With Clear Channel pushing their Less Is More campaign, (which emphasizes 30 second radio ads over 60’s) – writers, producers and clients have been lamenting the shrinking audio canvas they’ve been forced to use. For retail radio ads this is particularly tough because a lot of time is needed just to explain and/or mention the offers. That half minute micro-nugget shackles almost any ability to embed a consistent brand image.

One work-around for this is to try and make the style of the radio spot represent the brand. Over the past few months we’ve been working on some Marshall Fields radio that falls into this category. Scott Jorgensen, the writer, came up with an easy template for us to execute – an answering machine.

Here’s how it works – the messages left on the machine handle all the retail dope, while the answering machine itself acts as a pavlovian mechanism for the brand – every time you hear it, you associate it with a sale at Marshall Fields. Simple.

For a recent “13 hr Sale” we altered this execution slightly. Normally, there are several people leaving messages for “Molly” on her machine. This time the message was left by just one person – which clarified things further. The spot, called “Countdown” was given to the skills of Minneapolis voice-over talent Amy Matthews whom, by the way, you may recognize from her work on “Bathroom Renovations”, a TV show that airs on the DIY Network.

For voiceover folks this kind of radio spot offers a delicate dance – you have to sound natural, casual, friendly and real while talking about retail information – perhaps the most unnatural thing to do.

We had the pleasure of recording Amy in recording studio A here at Babble-On but not for long – she nailed it in under ten takes. To be honest, she got the performance even quicker than that. The hitch was bringing her in on time without having her sound rushed. So a nibble was removed from the copy, Amy upped her pace, we altered the sound design a touch, and boom – the spot rounded up on time.

Here’s “Countdown” for Marshall Fields 13 Hr Sale…

Other Minneapolis voice-over folks involved in the production were George Keller as “Molly” (who was recently in doing radio spots for Minnesota Tourism – here, bottom of page) and Joanna Jahn as our announcer (who can currently be seen in 50 ft. Penguin’s production of Debbie Does Dallas)

Amy Matthews and Joanna Jahn can be booked through their Twin Cities agent, Wehmann Models and Talent, inc., while George Keller is represented by Moore Creative Talent, inc.

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