So This Is How It Kills Us...

Here’s a nightmare for you. Imagine this scene –

Your radio alarm wakes you up. Chatty presenter, upbeat songs, it sets the mood perfectly as you get dressed, brush your teeth and eat your breakfast. The clock reaches 8.15 and you need to leave, so you pop your shoes on, button up your coat, and move to switch the radio off. As you reach for the button, the presenter, who until now has been back-introducing Taylor Swift and commenting on the weather, says, ‘Have a great day, Robert’. Then silence.

(Bytheway, in this scenario, your name is Robert)

artificial-intelligence-2228610_960_720.jpg

Horrendous, right? Well, according to James Cridland, this is the future.

A new form of technology means Artificial Intelligence can now synthesise new sentences from old recordings, essentially creating a ghostly radio presenter who can say different things to different people at different times.

This terrifying new tech was developed in America to help radio presenter Jamie Dupree, who lost his voice after a mystery illness. They used a bank of his old recordings to create a programmable AI Jamie. The experiment worked perfectly, and Jamie is now back full-time, filing reports and reading them out on air, despite not being able to speak.

James Cridland sees this technology developing into ‘personal radio’ – suggesting your radio presenter could break off from the top 100 to remind you of appointments or let you know when you need to leave for work.

And, of course, it could.

It could also switch on while you sleep and tell you to kill you parents.

It could tell your friends secrets about you while you’re on the toilet.

It could seduce you, convince you to leave your husband, and convince you to buy another radio that it then has an affair with.

This is how radio takes over. If a radio can speak, then it can kill.

radio-1954856_960_720.jpg

We’ve already got enough audio of Chris Moyles to create an AI version of him – so what need is there for actual human Chris Moyles? He’ll be in an unmarked grave within the week if this technology comes to fruition. Same goes for Grimmy.

Who’s to say it hasn’t started already? Christian O’Connell suddenly leaves Absolute and moves to Australia? Yeah, right. They killed him years ago, and only now have they run out of words for the AI OC ghost to say, so they’ve made up a country (Australia? Come on now!) and told you all he’s gone there instead. It’s the equivalent of your parents telling you your dog went to live on a farm.

Dave Berry is merely weeks from going the same way.

The future of radio is very exciting. It’s also the end of civilisation as we know it.

Have a great week!

MAY-be We're Going to Be the Ones to Save Thee...

Hello?

Are you there, God? It’s me…Maple Street.

I mean this Newsletter has always felt a bit like screaming into the abyss, but at least before we could pretend you were reading this. Now, in a post GDPR world, we know that you’re not. Are you? ARE YOU? No. Exactly.

But, I mean, we’re going to do it anyway. I think. I dunno, let’s see if I give up halfway through, crumpled in a weepy little ball.

Pffffffff…

It’s May. The air is full of barbecue smoke and pollen. Your cold has faded seamlessly into hay fever and there is no discernible difference between the two sets of symptoms.

Prince Harry got married and we all kept it very much in proportion, as a country. Didn’t get too excited. 13 pages in the Metro the Monday after the wedding. 13 pages about a wedding we all saw.

It was nice though. Good luck to you both, if you’re reading. It seems unlikely though. As we’ve established, almost no-one is reading – so it would be a real surprise if we get the click-through figures and the only two people who are still subscribed to this newsletter are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But, forgive me, I’m an optimist.

Hello Harry and Meghan. We all know plenty about what you did for the last month, but here’s what we did.

 

British Podcast Awards

Yeah, that’s right royals aren’t the only people who can get dressed up in May. Fresh Air can put a shirt on too…

And they can also pick up TWO awards at the British Podcast Awards.

BPA.jpg

Fresh Air had two entries in the top five for branded podcasts – and won Silver for Historic England Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places, and bronze for Parliament Explained. When Fresh Air started these ventures, people underestimated them – they said ‘these podcasts will never win silver and bronze in a national podcast awards. Maybe one or the other, but definitely not both’ – well, Fresh Air showed them!

Take that, doubters! And congratulations, Fresh Air!

 

Breakfast Radio

Have you ever thought about how Harry and Meghan wake up?

Because I have. I really, really have. And it puzzles me.

My phone alarm wakes me up every morning. That’s my go to. But there is absolutely no way that Harry and Meghan are awoken by an iPhone alarm. I can not picture that. I can not picture Meghan, about five minutes after the lights have been switched off, suddenly turning to Harry and saying ‘have you set the alarm?’ and Harry, already half asleep, mumbling ‘yes, it’s a repeat alarm, you don’t have to set it again every day’ and Meghan going ‘oh, right…night then’ and then a few moments later going ‘actually can you just check’ and Harry, grumpy and wide awake now, leaning out of the bed and, bleary-eyed, checking the alarm on his phone, only to realise that it actually wasn’t set because he’d turned it off that morning for a bit of a lie-in and having to set it very quickly so that they don’t oversleep and miss, I dunno, a knighting or something the next morning.

I can not picture that happening. So how do they get up? Old fashioned alarm clock? Closer, but still not quite right. No way should Meghan be jolted awake that abruptly.

Butler? Possibly – but these are the down-to-earth new royals. They’re humble. They’d be embarrassed by a suited man having to literally shake them into consciousness each morning.

No, the only option that makes sense to me is this…clock radio. DAB probably. It clicks on at 7 each morning, and they both come to (gradually), kiss (royally), then start their day.

What does this section tell us about what Maple Street have been up to for the last month? Nothing. Nothing at all. But it does highlight the ubiquity of breakfast radio, how relevant the medium still is, and the vital role it plays in the running of our fair country, even in the upper echelons. Next month, Theresa May – is she a Dave Berry fan, or sticking with Moyles?

 

Radio Audio Week

The Organisers:                What shall we call it? Audio Week? Or Radio Week?

Some Brainbox:                How about…both?

The Organisers:                Won’t that sound odd? Like it’s supposed to rhyme but doesn’t? Like we’re saying the same thing twice, for no real reason?

Some Brainbox:                No.

And it didn’t. In fact, it’s probably fair to say, Radio Audio Week was a resounding success! It was a collab between RadioCentre and the Radio Academy which are, it turns out, two different entities.

The line-up was star-studded enough that it almost put the Royal Wedding to shame! Christian O’Connell, Lauren Laverne, Ed Miliband, Mollie King (from the Saturdays) – they were all there! Vanessa Feltz was there! Julia Fartley-Brewer was there! And, for some reason, Nigel Farage also slithered his disgusting way into proceedings.

Also present and correct were Maple Street’s Creative Director Neil Cowling and Radioworks’ MD Emily Turnbull, both of whom blew the absolute roof off the place!

It was a fantastic week celebrating all that is great and good about this industry and charting the incredible rate at which its growing. It’s an exciting time in the world of Radio Audio (as we all definitely call it), and we hope you’re all coming along for the ride.

 

We Don’t Care About Your Celebs Anymore Unless They’re Royal. Got Any Royals In? Have You? No. Thought Not.

Sorry. There are no royals here. Not even a Vanessa Feltz.

But we did have the brilliant Tom Ward in one day a few weeks ago.

Tom Ward.jpg

Tom Ward is the future of the comedy industry. He’s great, he’s tall, he’s very funny – and he worked with us on a few ads for an upcoming campaign. We liked him so much, we’re getting him back in (also the scripts have changed since the session, so we need to re-record)!

The other famous face is this guy…

Actual Ryan Early.jpg

Ryan Early! He’s been in almost everything. The Bill! Coronation Street! That Will Young video where Will Young is getting chucked out of a restaurant! Loads of things.

He came in to record a quick session for our friends at Bauer and he did an excellent job. I’m also pleased to announce that, due to a miscommunication in the build up, Ryan Early turned up 30 minutes late.

 

 

 

 

 

The Maple Street Basement – Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream    

Like all the best things (the Tube, sewers, dead people), our studios are underground. But they are also state of the art, comfortable, professionally run and available for you to hire.

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. So, if you want to record a voiceover, do some broadcast PR, get a radio advert made or survive an apocalypse – we have the facilities in which you can do all those things!

 

Get Your Briefs Out

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at production@maplestreetstudios.co.uk.
 

So that was our May.

How was yours? No point asking. You’re not there. I mean, even if you were at the start, you definitely dipped out halfway through that Harry and Meghan alarm clock bit. Guaranteed.

It’s OK though. I’ll still be here if you come back.

These words won’t change – but maybe your mind will.

And we’ll still be here.

Goodbye, anyway. Enjoy your June.

 

APRIL-liant Way To Start Your MAY

I know, I know, it’s late.

It’s been a busy time of year, so April’s newsletter is actually hitting stores at the start of May.

But what a month it’s been! What’s been happening?

All four seasons, that’s what. I mean I know it’s clichéd to talk about the British weather, but it really is hog mad at the minute, no? I swear at one point it was 25 degrees and snowing, simultaneously.

In the news – Amber Rudd has been deported.

Matthew Wright has quit the Wright Stuff, demonstrating the danger of basing your TV format around a pun.

