Frozen Indigo Angel

Radio 1‘s online efforts have always been excellent. They try lots of different things and have a feature set that, quite rightly, the rest of the radio industry are very jealous of.

At the same time Scott Mills presents a very well produced show that probably has more planning than any other show on UK radio. They do an excellent job of storylining a load of their features so they develop over a couple of weeks or so. It’s clever because there’s a constant series of peaks that keep the audience interested and engaged. With Scott as Number 1 Dep for Chris Moyles, they’re also very good at rolling the storyline so it brings their drivetime to audience to breakfast and their breakfast audience to drivetime. It’s a very clever hours building exercise, which is undoubtedly successful. They’re also not afraid of re-developing ideas that have been successful on other stations, cough, Ryan Seacrest.

The latest campaign is giving a very non-traditional online viral approach spin to an old radio idea – that of somone getting fired unfairly and the audience then helping to solve the problem.

The execution is still in its early days, but the basic premise is that Paul Denchfiled is a freelance video producer who’s been sacked for inserting random words – Frozen Indigo Angel – into Scott’s video podcasts. He, of course, says this isn’t the case and uses a blog, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr to proclaim his innocence. The strange words then start appearing in other places, like on Colin Murray’s tracklist.

It’ll be interesting to see which way they take it over the next couple of weeks, but it’s a good fun way to bring the show (and the station) closer to the audience. Everyone loves a mystery…

If you have that nagging thought that you’ve seen Paul Denchfield before, you probably have, he was one of the ‘trackers’ on the excellent Channel 4 series ‘Wanted’. Using a ‘real person’ who’s got a backgroung in telly production is a clever way to make the scenario more real. What’s not so believeable is that the blog and flickr have both only recently started, if they’d fabricated that back even further they could have made it even more believable.

I hope this doesn’t get too much google-juice so listeners can enjoy the promotion’s ride.

16 thoughts on “Frozen Indigo Angel”

  1. hi matt – interesting stuff (incidentally found your comments by googling Frozen Indigo Angel which quoted you on bumpzee).

    What if this Paul Denchfield thing hasn’t been set up by Radio 1? ie if it’s a parasite viral (set up by a PR/marketing company) piggybacking the R1 communication platform.

    What issues does that raise?

  2. For the phrase to have been placed so carefully on the Scott Mills vodcast and the more recent ‘now playing’ thing on the website, I can’t see how this would be technically feasible. If it just cropped up as random text around the place, yes – but carefully inserted into video and audio, no.

  3. I am actually baffled at how badly done it is. A blog set up what 3 weeks before it started? A “producer” making a film like that? It’s irritating and transparently obvious.

  4. I agree Talia, though the one clever thing they’ve done is to not talk about it publicly – to neither confirm or deny creates a vaccum of information that lets people guess.

    For example, I had an email from Aerial (the BBC’s in-house mag) asking me about it as Audio & Music went quiet.

  5. For what it’s worth I’ve reluctantly been following this with a cautious eye and an open mind since it all kicked off and I have my own theories. I’m posting this on a few blogs and boards so that when the truth is out and one of my theories are correct you can all say I got it first. And before you all start pointing the finger at me if this is my first post on your blog/messageboard then forget it (though I do like the idea of being part of it so actually you can accuse away).

    OK here goes.

    The ‘BBC did it’ argument
    It could be the BBC promoting something like their up and coming Big Weekend. Perhaps Franz Ferdinand on the London Eye maybe (Frozen Indigo Angel anagram minus 1 letter)? Though it is interesting it appeared on a Arctic Monkey podcast and on the DAB tracklisting screen just as Edith Bowman was playing an Arctic Monkeys song. Another Arctic Monkeys gig perhaps? Do Radio 1 need to promote Arctic Northern Monkeys any more than they have done in the last few weeks though? I think not. They could be using Arctic Monkeys because there are some clues in the songs? Are the clues in the songs? ‘Brianstorm’ is a wordplay on Brainstorm (where lots of people come together and discuss ideas – which is what we are doing here) … ‘Top marks for not trying’ – well done to everyone who didn’t get sucked in perhaps? ‘You are the unforcasted storm’ – the storm that is whatever this is all about? ‘See ya later innovator’ – suggests something innovative is happening? Viral marketing is no longer innovative… could this be something more than ‘another bloody youtube video to send to all your mates’ hence the ‘See ya later’? It might not be Radio 1, it could be BBC 1 promoting Doctor Who with a little help from their friends at Radio 1 (Both the doctor and his assistant appeared with Jo Whiley recently – perhaps there were clues in there that we missed? All of a sudden Scott Mills appears as the new host for the National Lottery – coincidence or case of ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’.

    The ‘Denchfield did it’ argument.
    I’m thinking too deep on that one but to be honest I don’t think it is from within the BBC. Here’s why I think Denchfield did it. OK Podcasts, Vodcasts and Tracklistings can’t be faked from the outside, we all have them on our computers, downloaded from the Radio 1 website. I don’t doubt that they happened… but I think he did them whilst working for Radio 1. He would have had access. Anything that has happened since he left has been questionable. Now he hasn’t access they are appearing in places that could easily be faked. No one spotted the TV screen in real time – he could have easily faked it himself in Photoshop and said it happened. Also, didn’t he used to be in a reality TV show (‘Wanted’ on Channel 4)? Then surely he is either trying to build his own online reality show (and god knows where it will take us) or he is promoting the return of ‘Wanted’ or some other reality show? He’s got to do something other than sit at home watching Jeremy Kyle regretting messing with the mighty BBC wondering if he’ll ever get back behind or in front of the camera. ‘Wanted’? More like ‘Unwanted’ Paul.

    Other theories
    The ‘Neither the BBC did it or Paul Denchfield’ argument. What if there is a real plot going on here. This could be the work of an ex-employee who left on good terms – do the BBC change passwords every time someone leaves or only after less than amicable partings like this? What if someone has got access to the BBC servers and databases? It could be something simple like someone with access left and has started his own band call ‘Frozen Indigo Angel’…or it could be more sinister. What if someone really has been planting subliminal messages for ages and these are the first to be spotted. Have we all been subliminalled and does anyone know if subliminal messages really work? What if Derren Brown has subliminaled us all and we only think we are spotting Frozen Indigo Angel on the BBC – a genius plot by Channel 4?

    I don’t know. I love a conspiracy theory, I’m partial to ‘good’ viral marketing and have got nothing better to do in work other than waste time on this kinda stuff. Either way, I’m enjoying the ride that we are all probably taken for…. it’ll be fun seeing what happens along the way.

  6. To me the key thing that says ‘set up’ is that IF it was an external evil plot all of the mentions would have been removed from the Radio 1 site quick smart. It would take them seconds to do.

  7. I just goit an email about the one big weekend. At the bottom of it were the words

    “listen to the silence, let it ring on”

  8. Hi, I’ve just had an email reply from One Big Weekend and it prompted me to Google, good ol’ Frozen Indigo Angel. It intrigued me, which looking a little bit further in it was supposed to. I think technically it has to be inhouse at the Beeb and Paul Denchfield.. is he real or is he plant? Dunno, but I’m hooked! It’ll keep me off Online Gaming for a few minutes anyway, now, where’s that Sudoku puzzle?

  9. Interestingly if you co to Paul’s blog you can see the next update – a BBC staff member has given him a boss’s (who’s to do with Frozen Indigo Angel) phone. He’s planted a bug in it and returned it to R1.

    Bit of a shark jump moment narrative-wise. Whilst pushing the story along, surely the boss would be following his blog and thus see that his phone was bugged….

    Anyway, they’ve also taken it up a level by emailing FIA back to the 150k people who’ve registered for One Big Weekend tickets.

  10. Its starting to come together… as far as I know here are the lyrics that have gone out with the emails (if anyone has spotted more please post)

    Frozen Indigo Angel “Out again, a siren screams at half past ten” Frozen Indigo Angel

    Frozen Indigo Angel “Listen to the silence, let it ring on” Frozen Indigo Angel

    Frozen Indigo Angel “The air is clear, the ocean’s blue, I love that sound” Frozen Indigo Angel

    The Killers – Change My Mind
    Joy Division – Transmission
    Alex Gaudinio – Destination Calabria (AKA Destination Unknown)

    Transmissions at an unknown destination? Big weekend is in Preston so thats not unknown…some sort of secret transmission perhaps? Don’t get the ‘Change My Mind’ bit though… what are they trying to change my mind about?

    Anyone build on this?

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