Mob Rules

Monday, May 20 2013
Mob Rules

A group of commuters at one of the country’s biggest train stations spontaneously burst into song… Buskers clad in French revolutionary-era peasant garb start belting out songs from a musical… Meanwhile, in stores around the country, HMV staff and their customers also join in the singalong fun…

All these happeningswere linked to the event-sized launch of Les Miserables, the awards-friendly musical released by Universal on Monday May 13. And it appears as if misery really does love company…

The adaptation had earned plaudits on its release across the board, then £40 million or so at UK cinemas and, thanks to the major’s push and all its efforts through the National Sing Your Day event, it had sold more than 600,000 by Friday.

The National Sing Your Day event was headlined by the flash mob at London’s St Pancras. Even the station announcements were stopped for a few minutes as thousands of people joined in with classical artist Laura Williams for a rousing rendition of Can You Hear The People Sing? from the stage musical turned feature film.

Elsewhere, flash mobs took place at other major cities and towns around the country; Manchester, Sheffield, Cardiff, Liverpool, Bristol and Sheffield were all asking the same question. And it seemed as if most major conurbations did have the chance to hear the people sing, whether they wanted to or not.

There were other smart initiatives too, with buskers dressing up in Les Miserables-style clobber to belt out renditions of songs from the film.

HMV got in on the act too, with support at its different stores around the country. Some 20 or so took part, making it a truly nationwide event – from Livingston and Edinburgh in Scotland, to Cardiff, Bristol and Yeovil to the west, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds in the east, Brighton in the south, Romford around the capital, Newcastle in the north east, Blackpool and Manchester in the north west, Stratford upon Avon in the middle of the country…

The retailer’s stores (as we on The Raygun know) are becoming increasingly active on Twitter and other social media, this grassroots activity saw the individual stores generation coverage in their local newspapers (you can see an example here).

As HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo says: “This was an outstanding campaign organised by Universal and their agencies Premier and Grapevine. Not only did it create a major PR and social-led event around the release of Les Mis to support the wider marketing activity, but it gave stores an opportunity to show their initiative and really engage with this title and through it, directly with their customers in turn.”

Asda’s head office and Sainsbury’s stores also got in on the act.

Speaking on Friday at the end of its first week, Universal’s Grace O’Donnell notes: “We’re all thrilled with sales to date of 606K units, and with lots of TV still to run and excellent retail set up we’re hoping for a great result over the weekend.”

“National Sing your Day has been a truly collaborative campaign across all mediums, from PR to digital and bought media,” says Premier’s Nina Woodward. “It has captivated a huge audience of fans across social platforms and formed the creative hub of the publicity campaign. Results speak for themselves with some great media awareness.”

Here’s some of the highlights from the events…

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