Sainsburys and ASDA are merging. Who will get custody of George?

And there’s a third royal baby! It’s a boy, it’s called Louis, and I, for one, welcome our new reptilian overlord.

Anyway, let’s get on with it. 

Fresh Meat

Yes, that seems like an alarming title for this first section, but the original title was ‘New Blood’, so it’s actually not as bad as it could’ve been.

We have a new face at Maple Street! Here is that face…

 Great face.

Great face.

James McCombe is our brand-new producer. He’ll be working in the studio, putting together adverts, podcasts, programmes – essentially anything that falls under the audio category.

What else do you need to know about James? Well, he’s from New Zealand (you know, from off of Lord of the Rings). He goes to the GYM BEFORE WORK like an athlete or a murderer. He’s been here for two weeks and is already annoyingly good at his job.

That’s James, if you see him in the street say hi!

Awards

Urgh, sorry, but it’s awards season again.

So, it means we have to do some very in-your-face boasting about the awards we’ve been nominated for. I know, I know, it’s uncomfortable. But you’ve got this far, no point stopping reading now. It’ll be over soon. Here we go…

FreshAir

The podcast arm of our department, Fresh Air, have been nominated for two (2) British Podcast Awards!

Fresh Air.png

Fresh Air podcasts ‘Parliament Explained’ and ‘Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places’ make up two of the five nominees in the Best Branded Content Podcast category.

The British Podcast Awards are, as you could probably guess, award for podcasts. From the big industry smashing, genre-defining ones, to the little, home studio gems you might never have heard of, the great and the good are all going to be there and now, courtesy of Fresh Air, so are we!

Chip Shop Awards

Now, after the earlier explanation of what the British Podcast Awards are, you could be forgiven for thinking ‘well, I know what this is all about’, but confusingly, the Chip Shop Awards are not a series of awards for chip shops.

They’re awards for creativity without limits – i.e. anything goes.

 But here's a picture of some chips to further confuse the matter. 

But here's a picture of some chips to further confuse the matter. 

And we’ve been nominated for Best Social for our Gender Pay Gap piece from last summer. Who knew refusing to take your job seriously would pay off?

Who is the competition you ask? Well, one is a dating video for a man who drinks urine and practices Tai Chi – the other is a high budget 'It' spoof in which Father Christmas kills creatives, I think. So, a fairly normal category, is what I’m saying. See those two entries, and our own, here.

View Entries

Google Yourself a Podcast

Everybody’s favourite tax avoiding Big Brother style surveillance operation, Google, are getting into podcasts!

Google have announced that they’re planning to double the number of podcast listeners in the next few years, which is simultaneously ambitious and vague – and that’s a style of planning I can get on board with.

 No idea.

No idea.

They want to streamline the way Android users find their podcasts, in the same way that iTunes do for Apple users – and I say good luck to them. Currently, two thirds of all podcast listening is done through iTunes – and it’s about time a plucky up and comer like Google challenged them. 

It could be very exciting! Equally we could be dead by then, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

Oh, Look…It’s Him! Ah, You Know…From That Thing. We Watched It. Turned Out He Was Having An Affair. Ah, What’s His Name?

We get people off the telly coming in here from time to time.

And the thing about celebrities is they’re just like us. And by that, I mean they all use the toilet.

Seriously, I’ve been keeping track. Literally every single one of them who has come here has used the toilet. Guy Garvey? Uses the toilet. Cuba Gooding Jr? Uses the toilet. Gabby Logan? You bet she uses the toilet.

I walked past Roger Daltrey in the toilets here once and was so startled I just whispered ‘sorry’ into his ear.

I say this only because Simon Bird, writer, actor and star of The Inbetweeners, came in this week, and I saw him in the toilet twice. He used the toilet at the start and at the end of his session with the lovely Pirate FM, and I was there both times, so I’m worried he thinks I’m just a guy they employ to stand in the toilet. And in many ways, I am.

 It was just a wee both times, Simon. Honest. 

It was just a wee both times, Simon. Honest. 

 Anyway, Simon was an absolute delight. As expected.

We also had the lovely team from Shooting Shark in a couple of times, to record the excellent ‘Blood on the Tracks’ for BBC Radio 2.

 *Record scratch* Yep, that's me. Shaun Ryder. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation...

*Record scratch* Yep, that's me. Shaun Ryder. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation...

The show features Colin Murray chatting with four well-known music obsessives, meaning in the last month we’ve been lucky enough to host Jeremy Vine, Liz Kershaw, Kriss Akabusi, Steve Davies and Shaun Ryder, amongst others. And let me tell you – every single one of them went for a wee.

They’re just like us.

The Maple Street Basement - 

Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream

Studios.jpg

Like all the best things (the Tube, sewers, dead people), our studios are underground. But they are also state of the art, comfortable, professionally run and available for you to hire.

Studios 2.jpg

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. So, if you want to record a voiceover, do some broadcast PR, get a radio advert made or survive an apocalypse – we have the facilities in which you can do all those things!

Studios 3.jpg

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.
No obligation - just to show you what we can do.
Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?

Is it something you wish would just go away?

 Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at: production@maplestreetcreative.co.uk.

And yes, there we go. That was April.

It is now May, so let’s look ahead to that.

What’s coming up in May? TWO! BANK! HOLIDAYS!

That’s all that matters. I mean, don’t let the other days pass you by, grab them by the scruff of the neck and kiss them passionately.

 

Feb-u-ready for March?

What’s better than one newsletter?

THAT’S RIGHT! Two newsletters, crammed into the same e-mail!

This is the Maple Street Newsletter for February AND March and I’ve already used up far too much copy space telling you that so LET’S! DIVE! IN!

Turbulent times my friends, turbulent times. Countries across the world have expelled several suspected Russian spies after a poisoning in Salisbury. I mean, that’s all well and good, but it kind of begs the question…were we just fine with the Russian spies being here before that? Like, it very much seems like we knew about all the Russian spies and were just kind of…cool with it. Then they did some poisoning and we went ‘Well, this is the final straw! Take your spies back!’

In other news, the President of the United States has (allegedly) been sleeping with some pornstars, a YouTuber might go to prison for turning his dog into a Nazi and Facebook controls your brain. So, the world is pretty normal then.

Here is our news.

News

GDPR. What is it?

This is a relevant and phenomenally boring question that, sadly, we have to answer, because otherwise I personally might go to actual prison.

From May 25th companies, like this one, and I daresay, like yours, will be subject to stricter rules on data protection. It’s basically a good thing, most likely. The irony here is that you probably understand it, whereas I, the person explaining it to you, absolutely do not. But here goes…

 Sensibly protecting his mouth from the fumes, what a good criminal. 

Sensibly protecting his mouth from the fumes, what a good criminal. 

We can now only store data that is relevant to the task we are performing. So, any personal data your company stores (names, e-mail addresses, IP addresses), that you do not need to store, you have to stop storing. Is that…is that right?

What it essentially means is this may be the last newsletter you ever receive. From now on, I’m afraid it’s up to you.

Here’s the plan. You gather outside our office, on the last Thursday of the month, and we’ll shout our news through the letterbox. Or, if we can afford the spray paint, we’ll graffiti it on to the wall of the building.

That’s GDPR. That’s everything you need to know about GDPR.

They’re Just Ordinary People

No build up to this one, just going to hit you with it cold – Cuba Gooding Jr came in.

 Nicki was pleased to see him

Nicki was pleased to see him

Yes, THE Cuba Gooding Jr. Here are all the questions you’re going to ask, answered, in order of importance –

  • How does he smell? He smells like freshly cut grass. He smells like the first day of spring. He smells like roses do after a hot, heavy rain. He smells like coffee does, when it’s made fresh on a Sunday morning, and brought to you in bed by the person you’ve always loved but only just told. He smells like honey dripping down the back of a model on a yacht in St. Tropez. He smells like sunshine through an open window. He smells like very, very expensive soap, I imagine.
  • How tall is he? Google says he’s around 5’9, but in my memory he was a giant.
  • Why was he there? Well, he’s currently performing the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago, right here in London. He has to sing and everything. You could call him…Cuba Budding Crooner…couldn’t you?
  • Did he say his catchphrase? He did say his catchphrase, yes. Without even being asked, which seems a bit desperate, but we didn’t complain.
  • Was he friendly? Was he friendly? WAS HE FRIENDLY? Was well-known legend Cuba Gooding Jr., friendly? Of course he was, you absolute idiot. He was lovely.
  • Did you get a photo with him? Much to his manager’s chagrin, yes, we did… 

And then if that wasn’t enough – Tom Clarke-Hill came in later the same day!

If you don’t know Tom Clarke-Hill so well by name – you’ll know his voice. Let’s just say…he’s grrrrrrrrrrreeeat!

 Nicki was also pleased to see TCH

Nicki was also pleased to see TCH

From the Frosties adverts?

He was the original voice of Tony the Tiger is what I’m saying. He was also fantastic and friendly and my word what a voice.

How do you follow that? How? HOW?

With one of the hottest bands of recent years, that’s how.

