Paramount Promo, Case study SAVE APRIL FIRST! by Saatchi & Saatchi Moscow

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Industry TV Channels/Radio Stations and Programmes, Сable/Satellite television
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Russia
Agency Saatchi & Saatchi Moscow
Creative Group Head Polina Maguire
Creative Director Stuart Robinson
Copywriter Theodor Sandu
Released March 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Media, Arts and Entertainment
Creative Director: Stuart Robinson (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Creative Group Head: Polina Maguire (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Copywriter: Theodor Sandu (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Public Relations Director: Kristina Vorobieva (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Account Director: Maxim Kuznichenkov (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Senior Account Manager: Daria Suraeva (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Digital Director: Alex Ovechkin (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Digital Production Manager: Sergey Mastobaev (Saatchi & Saatchi)
Media placement: Digital PR - MTV, Kommersant FM, Ria Novosti, NTV,, Russian Reporter, Big City, Itogi - 18 March 2012

Summary of the Campaign
The launch of Paramount Comedy channel in Moscow and St. Petersburg was a case of building awareness and differentiation on a €200,000 budget.

It was clear for us that the tight budget cannot support a proper level of reach neither on mass media nor on digital. (Not if we needed to pay for it!)

The launch date was set for April 1st, April Fools’ Day. Once a celebrated day in Russia, calling for pranks and fun, it was now almost forgotten. Dusty. Obsolete. Restoring the meaning of April’s Fools seemed the perfect way to launch Paramount Comedy and build its association with humour and fun.

But how?

We discovered that April 1st is also The International Day of Birds. We convinced one of Russia’s most respected non-profit ornithology organisations, The Russian Birds Conservation Union, to initiate a campaign against April Fools’, lobbying April 1st as exclusively reserved for The International Day of Birds. Nobody cared for April Fools’ Day anyway, right?

We started by creating controversy in digital and offline media. And when this heated up, Paramount Comedy stepped into the battle to support the fans of April Fools’ Day. It initiated a new movement: 'Save April Fools’' and gave people tools to fight the lethargy and restore April Fools’ Day to its known and deserved glory. The movement’s micro-site even offered digital pranking ideas and tools.

The campaign reached more than 40m people, out of which more than 60% (or 24m people) were exposed to the branded phase of the campaign.

The Situation

Paramount Comedy (a.k.a. Comedy Central) is a cable channel only available as part of paid cable plans. The channel content consists of world famous comedy shows, most of which can be watched on various other local comedy channels, some quite popular in Russia.

How to make launching another comedy channel relevant? By differentiating it in terms of personality, attitude and its understanding of Russian reality. Given the small budget, associating the channel with a strong cause, capable of getting people talking in media and in the streets was the way to do it.

The Goal
The objective of the campaign was to build awareness around the Paramount Comedy Channel’s launch in Russia and to differentiate the channel from its established local competitors. We needed our campaign to reach 10 million people in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Target audience: young (18-35) optimistic people, who appreciate quirky humour.

Research: Since the launch was planned for April 1st, we needed to find out more about how people relate to April Fools’ Day. We conducted street interviews in Moscow and learned that April Fools’ Day was losing its vibe: people became indifferent, lacked inspiration and prank ideas.

The Strategy
How to make the launch of yet another comedy channel in Russia to stand out? Definitely, we needed a bigger subject.

As the launch date was April 1st, April Fools’ Day, we saw an opportunity in finding a way to own it. But first we needed to restore its meaning, as we discovered that the day has lost its vibe.

As we all appreciate what we have when we lose it or are about to lose it, we first attacked April Fools’ Day with the help of the ornithologists that reclaimed the date exclusively for The International Day of Birds. When the debate between the fun-loving and birds-loving people heated up, Paramount Comedy intervened to save April Fools’ Day. It led the movement for saving the only official fun day of the year and gave people instruments to do so.

We partnered with ornithologists to have them initiate a campaign against April Fool’s Day. Online petition, official announcements were made on RBCU website, which was a kickoff for initial coverage in digital and TV.

We launched pro-RBCU social network groups and promoted them among relevant online communities like WWF and Greenpeace. Soon we launched opposing groups for users who disapproved petition and favoured the Fools’ Day.

As conversations heated, in groups, we introduced Paramount Comedy which called for a movement, 'Save April Fools’ Day', with:
Videotaped pranks against ornithologists, which went viral - a giant inflatable rubber duck unexpectedly invades an ornitologists’ meeting and literally squeezes them out of the room., the ultimate pranking site launched to encourage users to keep the Fools’ spirit, and make and share pranks on social networks. Finally, we attracted major media to cover the story for free given its intense background and relevance of the cause.

Documented Results
Free media outreach, over 40,000,000 people during 2-week campaign on a budget of only 200k EUR.
Over 100 online and offline media outlets covered the story for free, among which were major Russian info agencies, Ria Novosti (more than 17m readers), (over 5m readers), federal print media, Radio and TV channels: Itogi, Rusian Reporter, Izvestia, NTV, Express-Gazeta, Kommersant-FM, Vesti-FM and the most popular entertainment magazines and resources: Metro (1m readers), Afisha (605,000 readers), Bolshoy Gorod (650,000 readers), F5 magazine (our story was on the cover) (800,000 readers), and MTV (more than 1m viewers).

Social network activities resulted in over 4,800,000 contacts, due to mentions and reposts in over 80 social communities popular among target audience.

The total awareness built for Paramount Comedy launch was 44,800,000 contacts, which exceeded four times the planned KPI’s.