The Royal British Legion Promo The Royal British Legion: 2 MINUTE SILENCE (movie) by Burson-Marsteller

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The Royal British Legion: 2 MINUTE SILENCE (movie)

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Industry Business equipment & services
Media Promo & PR
Market United Kingdom
Agency Burson-Marsteller
Director Matthew Donaldson
Creative Director Joe Sinclair
Designer Sam Sivarajah
Producer Matthew Kitchin
Released June 2011


Cannes Lions 2011
PR Lions Best Integrated Campaign Led by Promotion and Activation Gold

Credits & Description

Type of Entry: Best Campaign
Category: Best Integrated Campaign Led by PR
Product/Service: THE 2010 POPPY APPEAL

Creative Director: Joe Sinclair (Burson-Marsteller)
Campaign Manager: David Godfrey (Burson-Marsteller)
Media Relations Lead: Oliver Druttman (Burson-Marsteller)
Celebrity Engagement: Neha Lakhani (Burson-Marsteller)
Social Media Manager: Heleana Quartey (Burson-Marsteller)
Designer: Sam Sivarajah (Burson-Marsteller)
Distribution: Desirée Banugo (Burson-Marsteller)
Producer: Matthew Kitchin (2AM Films)
Director: Matthew Donaldson (2AM Films)

Describe the campaign/entry:
Research showed that, after 90 years as the UK’s largest armed forces charity, The Royal British Legion needed to do more to be seen as modern and relevant by younger audiences of potential supporters.

Our brief was to create a campaign which gave the charity permission to engage the “digital generation” with its goals and objectives.

Each year, The Legion coordinates a national two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate fallen British soldiers. Our campaign sought to make this most potent of symbolic assets relevant to its new target audiences.


By creating “2 Minute Silence” – a completely SILENT single and accompanying “music” video featuring 20+ youth-oriented celebrities, and releasing it into the UK charts for Remembrance Sunday.

23,000+ singles were sold and chart history was made when the single entered the Top 20 on Remembrance Sunday. More importantly, the sheer uniqueness of the campaign, together with the calibre of celebrities in the music video, provided the ideal platform for a youth-focused earned media campaign.

Social media support from the likes of David Beckham, Radiohead and Coldplay added to 260+ pieces of media coverage, with every £1 invested in the campaign returning over £19 in media value.
Describe the brief from the client:
Our goal was not to score a number one hit! Rather, our objective was to leverage the unique celebrity-endorsed silent single as an entry point to engage a notoriously difficult to reach "digital generation" of potential supporters.

In the UK, 15 million individuals under 30 operate a Facebook profile (source:, Facebook) and 98% of UK singles are bought online (source: Office For National Statistics). Having followed the fan-led campaign in 2009 whereby Rage Against The Machine scored a huge UK chart hit, we recognised Facebook and iTunes as ideal platforms around which to build an earned media campaign.
We secured over 20 leading celebrities to appear in our music video pro bono, including Thom Yorke, Andy Murray, Mark Ronson, Plan B, Mary Portas, Martin Johnson, David Cameron and many more.

- Over 260 pieces of media coverage.
- Over 35,000 Facebook likes.
- Over 200,000 views of video trailer on YouTube.
- Over 16million reached through celebrity social media messages of support.
- Over 23,000 singles sold, returning over £20,000 to The Legion.
- A top 20 chart position.
- Total circulation: 122,445,581 (source: Durrants).
- Budget: £70,000.
- Return from single sales: £20,000.
- Advertising value equivalent of media: £949,831 (source: Durrants).

For every £1 invested in the campaign the equivalent of £19 of media value was returned, with a particular focus on youth media – ideally suited to help The Legion shift the needle in terms of its perception as the modern and relevant forces charity for the digital generation.
We secured over 20 celebrity participants and created our silent track and music video.

We registered as a record label and secured distribution via iTunes and other digital channels (including a bespoke pre-sales microsite and Facebook tab).

We seeded a 10 second trailer of the video across the web.

We managed a proactive and reactive press office which was so productive that on numerous occasions agency execs were fronted on live television as Legion spokespeople.

We wrote a by-lined double-page article for Andy Murray in The Sun, featuring quotes from 15 celebrities, including the Prime Minister.

We created an email which was sent to The Legion’s supporter database.

The day before the chart show, we secured video play-out at major sporting events, including numerous football matches and an England vs. Australia rugby international.

Finally, we secured social media support from numerous celebrities, including David Beckham, Radiohead, Coldplay and Stephen Fry.
The Situation:
Over the past decade a number of specialist forces charities have been set up in UK. Most of these have devoted significant effort and resource to tap into younger UK audiences via celebrity endorsement campaigns, fundraising concerts and activity around sporting events. Research showed that The Royal British Legion was losing share of voice with younger audiences to these new charities.

Without alienating its existing supporter base, it was imperative that The Legion educated younger generations about its core organisational goals and objectives so as to develop its supporter base of tomorrow.
The Strategy:
Our strategy was two-fold: first we had to gain permission to talk to the "digital generation" and second, we needed to engage them in participating with the campaign.

Success in gaining permission to talk to younger audiences hinged around effectively maximising celebrity participation. Not only was it crucial that our celebrities were credible and resonated with our target audience, it was also essential that their involvement didn’t stop with their appearance in the "music" video. To maximise the campaign’s potential we needed celebrity participation throughout the campaign, personally driving awareness of The Legion via "2 Minute Silence".

All earned media used celebrity as the entry point to dialogue and sought to funnel our audience to a central participation platform: our Facebook page. From here, we could engage in direct dialogue with our audience about the mission, goals and objectives of The Legion (and in doing so, ultimately drive single sales).