Years and Years, a young, trendy, award-winning British synth-pop band, came in to our studios courtesy of Good Broadcast.

 Butter wouldn't melt. 

Butter wouldn't melt. 

You might think that I wouldn’t know who young, trendy, award-winning British synth-pop band Years and Years are, but you’d be wrong – because they were featured on the soundtrack to Bridget Jones’ Baby, so…

They were lovely and due to their legions of adoring young online fans, they gave us our most successful tweet ever.

Oh, speaking of tweets…

Social Media

We’re on Twitter.

What do we do on there? TAKE OURSELVES SERIOUSLY, THAT’S WHAT.

We also post articles, blogs, pictures of famous people and pictures of ourselves in situ.

Also, sometimes, exclusive offers.

Oh yeah, that’s right. We know how this social media game works and we’ve finally decided we should start playing it.

But, essentially, if you want a little more of us in your lives, here we are –

Follow us

The Maple Street Basement – Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream

Like all the best things (the Tube, sewers, dead people), our studios are underground. But they are also state of the art, comfortable, professionally run and available for you to hire.

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. So, if you want to record a voiceover, do some broadcast PR, get a radio advert made or survive an apocalypse – we have the facilities in which you can do all those things!

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

Briefs.png

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.
Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at: production@maplestreetcreative.co.uk.

And that. Is. That.

Easter weekend coming up. Doing anything nice?

I’m planning to die on Friday, spend the weekend in a cave, then turn up again on Monday.

I sometimes wonder if anyone ever reads this bit. I sincerely hope not.

Podcasts Are (FINALLY) Worth It!

Long form audio programmes: Creatively fulfilling. Great fun to produce. Wonderful to listen to. And, until recently, as a business model, utterly pointless.

Loss-making projects used to be my speciality. Most of my very proudest, most creatively rewarding work has made absolutely no financial sense. I’ve produced brilliant Sony-award winning shows that have worked out at around £2 per hour. I’ve spent months on New York Festival Gold Medal winning programmes where the cost of entering the awards used up all the programme’s profit.

Why? Because up until around 5 years ago ... no, three years ago, there was only one buyer for what we did. The BBC.

As small independent radio producers, we’d fool ourselves that it made sense, but a BBC documentary was almost always a vanity project. We did it for the kudos, the awards, the joy, and the promise that it might mean being considered for another loss-making project in the next commissioning round.  

Then along came podcasts.

And, do you know what? There’s now an actual business model to be had.

That’s not to say it’s obvious, or easy. But it’s there. And it’s a revelation. There are:

-       Forward-thinking brands willing to explore adventurous concepts in an experimental medium;

-       Media owners excited about new creative solutions;

-       Cultural organisations looking to engage their members, or prospective members, with high quality editorial content;

-       Corporations and government bodies discovering that engaging audio content is a lot more digestible than a 50 page report;

-       Talent looking for ways to pilot ideas or pursue passion projects;

-       Advertisers understanding the unique appeal of a digitally-engaged audio listenership;

-       Platforms like audioboom and acast willing to sell big ideas into large agencies;

-       Audible, bringing serious money to invest in ambitious concepts.

All these opportunities can be serviced with broadcast quality research and production, emboldened by an editorial freedom that was previously impossible. The value for the client is fantastic, partly because it costs a fraction of video, but mainly because we know how to create superb content efficiently.

We can still create work to be proud of, win awards, and push the boundaries. But do you know what? As a business, we can make a bit of money too. So podcasts with brands can be sustainable, ambitious projects can be viable, and the medium can thrive.

And why do we win this business? Because we spent years honing our craft and building our reputation by making financially pointless programmes for the Beeb.

Oh. Maybe they were worth it after all.

Sod it. Of course they were.

Hello, We're Doing a PR Stunt...

Today is an important day.

You might have seen it mentioned on television, or on the radio, or elsewhere in the news, and there’s been quite a hubbub around it on Social Media. Certainly, for us here at Maple Street, it’s a day we feel we want to promote.

It’s National Proofreading Day.

 First foray into using a stock image website, and this is what you get when you search 'Grammar'. Pretty solid effort. 

First foray into using a stock image website, and this is what you get when you search 'Grammar'. Pretty solid effort. 

National Proofreading Day, celebrated annually on the 8th March, promotes the importance of mistake free writing. It’s also, more importantly, a fantastic opportunity for #brands to do some #marketing!

So, today, we’re doing one of those PR stunts that ostensibly raises awareness for a cause but is actually, fairly transparently, raising awareness for us!

Here at Maple Street, we’re promoting National Proofreading Day by misspelling every bit of copy we write between 9 and 5.30 on the 8th March.

Every advert will be misspelt, every tweet grammatically inaccurate, every podcast script will be a car crash of misplaced apostrophes and incorrect capitalisation!

Why?

 Good question. 

Good question. 

Awareness…and that.

Will it make our lives more difficult? Yes!

Will it provide a substandard service to the people who rely on us? Yes!

Does it promote exactly the kind of behaviour we’re supposed to be opposing? Yes!

But don’t worry, it’s a satirical joke.

 OK, so this is what you get when you search 'Satire'. Am I missing something here? Do I...is it just that maybe I don't understand what satire is? Everyone else sees a frog driving a sports car, yes?

OK, so this is what you get when you search 'Satire'. Am I missing something here? Do I...is it just that maybe I don't understand what satire is? Everyone else sees a frog driving a sports car, yes?

Today is also, perhaps less importantly, International Women’s Day – a day to promote the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women, as well as considering how far we still have to go towards true gender equality.

It’s a tricky one for brands to get involved in, no matter how noble their intentions.

BrewDog tried to highlight the laziness of gender-based stereotyping…by doing some lazy, gender-based stereotyping. They introduced a ‘Pink IPA’, which is exactly the same as their ‘Punk IPA’ except with a pink label. Yeah…me neither.

In fairness, BrewDog did pledge to donate 20% of all sales of both Pink IPA and Punk IPA to charities supporting women’s equality, but it’s fair to say that overall, the stunt went down fairly badly.

Quick tip for the BrewDogs – if you have to tell people that your satirical joke is a satirical joke, then your satirical joke isn’t very good.

 Literally the third image that comes up when you search 'Marketing'. This website is bonkers. 

Literally the third image that comes up when you search 'Marketing'. This website is bonkers. 

Other recent attempts to turn the quest for gender equality into sweet sweet coin include Johnnie Walker Whisky rebranding as Jane Walker…for a limited time only, of course.

In the past Bic have produced biros for women and Doritos recently considered launching Doritos for Girls. The world of advertising is littered with examples of these, presumably, well-meaning but totally tone-deaf token attempts to align a brand with a social cause.

So, here you go team, here’s a secret - the best PR stunt for International Women’s Day is to pay all of your staff for the jobs they do, not the chromosomes in their genes, or the genitals in their jeans.

And if you still want to make a pink beer, or donate 20% of your earnings to women’s charities, or develop a flavour of crisp that even ladies can enjoy – then hey, knock yourselves out.

But get that first bit done first.

Happy International Women’s Day from Maple Street. 

women-2196594_1920.jpg

And if you’d like some more International Women’s Day based fun, follow Richard Herring (@Herring1967) on Twitter. Every year he spends this day finding the people who ask, ‘When is International Men’s Day?’ and telling them. This year he’s also raising money for the women's charity Refuge, so if you’ve got, I dunno, 20% of your recent earnings lying around, feel free to throw a bit of cash that way.  

Or keep your eyes peeled for the many apology articles and retractions written by red-faced PR types later today including, potentially, an apology for this very article. Wouldn’t that be meta?

Happy New-ish Year!

It’s 2018 and everything is different now!

You’re a different person! You’re in shape! You’re sober! You no longer wake, sweaty and frightened of everything, at 2am and then cry yourself back to sleep! Your body hair is fragrant and perfectly manicured! You live in a bigger house and get on better with your mother! And the world is absolutely fine in every way!

Woohoo!

No, just kidding, you’re still an awful person and the world is still a terrible hurtling rock we’re all oddly intent on setting alight. And would we have it any other way?

Anyway, hope your January has been manageable, this was ours…

Radio is Most Trusted Medium

Radio has been voted the most trusted medium, according to a study by the European Commission.

Great news!

 Look at this guy, trusting radio whilst drinking his tea and...staring...

Look at this guy, trusting radio whilst drinking his tea and...staring...

In a recent report, it was revealed that 59% of people across Europe trust their radio, compared to 51% for TV (pathetic), 47% for press (embarrassing), 34% for Internet (oh dear) and 20% for social networks (woeful).

In a time of ‘fake news’, it’s great to know that we still consider our radios a reliable source of information.

Of course, had newsletters been included in the survey, the trust would’ve been 100%, if not higher.

Procat

Let’s get straight into this – Procat is the future of this nation.

Procat, or to be more precise, Prospects College of Advanced Technology, is a college (obviously, yes) which has been established to ‘meet the needs of businesses which operate in sectors which are critical to the UK economy’.

So, when they say, ‘advanced technology’, they don’t mean a toaster that sings to you or a watch that stores your emotions - they mean the stuff that is going to be essential to this country’s survival in the future.

These brave young men and women hold our entire futures in their hands, and therefore this might be the most important advert ever made. Think on that for a while. It also sounds nice and we made it.

Welcome to Our New Radio Overlord

Now we say a big ‘hello’ to Matt Hancock! Hello Matt!

 FUN FACT: Matt Hancock has his own social media app, literally just called Matt Hancock. Google it. Immediately. 

FUN FACT: Matt Hancock has his own social media app, literally just called Matt Hancock. Google it. Immediately. 

Matt has been appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was previously Minister for Digital, during which time he ‘achieved positive developments on licensing for small scale DAB’, which sounds…vague…but good. He was also instrumental in reforming the garbled and ineffective Ts and Cs in radio advertising.

And Matt, oh powerful master, if you’re reading this, please don’t fire me. I have children. Well, not children technically, but mice I have named at tube stations, and if I don’t have a job I won’t get to see them. 

Don’t You Know Who I Am?       

In this business, glamour is never far away. But, in January, it sometimes feels it. So, we’re here to let you vicariously rub shoulders with the great and the good.

We’ve had a veritable ‘Who’s That?’ of famous faces this month, and they have been absolutely lovely one and all.

The exceptionally friendly Shaun Williamson came in courtesy of our friends at Good Broadcast, to talk about holidays, Big Brother, and laugh politely when everyone hilariously referred to him as ‘Barry’.

 "Please stop calling me Barry"

"Please stop calling me Barry"

Dick & Dom briefly left their bungalow to come in and spend an afternoon in our studios, again courtesy of Good Broadcast. For my money, Dick & Dom are very much the thinking man’s Ant & Dec, who are themselves, of course, a mainstream Adam & Joe, who are, quite frankly, a superior Cannon & Ball, well known for being a slightly blurry Mitchell & Webb. Dick & Dom are also in their 40s now, just in case you want to feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach by time.

 Dick & Dom - the easiest way to tell them apart is remembering that Dick is always pointing to a stoat, Dom always has a stoat on his head. 

Dick & Dom - the easiest way to tell them apart is remembering that Dick is always pointing to a stoat, Dom always has a stoat on his head. 

And Kris Marshall was here with A Million Ads! Kris is best known as Nick from My Family, DI Humphrey Goodman in Death in Paradise, and the guy in those BT ads that fell in love via a landline.

 Please, Kris, focus! People keep getting murdered on your watch. 

Please, Kris, focus! People keep getting murdered on your watch. 

SYFT              

You can get everything via an app now. Food, a taxi, some money – literally anything. Now, add to that list, a person!

SYFT is an app that finally allows employers and employees to indulge in a long-lasting, mutually beneficial and financially advantageous union. What next?

We made an ad or two for SYFT this month, and you (yes you!) can hear it here!

If You Want To Hire Our Studios – You Gotta Get With Our Friends       

Our studio is not just for VIPs like Dick & Dom, Nick from Love Actually and Barry – Shaun Williamson. It’s also for people who didn’t used to be on the telly. People like you.

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. If you ever need a studio – whether you’re making an advert, recording an audio version of your own obituary, putting together a showreel, or just need a completely silent place to get a bit of peace and quiet for an hour IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK LINDA? FOR JUST AN HOUR TO MYSELF!…then get in touch!

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at: production@maplestreetcreative.co.uk.

Get Your Briefs Out.jpg

Well, there we go.

We made it. January is done.

You can stop now. Get off the treadmill, put down that green drink, stop being honest with friends and family members and just dive headfirst into being your usual, terrible self.

Pick up all your bad habits, rub your face in them, press them into your chest, breathe them in. Welcome back. It’s February now. Time to relax.

Have a great month. 

MSC Christmas Survival Guide

While very exciting, Christmas can also be a stressful time of year. You’ll have to spend a lot of time with your family. You’ll have to spend a lot of time hoovering up pine needles. There will be egg nog.

It’s also a time when arguments are rife. Nothing says Christmas quite like shouting at someone you’re vaguely related to so loud, and for so long, that you pass out. So, as a Christmas gift to you all, Maple Street are going to attempt to settle some of the most common Christmas disagreements, once and for all.

This, is the definite guide to a merry Christmas.

Someone gets you a gift you don’t like. Should you tell them?

Ah, a question as old as Christmas itself. Ever since Mary and Joseph exchanged awkward glances after one of the Wise Men turned up at the stable with some carefully wrapped Myrrh, none of us have ever been sure whether in fact, at Christmas, honesty is the best policy.

Nan has knitted you a jumper. With her gnarled hands. It has taken her the best part of six months. It is enormous. It is a dark, dark green, so dark it’s almost black, and it feels like it’s been made from wire. You’ve unwrapped it, held it up against the unforgiving Christmas morning light and then tried it on. It’s taken the top layer of skin off your arms. Nan is looking at you, her eyes watery, smiling nervously as she asks, ‘Do you like it?’

Christmas Jumpers.jpg

Obviously, obviously, you tell her you love it, you absolute monster. You tell her you love it, you wear it all through Christmas dinner, wait for Nan to leave and then throw it into the bin so hard it explodes.

Christmas is not about you getting things you want; it’s about lying to the people you love. Take it from a boy who received a Blue album for three consecutive Christmases, despite never expressing any interest in the boyband Blue.

 

What is the best Christmas film to watch on Christmas Day, in order to keep the whole gang happy?

Muppets Christmas Carol. Next question.

 

But what about Die Hard? Is Die Hard a Christmas film?

There’s always one.

‘You know, we could watch Die Hard? It is, actually, a Christmas film. Shall we watch Die Hard?

Die Hard.jpg

Let’s end this once and for all. No. Die Hard is not a Christmas film. Die Hard is a film in which Bruce Willis murders, off the top of my head, at least 10 people. Die Hard is a film in which people get shot to death by a bald man in a vest. Die Hard is a film in which we see Alan Rickman fall to his death from the top of a skyscraper. Die Hard is a film with terrorists in it. No film can be both a Christmas film, and a film that features terrorists.

 Die Hard is a film set at Christmas. That doesn’t give you, a 24 year old man (because it’s always them), the right to make your family watch it on Christmas Day. Eyes Wide Shut is also set at Christmas, but you’re not going to watch that with your cousins are you?

 

Are sprouts good?

Now, this is a tough one. Sprouts are, famously, quite a hard sell. They’re small cabbages, and there’s no getting around that. Market them however you like, every single person will see them and think ‘those are small, boiled cabbages’.

But, despite this, sprouts are, in fact, good. Nay, sprouts are great. Sprouts are one of the finest, and most versatile of vegetables. And by versatile, I mean you can chop them up or eat them whole and, if you’re a fancy Dad who has received a Nigella recipe book and an apron as Christmas gifts, you can fry them with chopped bacon.

Sprouts.jpg

Sprouts are an excellent, integral part of the Christmas dinner, and people who argue otherwise are either a) trying, and failing, to be funny, or b) people who struggle with wind. Don’t be either one of those people. Embrace sprouts

 

What do you do with all your wrapping paper?

Gone are the days of the big black bin liner on the living room floor. We’ve got a planet to save.

Global Warming.jpg

Recycle your wrapping paper, otherwise global warming will continue apace, the ice caps will melt  and, eventually, Santa will drown.

 

What is the best Christmas song?

Very, very tough. Arguably the toughest of them all.

Let’s keep this brief. Is it Wham! with Last Christmas? No. That’s a great song, but it’s not the best.

Is it The Pogues ft. Kirsty Maccoll, Fairytale of New York? Ah, the hipster’s choice. Fantastic song, but no, it is not, because Ed Sheeran recently covered it, and it has therefore been, sadly, stripped of all that once made it good.

Is it Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You? Again, close, but no. There are too many notes in that song for anyone to belt it out properly.

Is it John Lennon ft. Yoko Ono, Merry Christmas (War is Over)? Another lovely song, but not the best. It’s Christmas, John, you don’t have to bring war into everything. Also, very generous credit for Yoko Ono there, in my opinion.

Is it Chris de Burgh with a Spaceman Came Travelling? Yes, it is. Drama, intrigue, kind of semi-hidden religion, and WHAT A CHORUS. There’s a Christmas song. That is the best Christmas song. Don’t argue.

Patrick, from Planning, of swan story fame. 

Is ‘The Nativity’ the ‘greatest story ever told’?

It’s a great story. But at the Christmas party last week, Patrick from planning told us a story that ends with a swan eating some pants and sinking in a canal, so no. The Nativity is a close second, but Patrick’s story is, in fact, the greatest ever told.

There, hopefully that will make the Yuletide minefield a little easier to navigate. Have a merry Christmas, one and all, and we’ll see you in the new year.

 

Merry Christmas!

November, November, it's Almost December

Hello, good morrow and welcome to the end of the year.

November has happened. What a month! Starts with a big fire then it’s just downhill to Christmas.

