Switched On Marketing

Wednesday, December 4 2013
Switched On Marketing

“There’s going to be a big stunt,” said the Studiocanal marketing team a few weeks ago. “It will gain coverage when it happens, then it will get more a week later when a video comes out. It’s brilliant.”

“Can you tell us anything else about it?” we asked, fishing for even a hint as to what would happen.

No, the reply came swiftly. The marketing team couldn’t let the cat out of the bag, all they could say is that it was “very Alan”.

Days after this, as the release date for the company’s big 2013 release approached, there were hints as to what was going to happen. There was Simon Greenall, aka Michael from the Partridge TV series who reprised his role in Alpha Papa, on a train, going somewhere… There were tweets from assorted agencies and, perhaps most revealingly, blinkbox.

And then all was revealed.

Greenall, blinkbox, Studiocanal and a host of others had trekked to Norwich for the annual turning on of the Christmas lights.

But let’s let Ben Ayers from blinkbox take up the story.

“Alpha Papa is a key release for us,” he says, “and we’ve gone all out with our marketing efforts. We wanted to do something a bit different and had this idea involving Christmas lights knocking around for a while. When we heard about the Norwich Christmas lights switch on we jumped at the chance to be involved. James Herring, the MD of our PR agency suggested a giant Illuminated Alan singing along to Roachford’s Cuddly Toy. The idea seemed to have all the elements we like so we agreed in principle on the spot.”

Idea in place, it was then the hard work started. As Ayers continued: “Then came the challenge of making it happen. Studiocanal was great and on board with the idea from the off, as were Norwich City Council. The writers of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa even helped to craft a speech from Alan that was delivered to the people of Norwich from the steps of City Hall by actor Simon Greenall as Michael.

“The video was released on Thursday and has already generated a fair amount of buzz. We hope it peaks [to tie in with the] Monday when the movie is available to rent and buy on blinkbox.” Viewing figures of more than 350,000 on youtube suggest that the plan worked perfectly.

The stunt picked up plenty of coverage right from the off and further enhances blinkbox’s creativity and capacity to pull off a major stunt to tie in with the arrival of a big release on its service. Witness, if you will, its work on Game Of Thrones earlier this year.

“The activity is in line with our strategy of creating multiple touch points with our service,” says Ben Ayers. “Every piece of content we make or experience we create, is a new way for a customer or potential customer to lean forward and engage with us; where possible the data generated by that engagement directly informs our performance marketing activity, driving value in the near and long term.”

And, as he rightly concludes, in true Partridge style: “All that aside, it’s just ruddy good fun.”

Here’s footage from the event…

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