Universal Pictures Promo, Case study BRIDESMAIDS DVD TAKES PRESS ON HONEYMOON by Cohn & Wolfe

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Industry Records & Cinema Production
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Cohn & Wolfe
Released November 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best use of Broadcast
Product/Service: DVD RELEASE
Agency: COHN & WOLFE
Executive Vice President/Chief Creative Catalyst: Jeremy Baka (Cohn & Wolfe)
Chief Executive Officer: Donna Imperato (Cohn & Wolfe)
Chief Marketing Officer: Jill Tannenbaum (Cohn & Wolfe)
Managing Director/Consumer Practice: Rebecca Grant (Cohn & Wolfe UK)
Account Director: Sarah Jackson (Cohn & Wolfe UK)
Project Manager: Polyna Berlin (Cohn & Wolfe)
Video Production: Gregor Clark (Plenty NYC)
Video Production: Sebastian Conley (Plenty NYC)
Presentation Board Production: Aaron Trask (Dragonfly Design Group)
Presentation Board Production: Gary Young (Dragonfly Design Group)
Media placement: Broadcast - Daily Show (Ireland) - 7 November 2011
Media placement: Broadcast - Daybreak (UK) - 15 November 2011
Media placement: Broadcast - BBC News - 19 November
Media placement: Launch party - - 9 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR/Promotions - - 14 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR (Pippa Video Coverage) - - 15 November 2011

Summary of the Campaign
DVD film releases are as common as celebrities in rehab. But Universal Pictures UK Home Entertainment still wanted the 'Bridesmaids' UK release to be the biggest DVD launch of the year - during Christmas. To achieve this, we took a no holds barred approach that involved hijacking a top UK news story, bribing a talk-show host with 5 pimped-out puppies, and impersonating a royal prince and one scandalous bridesmaid.

Capitalising on the public’s obsession with The Royal Wedding, the agency hired Alison Jackson, a popular celebrity-look-a-like photographer, to capture risqué images of a fake Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton 'celebrating'. The astonishing look-a-like photos were offered as exclusives to national tabloids in conjunction with a ritzy launch party that had media buzzing - and whispering.

We extended the lookalike approach to the dogs, searching the UK for 'look-a-like labs' mirroring the fluffy pups featured in the film. We dressed the pups in bridal outfits and used their overpowering cuteness to bribe ourselves onto Daybreak, a national morning show. The co-hosts could hold and cuddle the loveable labs, but only if they mentioned the Bridesmaids DVD. They paid in full, mentioning the DVD several times during a key morning timeslot, prompting one of the hosts to commend the 'bright' PR people behind the 'bribe'. The collective campaign buzz and exposure propelled 'Bridesmaids' sales to 300,000 copies sold in the UK in just 1 week, at an ROI of 70:1.

The Situation

After the runaway success of Bridesmaids at the theaters, Universal Pictures UK Home Entertainment was looking for a way to drum up fresh media excitement for its DVD and Blu-ray launch during the busiest promotional season of the year: Christmas. For the studio, strong first week sales were vital to secure retailer commitment. For us, the strategy hinged on 8 fluffy puppies, 4 Royal look-a-likes, a master of fake photography and the biggest UK story of the year. It all resulted in a carefully planned PR campaign that took the media, consumers and the 'Bridemaids' DVD on an extended honeymoon.

The Goal
Our challenge was to design a PR campaign for 'Bridesmaids' that would rival the DVD launch of the movie Mama Mia – one of the most successful and profitable DVD releases ever, with millions of copies sold since 2008. Targeting males and females over age 15, our objective was to:

1. Deliver BIG broadcast exposure in the UK on launch day and contribute to sales during the first week of release.

2. Generate coverage across all major UK media targets and convince print media to cover the story of the movie 'Bridesmaids' again.

The Strategy
To build excitement and intrigue for 'Bridesmaids', we imbedded elements of the movie into one of the biggest news events of the year: The Royal Wedding. We then extended it with ongoing 'news strikes' for maximum coverage and sustainable exposure. We decided to use adorable Labrador pups as unlikely bridesmaids and in-studio guests on a national morning show to promote the film on day of DVD launch. Tapping into the UK obsession with tabloid news, we offered the rag papers exclusive, never-before-seen spoof photos of a Pippa Middleton look-a-like acting frisky at The Royal Wedding. Finally, to excite both consumers and media, we seeded social platforms with cheeky videos and created contests coinciding with DVD pre-sale and into the Christmas season.

Puppies PR Ploy
- Borrowing an idea from the film we sent 8 lovable puppies dressed in wedding attire into the studios of Daybreak to promote the DVD on launch day. After 'pulling rank' to hold the pups, co-host Dan Lobb was so smitten with the pooches that he used a photo of himself with the canine bride as his Twitter profile picture for months after the segment aired, giving additional exposure to his 81,650 Twitter followers.

Royal Maid of (dis)Honor
- Working with renowned artist, Alison Jackson, we created a series of videos and still images lampooning Pippa Middleton as she prepares to attend her sister’s Royal ‘hen do’ and subsequent wedding.

Documented Results
- Secured broadcast coverage on Daybreak, UK’s top morning show with 700,000 viewers; the film became 10th biggest selling DVD of 2011 with nearly 300,000 copies sold in UK in first week of release;

- 70:1 ROI;

- £6.5m publicity value – a staggering £2.6m more than Mamma Mia;

- Quirky features in UK target media outlets including Daybreak, The Daily Show, Sunday Mirror, Elle, The Observer, Metro, Closer and OK!;

- “The overall campaign ensured Bridesmaids was the talked-about story in the week of release. The Alison Jackson campaign in particular was a stroke of genius, and has been massively lauded internally with coverage even reaching the hands of the most senior people in our Los Angeles offices.” – Grace O’Donnell, Senior Brand Manager Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd;

- “That’s the best PR stunt of all time. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.” Christine Bleakley, co-host of Daybreak.