We’ve reached that upsetting no man’s land in which no-one knows whether it’s still too early for Christmas talk/songs/decorations. It divides the nation – Mums have already put the sprouts in to soak, Dads are furious if anyone so much as mentions the existence of tinsel.

Meanwhile cool guys, in their shades and backward caps, are rolling their eyes at the rest of us getting excited, because they’re just above the whole thing, y’know?

The Trump family have nailed their colours to the mast and got the decs up already. Presumably Melania has gone for something traditional, bright, festive and oh good lord…

 Is there a metaphor in this? Almost certainly. Almost certainly. 

Is there a metaphor in this? Almost certainly. Almost certainly. 

That’s an actual picture of the White House Christmas decorations. Merry Christmas! May your days be bleak and your nights filled with terror.  

WWF

And now, a short play…

Kathy:   Bill, I think we need to talk about something.

Bill:        Oh?

Kathy:   I can’t ignore it any longer. We need to discuss this.

Bill:        Discuss what?

Kathy:   You don’t think I’ve noticed? The tonnes and tonnes of buns you’ve been buying, the mountains of dung in the living room, the trumpeting in the night? The GIANT bath?

              We need to talk about the elephant in the room. You’ve adopted him, haven’t you?

Bill:        Yes.

                END

Thank you.

This month we made an ad for WWF (not the Wrestlers) about the plight of elephants and how you can help by adopting one. WWF are a fantastic company to work with, and we love getting to share their message as loudly and as widely as possible. Listen here and remember, if you do something nice for an elephant, they never forget it.

 Look at his smart little haircut. 

Look at his smart little haircut. 

The RADdest of Awards

It goes in this order, normally. Nobel Prize, Oscars, Baftas, RADS. They’re the top four awards you can win if you’re an important thrusting team with big dreams – and we’ve been nominated for one of them.

Our work with EE has seen us nominated in the RAD awards, celebrating creativity and innovation in the recruitment advertising industry.

Sure, we’ll brush off our tuxedos and dresses, we’ll polish our necks and varnish our ankles, we’ll take the (hopefully) free drinks and we’ll eat the canapes but we will not enjoy it, because we’re not in it for awards. We’re in it because we love recruitment.

Hear one ad from the award nominated campaign, here!

Crystal Ski

Who doesn’t love skiing? Pop two planks of wood on my feet and push me off a mountain? Yes please!

But Crystal Ski are a little more sophisticated than that. We made them a few lovely ads this month, and we’ve also put them…here! Have a little listen and then book a holiday with them, you deserve it.

Xero

There are the bits of adulthood we all look forward to. Drinking, staying up late, eventual death. But there is one minor downside. You have to do your own accounts. Not like when you’re a child, and your parents did your accounts for you. Now, you have to make the numbers add up, you have figure out complex tax codes, you have to keep all your receipts on a spike for some reason.

Well, worry no more! Xero makes your accounts easy and fun(ish).

We made a couple of ads for accounting software company Xero, and they sound lovely. They were voiced by the lovely Elis James: Welshman, comedian and Carmarthenshire’s 5th tallest commercial radio DJ.

 FACT: Elis James also owns a Dutch Barge he calls 'Smooth Linda'

FACT: Elis James also owns a Dutch Barge he calls 'Smooth Linda'

That’s what he looks like, this is what they sound like.

And speaking of celebrities…

Some…More…Celebs…

Oh it’s been an exciting month for celebrities. I mean, normally I try to be cool and aloof about the whole thing but then on Tuesday this happened…

 Please, Guy, hold me like a newborn.

Please, Guy, hold me like a newborn.

Guy Garvey came to broadcast from our studios for two hours and I am now officially dead. I died the second he came through the door and have remained dead ever since. There was a funeral, I was cremated, my earthly body is now ash and my ghost is writing this. I am dead.

Guy was here with Polydor Records to promote the new Elbow Best Of, and was as lovely as you’d imagine. He is the only guest we’ve ever had who made his own tea because he didn’t want to make a fuss. He is beautiful, he is an angel, and he hath slain me.

Oh yeah and Anton du Beke was here too, that was fine.

 100% dapper, 100% of the time

100% dapper, 100% of the time

I’m JOKING, of course, he was a DELIGHT. He lit up the room and danced with our office manager Debra. Footwork was a little lazy and I would’ve liked to see a lift, but not bad. 6 out of 10.

If You Want To Hire Our Studios – You Gotta Get With Our Friends       

Our studio is not just for VIPs like the Queen, Hulk Hogan and former Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez. It’s also for less important people, like you!

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. If you ever need a studio – whether you’re making an advert, recording an audio version of your own obituary, putting together a showreel, or just need a completely silent place to get a bit of peace and quiet for an hour IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK KAREN? FOR JUST AN HOUR TO MYSELF!…then get in touch!

Get Your Briefs Out

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at production@maplestreetstudios.co.uk.

And that is all for November.

I hope all your Christmas shopping is going well, and you’re not leaving it to the last minute like last year, you silly thing.

Don’t worry, I’m not expecting you to get me anything.

Seriously, you really don’t have to send me anything, I do this for the joy of it.

I’m usually a medium, started taking a large more recently.

Don’t get me anything.  

We’ll probably be in touch closer to Christmas with a funny, probably blasphemous, piece of Christmas content – but if not, have a wonderful Yule and an excellent new year.

Peace and Christmas love.

I Come from the Future...

Back in 2000, Michael Hill, Tony Moorey, Ali Rusted and I worked together to launch the new DAB station ‘BBC 5Live SportsPlus’ - now BBC 5Live Sports Extra. The total listening audience was, at a rough guess, around 4*.

We were blazing a trail, but with a bloody long run-up. We’d punt out for texts, not because we had a hot topic to discuss, but in the same way that you might nervously shout into a newly discovered cave - to find out whether there was anybody there.

Around that time, I would amuse myself in John Lewis or Curry's and asking the Sales Assistant whether they had any ‘digital radios’.

AAIAAQDGAAAAAQAAAAAAAAoIAAAAJGIzOTc1MDQ5LTE3YzEtNDUwNS1hMGM1LThkMjliYmI0N2E1Yg.jpg

Inevitably, the confused person would ask me to repeat the question, think for a moment (Curry’s staff take a little longer over that) and then point me in the direction of a standard AM/FM radio, but with a digital display. Oh how I laughed. Internally.

I would then give a self-satisfied grin, like a massively patronising Marty McFly, in the knowledge that I was already living in a future that they were still too naive (or insufficiently well trained) to see. I'd then say ‘Don’t worry about it’ and walk away. 

So today in John Lewis, I took this photo. Still a bit tragic, admittedly, but done in the spirit of a happy enthusiast rather than a smug knob.

The audio & speaker department has more shoppers and floor space than TVs and tablets put together. There’s an enormous range of affordable (albeit garishly coloured) DAB radios. Alexa and Sonos are the sexiest tech brands in the store. As for headphones, people are spending incredible (and often, lets be honest, acoustically unjustified) cash.

We’ve won the future. Listening to stuff is, and always will be, wonderful. It’s fun to spend good money on, and a great gift. On Christmas morning, there’ll be more people with more ways of listening than ever before. 

As audio producers, our job is to continually seize the moment and make sure the content is as exciting, innovative and extraordinary as the technology. And, happily, we are. We’re creating work, dreaming up approaches and developing ideas that give me the same feeling I had back in 2000. Brilliant, hugely ambitious podcast concepts, dynamic creative and voice interaction techniques that will again change how everyone thinks about, and uses, audio - listeners, platforms and advertisers.

Once again, I know what’s coming. I love it, and I can’t wait for everyone else to love it too. I just promise not to be quite such a knob about it this time.

*Now 1.2 Million.

Is that John Lewis kid...OK?

Hello there!

So, let’s cut to the chase – you’ve seen the new John Lewis ad, right?

If you haven’t, watch it here, right now:

As always, it’s raised questions.

Questions like... is it as good as last year’s?

And, more crucially, what is that thing?

Why does it have one solo testicle for a nose?

Where is the other testicle?

All important questions.

But we thought that the parents in that ad might also need to ask themselves a question or two. Namely – are we terrible parents?

To which the answer would be yes.

Anyway, long story short – we made this:

Merry Christmas!

Radio? Seriously?

By our Creative Director, Neil Cowling.

"Radio? Seriously? I hear press is the next big thing too!"

LinkedIn provides many fascinating insights into what others think of what you do. This particular comment was made by a man who works in ‘paid search’ - an industry that didn’t exist 20 years ago, and therefore provides him with the self-aggrandising feeling that a) he works at the cutting edge of something, and b) any other media that’s been around for longer must be dying.

I’m a big fan of paid search. It’s brought much great content my way. It’s an effective and precise method for finding what I want.

I’m also a big fan of cutlery. It’s brought much great food my way. It’s an effective and precise method for putting it into my mouth.

However, my emotional connection is still very much with the content/food, rather than the search/cutlery. This fact doesn’t seem to have changed, even when I was introduced to the phenomenal modern concept of the ‘Spork’.

 Not technically a Spork, I don't think, but it serves a purpose by illustrating the idea and breaking up the text so, you know, it'll do. 

Not technically a Spork, I don't think, but it serves a purpose by illustrating the idea and breaking up the text so, you know, it'll do. 

Great radio advertising creates messages that fit perfectly with the food, not the fork. Get the perfect tone, voice, and script, place it in the right show or daypart, and you can leverage the listener’s profound love of their favourite radio station for your brand. 

So, news for you, my LinkedIn contact of a contact. Radio’s not the next big thing. It’s the thing. It’s humour, it’s news, it’s music, it’s live, it’s changing, and it’s loved by a non-diminishing 90% of population. Hooking into that is a lot of fun.

That won’t change in the next ten years.

But paid search will. It will become screenless, as you use your voice to search and your ears to gather the information from your Amazon Echo or Google Home.

If only there was a blueprint for a method of delivering information in a perfectly judged / entertaining / informative manner using audio alone.

Oh, perhaps radio is the next big thing after all.

We've Done Radio

By our Creative Director Neil Cowling. 

Late night. Marketing industry event. A friend introduces me to her colleague - a Marketing Manager.

Friend: “Hey – this is Neil. He makes radio ads.”

Friend’s colleague: “We’ve done radio.”

Walks away.

Ah. Right.

End of conversation.

 This guy is so fed up of people not understanding the power of radio he's turned into stone. 

This guy is so fed up of people not understanding the power of radio he's turned into stone. 

You’ve "done radio" huh? I assume you mean it didn’t work for you, so you won't be doing it again. Let me guess:

The brand is too visual? Crap. No decent brand is too visual. If it’s got any sort of emotional value or connection with its consumer, that connection can be expressed in words and sound. What you mean is that you or your creative agency is too visually focused, and not capable of cracking a brief without drawing something. Close your eyes and think again. Or give me 24 hours to prove it.

The creative wasn’t good enough? Pay decent money then. If you’ve booked £100,000 of airtime, don’t get the creative bundled in for free (it’s not really free), or quibble about paying a few hundred/thousand quid extra to get it right. Use specialists who value their work properly. Otherwise, just burn that £100,000, open the window and shout at passers-by.

Radio’s not measurable enough? Oh dear, do you love celebrating getting 0.69% click through rate on your digital banner rather than your standard 0.63%? No, you won’t get that with radio. Sorry. How about a direct response campaign with a text-response mechanism? Running an offer in a test area and seeing how quickly it sells out? Or even, blow me, consistently building your brand over the medium term with brilliant, memorable audio creative and a single-minded, perfectly written message.

No-one listens to radio any more? Don’t get me started. Google Radiocentre and read the stats.

Would you give up on digital if it didn't work first time? No.

So do radio again. Just do it better.

I would have said all this at the time, of course. But he’d already started talking to someone else, and I didn’t think quickly enough. I was also a bit pissed. Next time I’ll do it better.

Boo! That's Right...it's SHOCKtober!

Now we’re talking!

cat

October - one fine mother-humpin’ month. The sky is grey, the leaves are finally dead (those bastards) and everyone, everywhere, is scared. Terrified. Because October is not only the tenth month of the year – it’s also every ghost’s birthday!

And I’m afraid, as is tradition, the Maple Street Creative October Newsletter will offer no refuge – it is, once again, very haunted. Keep your eyes peeled.

You should already have your Hallowe’en costume sorted, of course, BUT if you are at a loss, here are a couple of ideas that you can do at low cost and with minimal materials, to wow the pants off any party –

  • Fat Skeleton – Go naked, but paint your body white.
  • The Concept of Death – tell everyone you’ll be there, but don’t tell them when. Arrive unexpectedly at some point, immediately switch off all the lights and make everyone leave.
  • Business Ghost – Cut two holes in a white sheet and pop it over your head, wear a tie over the top. Boom. Business Ghost.
  • The Invisible Man – Don’t go, say you did. 

 

PROMAX Awards – Abomo-Nomination

So, yes, no need to boast, but we, along with our sister company Fresh Air, have been nominated for a PROMAX Award, and obviously we’re very proud, yes yes, thank you thank you. But more importantly…would it be appropriate to go to the awards dressed as a Business Ghost? Obviously going as a normal ghost to a formal, black tie event would be incredibly disrespectful…but going as a business ghost…in a dickie bow…that’s fine, right?

We’re very proud of this nomination, the PROMAX Awards are a big deal and we’ll be rubbing shoulders with some very exciting people. Our nomination is for our work on the ITV Promo for The Level,

 

Haunted Section

Uh oh.

pumpkin

Yes, I’m afraid you guessed it. This section is entirely haunted. By this particularly frightening pumpkin.

Sorry.

 

john

The Second Annual Maple Street Comedy (FRIGHT) Night…

…is over. Sorry. You have now missed it. But it was great!

John Robins finally got to the bottom of the tricky issue of Internal Comms, Heidi Regan revealed her boxset based system for re-educating Hitler, and Tom Ward played us the sexiest noise Prince ever made. And there were lots of other bits, it wasn’t just that.

It was a great laugh, so, what d’you reckon – same time next year? 

 

 

MQ Mental Health

mq

MQ Mental Health are a little team of legends trying to change the way mental health is treated and understood in this country. Through scientific research, they’re making big old strides and it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.

We made their radio ads, and we like them a lot. Have a wee listen here.

 

scream

Second Haunted Section

This section is brought to you by Ghosts!

Whether you’re looking to decrease the price of a property you’re interested in, spice up a spooky party, or you simply live alone and could do with the company – ghosts are the answer to all your problems!

Rent a ghost, today!

(Look, we’ve got to fund this Newsletter somehow. It was only a matter of time before we sold advertising space to the undead, you know that.) 

 

 

 

 

24 Hours to Catch a Killer with Trevor McDonald

It sounds like a dream you had, sure – but it’s not. It’s a breath taking new ITV documentary with unparalleled access to the Police in the immediate aftermath of a murder.

We produced the promo for the show, which you can hear here – and it was voiced by Big Trev himself! Cue a surprising amount of swooning around the office.

trevor

 

They Come at Night       

They roam our hallways. They creep in beneath our floorboards. On certain nights, in certain lights, you can hear them, calling out, even now, dying to be heard…

Who are they?

Celebrities…

We get famous people in here – both living and (possibly) dead. Want to follow in their ghostly wake? Then you, like them, could use our studios! From adverts, to podcasts to, who knows, your own (posthumous) ground-breaking rap album – record in top class facilities with top class producers and a fully working fridge.

 

And that is all for October…

 

...Sorry, Another Haunted Section

Ah. Sorry, I really am. I thought that was the end. But this is another haunted section – and possibly the scariest of them all.

Yes, that’s right.

Bone People.

I’m sorry to scare you.

Enjoy your Hallowe’en, stay safe, and remember, only call your local Ghostbusters in the event of a ghost busting emergency. Hallowe’en is their busiest night of the year. For non-urgent issues, call Scarestoppers or visit your local Ghostbusting Station.

Stay spooky, gang!

skeles

Remember, Remember also Rhymes with September

September is over, we’re all back at school, summer is but a long forgotten dream. Ah, those heady days, when it was too hot and yet also rained heavily almost all of the time. Soon you won’t be able to go outside without a jumper because you’ll die.

Let’s face it; September is one of the bad months. Good riddance. No wonder that guy from Green Day sleeps through it every year. What good comes in September? A cursory glance at the national days we’ve had in September makes for grim viewing.

September 2nd – Victory Over Japan Day – That’ll be in America then. Seems unnecessary to rub it in like that. You don’t have to name who you beat. Just call it Victory Day. Or y’know, stop mentioning it. That’s more polite.

September 19th – International Talk Like a Pirate Day ­– an absolute bull***t day for children. A day that devalues the whole concept of ‘National Days’. A day for virgins.

September 28th - World Rabies Day – Well, that one’s a curveball. And it’s today. Hope you’re celebrating, guys, by…I dunno. Staying clear of foamy dogs?

Anyway, point proven. September sucks. Here’s how we spent this terrible month.

Historic England

Did you know, in the past, they didn’t have podcasts? I know, right? Mad! If they wanted entertainment on the way to work they had to trick a crow into dancing for them. That was literally all they had, back there in the past.

Fortunately, we now have podcasts – and, soon, we’ll have one more. Our sisters at Fresh Air are producing a fantastic new podcast in partnership with Historic England.

It’s a chance to explore England’s history through its most spectacular landmarks – it’s a huge project that will be fantastic when it’s ready. There’s a trailer here. In the meantime, I’d recommend not listening to anything else, just because.

Minoli Tiles

Tiles? Where would be without them? Well, firstly, we’d all have very wet carpets in our bathrooms. Secondly, we wouldn’t have anything to go out on. And thirdly, Scrabble would be a challenge.

We need tiles. And if you’re going to get tiles, you might as well get quality tiles. And if you’re going to get quality tiles, there’s only one place to go. Minoli Tiles. Of course. Here’s a nice bit of creative we did for Minoli Tiles.

