I knew this advert really well and knew exactly how the client wanted it to sound. So I took the original, stuck it on a loop and spoke along to it – about 23 times. Then I took what I considered to be the best takes and mixed them in.
This was a particular pleasure for me as it was my first radio ad produced with all of my new studio equipment. New mic, pre amps and software, and both I and the client were pleased with the result.
If you don’t know the original advert, you can watch it here:
And this is what we did with it: