the Virtual

Without compromising on the experience

Unusual times call for creative solutions

During the pandemic, the bond between M&P and the Poundland team became stronger than ever. We collaborated on two virtual conferences, both of which went on to win industry awards. Our brief was to engage with a remote audience in the same way as a live event without compromising on the audience experience. Our concept was to produce two TV shows in which serious content could be delivered in bite-size segments that were informative, engaging, and above all entertaining.

Based on popular daytime and evening chat shows, Good Morning Poundland & Deaz and The Early Early Show with Barry Williams were born. For the first, we set up a professional broadcast suite in the business boardroom at Poundland HQ and for the second, the Poundland team came to our COVID-safe Virtual Studio to record the show content. For each show, we created a bespoke graphics package complete with opening title sequences, stings, transitions, and lower thirds.

The executive board has an up-for-anything attitude and an incredible sense of fun which shone through during the recordings. With all four M&P departments working closely together with the client, the results were spectacular.

The uncertainty of 2020 required an agile response to an ever-changing situation and once concepts were agreed upon, scripts were written, ideas for creative delivery started to take shape, hosts were booked, sets designed, and technical solutions were all arranged in a matter of days. Both projects were an enormous undertaking and not without challenges but due to the trusting nature of our collaborative client/agency relationship, we delivered within two weeks. Both M&P and Poundland teams are collectively incredibly proud of our creative ambitions and what we achieved in such a short space of time. The experience has only deepened our understanding of the brand and strengthened the bond between us.

Good Morning Poundland & Dealz

In the Poundland business boardroom, we set up a portable AV mixing desk, studio lighting, cameras, and stage sets, including satellites for cutaway content. Taking the place of Phil and Holly, we hired celebrity co-host, Anthea Turner to support Retail Director, Austin Cooke in hosting the show.

We recreated the familiar chat show environment with big comfy sofas, from which our anchors could interview guests, and a floor-to-ceiling, 6-meter-wide LED screen provided multiple studio backdrops.

The programme included finance updates from the ‘News Desk’, a Pep&Co fashion segment, and recipes for business success from MD, Barry Williams cooking up a storm in the kitchen. With TV picks and cutaways to roaming reporters and supporting video content, the 2-hour show was a perfect mix of important business updates, engaging delivery, entertainment, and a good pinch of Poundland personality.

A total of eighteen videos filmed prior to the recording day were added in post-production to support the ‘live’ programme which was broadcast multiple times to ensure everyone had the chance to view. The executive team flawlessly delivered their segments and the show was brilliantly received by colleagues.

The Early Early Show

Recorded at Meet & Potato’s purpose-built video production studio in Manchester and hosted by charismatic Poundland MD, Barry Williams, this show took inspiration from The Late Late Show with James Corden. From behind a replica of the iconic TV desk, Barry welcomed a variety of guests to the sofa for a relaxed and informal chat, with remote guests from across the UK joining the live conversation via video link.

Alongside the main stage set, we faithfully recreated the famous satellite stage for the studio band both with LED screen backgrounds and custom lighting. All members of the band were Poundland & Dealz store managers who brought a personal touch to the interview by asking questions on behalf of the audience. The content centred on people, recognizing and developing colleagues, brand culture, well-being, and community.

The aim was to wow the audience with a high-quality professional TV production that showcased leadership principles, entertained the audience, and maintained engagement levels throughout. Completely aligned with the group strategy of being customer-focused, tech-enabled, and people-led, this show was designed to be inclusive, accessible, entertaining, and fun for the entire Poundland & Dealz colleague base.

The audience reaction

The response to both shows was phenomenal, with many taking to LinkedIn to express their sheer admiration for the effort the company had made to ensure that the annual conference did not disappoint, despite teams not being able to meet in person.

After such a positive experience, Poundland & Dealz have gone on to embrace virtual communications post-pandemic. There’s nothing quite like a live in-person event but with a creative approach to video content, we have proven you don’t have to compromise on the audience experience. We continue to support the brand with engaging video content for conferences, but we also produce videos that bring to life the brand culture for recruitment, onboarding, and training purposes.

WOW! What a landing this whole thing has had. You absolutely pulled it out of the bag. You totally nailed it…. We’d like to say thank you for your commitment, the great choice of presenter, the broadcast quality, the speedy turnaround, and your responsiveness. You’ve been legends. Thanks so much again!

Austin Cooke, Managing Director