Bath Spa University

Another month, another university. I know last month we were all ‘You should go to Staffordshire University’ but, friends, we were mistaken. You should actually go to Bath Spa University. That’s where it’s at!

You love a bath! You love a spa! And you need to go to university, because how else are you going to spend that random 30 grand you’ve got lying around? 

If that’s not enough, listen to this. Advert. We made. For Bath Spa Uni.

Sky Store

Here at Maple Street, we’re all about helping up and comers. Start-ups, small businesses – anyone who could do with a helping hand to get on their way in the business world. And it’s that kind of charitable spirit that led us to work with Sky, this month, on their latest Sky Store ad.

If you’ve not heard of Sky, they’re a small telecommunications company and Sky Store is a, like…a sort of online video shop, if that makes any sense? It’s in your TV, and it has, I assume, a few video cartridges already installed, and then you can choose the one you want to watch without having to get it out of the box and put it in the slot. Will it catch on? No, probably not. But we did our best. Listen here.

Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest…

We’ve got some great studios here for hiring – and sometimes those studios are hired by people you’ll have seen on telly.

They come in and they’re nice, and they sort of act like they’re like us. But deep down they’re not. They’re better than us. Wealthier, healthier, more attractive. Leading more meaningful lives. Getting up earlier. Running more. And working harder. They are better than us, and they rub it in our faces because they know it hurts.

We hate them.

This month we’ve been lucky enough to hate loads of great people, thanks to Giovanna Fletcher and Pixiu, who are recording Giovanna’s podcast Happy Mum, Happy Baby. Giovanna is an accomplished actor, writer, and vlogger – and is also married to at least one member of McFly. She keeps bringing in notable mums and interviewing them. Notable mums thus far include Fearne Cotton, Jo Elvin and two of the mums from the Saturdays. It’s a great podcast, well worth a listen. You can find it here.

She’s not had my Mum on yet though, which feels like a snub. My mum is lovely. Don’t get why Giovanna hates her so much.

We Need Good People. Hire Our Studio. Please.

Want to follow in the footsteps of Giovanna Fletcher, Fearne Cotton and (potentially) my mum? Then you, like them, could use our studios! And who knows, maybe you’ll appear here in this very newsletter! From adverts, to podcasts to, who knows, your own ground-breaking rap fusion album – record in top class facilities with top class producers and a fully working fridge.

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

 Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at: production@maplestreetcreative.co.uk.

Well, we’ve got there in the end

This month, I’ll be honest, it’s felt like a struggle to write this. I’m sure it’s been quite a difficult read for you too.

It’s because, you know…September is dull. It’s just such a dull month. And yet it has the audacity to have more letters in it than any other month. Arrogant.

I honestly couldn’t hate September more. Pointless, pointless month.

Let’s meet up again in October. Yes, October – now there’s a month! It’s got Hallowe’en, with its witch hats and pumpkins and honestly ludicrous apostrophe placement. And also National Cat Day on the 29th. What a great month.

See you then.

Au-gust Another Newsletter

Hello old friends.

August has come and gone in the blink of an eye – and the world looks fine, doesn’t it? I mean, sure there’s a storm of unprecedented size raging on America’s southern coast, devastating mass floods in India and Bangladesh, Neo Nazis are marching again, North Korea float missiles over Japan willy-nilly now and the sun literally disappeared for a small amount of time during August, but…y’know, otherwise a good month, no? There was a bank holiday!

Fortunately, here in the safety of our purpose built underground bunker, the Maple Street team have stocked up on clean water and tinned goods so that, when the inevitable nuclear winter/biblical crisis hits, we’ll be able to keep making podcasts and 30 second adverts about it. Need to put out a catchy call for survivors amongst the wreckage? Want a funny podcast to soo the the wrath of N’Bahsulu, the vengeful Sun God that now rules us all? We’re your guys!

But until that happens, it’s business as usual. And business is goooood…

 

Maple Street Comedy Night 2017 – September 28th

Do you remember our comedy night last year? It was fun, right? We all had a laugh and some drinks. Well FORGET IT. Compared to this year’s comedy night, last year’s comedy night will look like a funeral! More drinks! More jokes! Slightly fewer crisps, actually, than last year – we’re on a budget. THREE AWARD WINNING COMEDIANS! And endless, ceaseless, seizure-like laughter.

Don’t want to build it up too much, though. It’ll be fun. Invites will be sent out soon with the full, very exciting line-up.

 

Victoria on ITV

Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch in English history, until our current Queen came along and absolutely smashed it – so it’s no surprise we need more than one TV series to get through her story.

Victoria returned to ITV last week with more wacky tales of the Widow of Windsor (sorry, bit of a spoiler). What kind of scrapes will she get into this series? Well, specifically, she’ll be balancing her role as Queen with her new role as a mother and wife – and also dealing with famine and unrest, so that’s less cheery.

Fortunately, you already know all this because you’ve heard the radio adverts we made for ITV advertising Victoria’s return. Or, if you haven’t, you now can – right here!

 

TV Licensing

Kids, now, listen. University is an exciting time, sure – and if you’re jetting off there in September, I wish you all the luck. You’ll have a great time. And, naturally, you’ll want to experiment. To try new things, to break the rules, to discover your own boundaries.

Drugs? Fine! Sex? Go for it! Not paying your TV Licensing? Now that’s where you lose me. Always, always pay your TV license. That’s (kind of) the message behind our new TV licensing campaign – which you can hear, here. They’re going out across Radios 1 & 2, encouraging students and parents to get their TV licence at university.

 

Staffordshire University

Speaking of university, if you’re going to go anywhere, you might as well go to Staffordshire University. Why? Because we made an advert for them, and if you’re not going to base your major life decisions on our client list then what are you even doing here?

Here’s the ad we made – listen to it, then enrol. Immediately.

 

And Now, Some Happy News…

Nicki Marinovic is dead.

Ok, that doesn’t sound like good news. But it is. Because she’s been reborn as Nicki Fantei.

Essentially, what I’m saying here in the worst way possible, is that our Senior Creative, Nicki, just got married! IN ITALY! Ahhhhhh!

Here she is with her new husband, literally glowing. We’re very happy for her and you should be too, you monster.

 

And that is the end of this month’s newsletter.

Honestly, guys, it’s been a blast. May you all have safe and happy Septembers – and let’s catch up again in, say, a month’s time? Does that work for you?

In the meantime I’ll be on the e-mails in case you urgently need someone to badly explain something to you.

The New Voice Booth Could Be Yours!

Prepare the trumpets! Ready the canons! String up bunting from the light fittings! Maple Street have an announcement!

booth

WE’VE GOT A NEW VOICE BOOTH!

…yeah! Woo. It’s…I dunno…I felt like this would be more of a moment, you know? Doesn’t look that exciting written down.

But it is! We’re championing podcasters and independent voice overs and that’s exactly what this new voice booth is for. It’s entirely self-operated, so go-getting audiophiles can use it to get started. 

OK, how about this…

YOU – YES YOU!! – CAN BECOME PART OF AN EXCLUSIVE LIST OF OUR MATES, ENTITLING YOU TO SPECIAL OFFERS ON OUR STATE OF THE ART BRAND NEW BOOTH.

And all you have to do is click the red button. The RED BUTTON. Like with TV. Press the red button now.

It basically means studio quality sound, for a discount price – and even further discounts if you join our list.

We’re currently in guinea pig mode – so do not hesitate to let us know if you’re a guinea pig, or would like to be one.

booth 2

So if you’re an indie podcaster or a nomadic voiceover artist, press the red button, to find out more and get on the god damn list godammit!

Our Studios are Great - We're Not Ju-lying

It’s July – which means we’re now more than halfway through the year. In other words, time to check up on those New Year’s resolutions! Have you kept up with…oh. None of them? I mean, yes, it has been a tough year but you seemed so determined to…right, OK, I’ll stop asking. Yes I would like a Twix.

July has been all about two things – BBC pay and Love Island. Don’t argue. They are the only two things you’ve been talking about and you know it.

We’ve already covered the BBC pay scandal – we decided to follow suit and reveal our own salaries, which you can see here. But, without making any comment or moral judgement, it’s worth mentioning the fact that Alan Shearer earns more than Fiona Bruce.

The sad news, of course, is that Love Island is over. Where will you get your gossip for the rest of the summer? Here’s a few options –

1)      Hide under a table in a McDonalds on a Saturday night.

2)      Round up 12 exceptionally beautiful and stupid people using a series of elaborate traps and maroon them on a desert island. Hide in a tree and watch the drama unfold.

3)      Ring your Mother, for once.

 

Here is what we did in July.

 

Hummingbird Bakery

Hummingbirds are birds from the Americas that constitute the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans

hummingbird

Yes, maybe I have just copied and pasted the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page for Hummingbirds. So what? It’s OK to learn something every now and again.

We made some ads for Hummingbird Bakery, a cake shop run entirely by Hummingbirds. Have a listen.

