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Extras Have an Ice Time in Central London

To Be Seen background artists turned out in force this weekend for a Walls’ Cornetto advert shooting in central London.

Our intrepid reporter Michael Dawson was on the scene and reports back on the making of the TV commercial...

cornetto casting by tobeseen

It’s not every day that Piccadilly Circus comes alive to the strains of people singing "Just one Cornetto ... give it to me!" at the top of their voices. But then it’s not every day that global advertising powerhouse McCann-Erickson rolls into town for a big-budget production for Cornetto ice cream. On a beautiful spring weekend - first in Piccadilly then moving onto Moorgate for the second day - this exciting shoot was a lesson in the art of TV commercial making from one of the leading ad agencies in the world. What’s more, the cast of over 100 paid extras all found the job through To Be Seen.

"This was Cornetto’s big advert for the summer season," explains producer Francis Castelli. "We needed around 120 background artists at fairly short notice for the first day in Piccadilly, and about half that amount for the scenes shot in Moorgate."


So how did the extras perform?

"Fantastic!" says Francis. "It was quite a demanding shoot with a lot of scene changes. This was challenging for the background guys because they were being asked to perform a variety of roles. And it wasn’t just background work - they were singing, doing a fair bit of acting to camera and taking direction. I think they came through it really well."

I caught up with two of the background artists, Natasha Stokes and Angelique Wong, to find out what they made of the whole experience.

"This was my first ever job as an extra," explains pretty brunette Natasha, "but it was everything I expected and more. It was really exciting being on such a big production and I’d really love to do it again."

"The people were a real laugh," adds Angelique. "You spend quite a bit of time standing around so it’s great that all the extras got on so well. There was a real camaraderie there. And with everyone in their costumes, it was a bit like being at a fancy dress party at times!"


So when’s the commercial going to be on our screens?

"The turnaround for this ad is pretty quick," says producer Francis. "It’s going straight into post-production and should be out there in a few weeks time."


What kind of exposure will it get?

"Well it’s Cornetto’s biggie this year, so expect to see it running all through the summer. I think there’ll probably be a tie-in with the coverage of the football World Cup in July as well, so it’s going to be seen by a huge audience."

As the sun sets here on an intense day of filming, there are smiles all round and a sense of jubilation when the director cries "That’s a wrap!" While the crew packs up the gear, most of the extras wander off together for a well-earned drink in the nearest pub.


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