 

eReceptionist

What do you do if, say, you’re a small business owner who is suddenly forced to be on holiday for, let’s say, 12 weeks in Magaluf in a villa for a reality TV show? Who will look after your small business?

What I’m saying is let’s hope Chris from Love Island has eReceptionist, so that his calls still get professionally answered while he’s grafting away. We made some new eReceptionist ads, by the way. Have a listen to them here.

 

It’s a New Dawn, it’s a New Day, it’s a New Voice Booth

…for us. And we’re feeeeeeeeling tired.

voicebooth

We’ve got a brand new voice booth. It’s been gradually installed over the last two weeks and it’s now fully operational, ready for you to breathe, speak and scream in.

It’s self-operated, which means even you can do it. As well as doubling our studio capacity, it’s designed as a hub for indie podcasters and voice overs. It’s currently in guinea pig stage – so there’s lots of sawdust on the floor – but if you fancied trying out the new booth, give us a shout!

 

 

(Also a New Website)

Sorry there’s so much to update you on! We’ve revamped our website!

I could tell you all about it – OR you guys could all go look at it and save me some time. Go on…

I’ll wait…

Thanks. Nice, isn’t it?

 

Simon & Schuster

henry

Do you remember the Tudors? From school? Lovely family, bit of strife, couple of inheritance squabbles – all got sorted out in the end though, right? No. Not right. Wrong, in fact. It all got very dramatic. And now you can read a book about it.

Philippa Gregory’s new novel ‘The Last Tudor’ is out now, in Tesco of all places – and here’s an ad we made to advertise that fact.

 

Beef, Dairy and Gail Porter

Earlier this month, Good Broadcast went into their Celebrity cupboard and whipped out Gail Porter. She came into our studios to talk about school uniform and was as lovely a ball of energy as you would expect. We’d have her back any time.

Then, a little while later, award winning podcaster Ben Partridge was one of the first to try out our fancy new voice booth. He recorded the latest episode of ‘The Beef and Dairy Network’ and wore some of the best shorts we’ve ever seen.

gail

We Need Good People. Hire Our Studio. Please.

Want to follow in the footsteps of Gail Porter, Roger Daltrey and Hugh Bonneville? Then you, like them, could use our studios! And who knows, maybe you’ll appear here in this very newsletter! From adverts, to podcasts to, who knows, your own ground-breaking rap fusion album – record in top class facilities with top class producers and a fully working fridge.

 

And that was July.

July.

JULY.

How is July already over?! What…how? HOW? Honestly, I wake up and a month has passed. It’s 2017! The millennium was 17 years ago! Princess Diana has been dead for 20 years! Time is bounding away from me in huge, arcing leaps towards the horizon. Time to start thinking about Christmas, I guess. Time to start considering a pension plan, most likely. Time to start planning my funeral, I suppose. We are all going to die.

I’m sorry. Love Island ending has really hit me hard.

See you in a month!

Maple Street Salary Reveal

After the BBC made the decision to reveal the salaries of its top earners, it has become clear that there is an appetite amongst the general public for greater transparency from their media and content providers.

In light of this, Maple Street have opted to follow suit and reveal how much we earn, in the hopes of building greater trust between ourselves and our clients.

All salaries are correct at the time of publishing

neil

Creative Director - Neil Cowling

Neil earns a salary of £1.5 million, though he insists on being paid exclusively in Francs, the extinct French currency, so his actual take home pay, after tax, is £0.

sara

Head of Production - Sara Hashem

Sara works on the basis that we keep her identity secret and continue to aid her flight from justice.

nic

Senior Creative -Nicki Marinovic

Nicki is in fact the ghost of a small Serbian child, and earns revenge rather than money.

kat

Content Producer - Katherine Kerr

Katherine works on a day rate – meaning she is paid in days. For every week she works, we extend her life by a day. Kat is 134 and will never die.

julia

New Business Manager - Julia Vethakkan

As our newest recruit, Julia is still on probation and is therefore is not paid an actual salary – we simply provide her with food, water and a small piece of tarpaulin she can use as shelter during rainy nights.

spalds

Creative Writer - Rich Spalding

Rich earns £nowherenearenough – his salary is surprisingly low, considering his talent, his good looks and the amount of joy he brings us on a day to day basis, both personally and professionally. He is well overdue a pay-rise and is absolutely not using this as a passive aggressive method of asking for one. But do please get #getrichapayrise trending. Thanks.

lou

Executive Producer - Louise Mulroy

Louise shits gold and has no need for actual money.

laura

Assistant Content Producer - Laura Gallop

Laura is paid in weapons.

There are two major conclusions to take from this –

As at the BBC, there is a clear and present equality issue at Maple Street. 75% of our top earning staff are women, only 25% men. It’s a problem we are very proud to have and are doing absolutely nothing to rectify.

None of us actually take home a penny – so please, please keep doing business with us. Our families are very hungry.

That is all. Thank you.  

Everything JUNE-eed to Know…

Oh. Hi…

politics

Didn’t see you there.

How’ve you been? Yeah, it has been a while. How am I? Oh, you know, same old same old. Yeah, still writing the newsletter. Yes it is very fulfilling, thank you.

Anyway, best get on with this.

What a month it’s been, dear readers. At the start of June, against all the odds, we found a way to make our country even less stable. An honestly remarkable achievement in the current climate, and one that raises the stakes for any other nation hoping to play at destabilisation in the coming weeks. Your move, America.

We’ve put together a handy (read: silly) guide to politics that you can hear, here.

But anyway, look at me blabbering on. How have you been?

Great. We should catch up properly sometime. I never stopped loving you.

 

This was our June.

 

23 & Me

Because you can never be sure, can you. OK, people kept telling you she ‘looks just like you’, but you didn’t see it. I mean, how could you? She was a baby, she looked like every baby. Like a faraway Ian Hislop. And sure, yes, the timings add up, and she takes after you. But there’s still that doubt…that little niggle of uncertainty late at night. Because she’s ginger and so is the milkman.

What I’m saying is, for Father’s Day, why not get your dad a DNA test? That was (sort of, but not really) the message behind our campaign for 23 & Me. These ads delve into the fascinating world of genetics. We love these ads. Have a listen!

 

Honestly, We Hate to Boast, We Really Do, But…

…bloody constant flow of celebs this month. I feel like I’ve been knocked out in a cartoon - because I’m seeing stars. I feel like an astrologer, because I’m – well, same joke that, no need to repeat it. Basically, it’s been a star studded month. I feel like an astronaut because I’m always surrounded by – yeah, you get it.

 HEAD OF PROD Sara and NEW hubby mart

HEAD OF PROD Sara and NEW hubby mart

We had the genuine honour of producing radio commercials for the Red Cross this month. Their appeal for support in the wake of the recent tragedies in Manchester and London were voiced by Martin Freeman, and ran across Bauer and Wireless Group stations.

For the last few weeks we’ve been hosting radio royalty. Kyle Sandilands (about two-thirds of KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie-O), has been coming into our studios, under the cover of darkness, and broadcasting to the whole of Australia - every evening! Once voted Australia’s most-hated celebrity (though recently beaten to the top spot by Rolf Harris…genuinely), Kyle’s shows have been typically raucous and non-PC. The biggest challenge was turning him upside down so he felt at home while broadcasting, but we managed it with a series of winches and pulleys, and it was very worth it.

 

ITV

Sorry gang, but the celeb fest boast-a-thon isn’t over yet! Not only did we produce the commercials for ITV’s Ascot coverage, we had them voiced by none other than the Captain of the Titanic! And he didn’t propel us all to an icy grave!

Also known as Bernard Hill (or the King of Rohan from Lord of the Rings if you’re a nerd), he did a typically spell-binding turn and raised the commercial a whole new level. Have a listen to him here!

 

A Spokesman Said

You’ve gotta fight…DUN-DUN…for your rights…DUN-DUN-DUN…to consume energy and insure your house/car at a fair price.

It’s not as catchy as the Beastie Boys original, but there’s a certain ring. We’ve made a couple of ads for A Spokesman Said who, despite their baffling company name, are a price comparison website that “fight for consumer rights”. We took that very literally, and made a number of ads for them themed around physical violence (kind of). Have a listen here. 

 

We Need Good People. Hire Our Studio. Please.

Want to follow in the footsteps of Bernard Hill, Roger Daltrey and Hugh Bonneville? Then you, like them, could use our studios! And who knows, maybe you’ll appear here in this very newsletter! From adverts, to podcasts to, who knows, your own ground-breaking rap fusion album – record in top class facilities with top class producers and a fully working fridge.

 

gybo

 

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at 

production@maplestreetcreative.co.uk.

 

And that’s what we’ve been up to in June.

Why not let us know what you’ve been doing with your month? We’d love to read it! (Please note that due to the high volume of fan mail we receive we will be unable to read or reply to individual correspondences, though they are, of course, appreciated).

And all that’s left is for me to thank everyone who made this possible. Thank you to my mother for always believing in me, my friends and family for their constant support and belief. And last, but not least, thanks to you, dear reader. My still point in a turning world. My only true friend.

This has all gone to my head.

 

Goodbye.