When the popular tv series Peaky Blinders was readying its return for a fifth season, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was also gearing up for the UK marketing campaign. The BBC Two show was also moving to a new channel, BBC One, which meant that the series was about to be exposed to a new audience.
Knowing that Peaky Blinders had built up a strong following, and fans had already been creating thousands of art pieces around the world. Inspired by all the enthusiasm, the BBC hit upon a rather novel idea – instead of relying as they normally would on their in-house talent, BBC Creative, they enlisted their more artistically talented fans to create original artwork that showcased their love of the show. The fans responded for sure – the BBC received 1,200 submissions from across the UK.1
Sure, it was a lot fun, but this was way more than just a means to keep fans busy while waiting for Peaky Blinders come back. Nope, the BBC was actually choosing a select few pieces that would then become the show’s Season 5 marketing campaign, appearing on murals and posters in London and Birmingham (where the series is set, btw) as well as digital, online and social media platforms like Twitter. What’s more, the 16 winners were paid £1,000 (roughly $1,300 dollars) in commission each for their winning entries.2 (And a lot of free exposure for those winning artists as well I would add.)
Take a look at the winners’ amazing Peaky Blinders-inspired artwork here! (It’s really good stuff!)
The artwork was diverse and showcased a lot of talent, so that got the campaign the attention it deserved. Of course, the BBC covered it (it’s their show after all) but there was so much more media coverage outside their parent company around the country – Famous Campaigns, Creative Review, The Guardian, and even the popular image hosting site Pinterest showcased the art and even more works.
Not only did the BBC get excellent outside coverage, they got the show’s own fans to create the ad campaign for it! They helped spread the word about the show (Now THAT’S what I call engaging the audience!) becoming the evangelists who, through their beautiful artwork, then built third-party credibility. (I mean, artists don’t waste their time creating works for things they don’t have any passion for, right?).
The BBC took their audience communication to a whole new level, leveraging a fanbase by giving then not only a new season of the show they loved, but a way to actively promote it – and their own art – giving a publicity boost to both! (That’s the kind of symbiotic relationship companies dream of!)
Well, guess what? Seasons six AND seven have been confirmed! Wonder what Peaky Blinders has up its uh, hat, for the promotion.
Compare what the BBC did to what another company tried — pulling the wool over their audience’s eyes – a true FAIL by any measure – read #PRFAIL: If Public Relations Is About Building Trust, Then What the Hell Was This?.
Then read a “#PRWin” that shows why Coca-Cola is the PR powerhouse that it is – Nutella vs. Coca-Cola: To Welcome or Shun Brand Fans?
While the BBC’s Peaky Blinders (their product) had built an audience on one channel, they wanted to build an even larger one on their bigger channel, so they went straight to their audience for help. This is the kind of DISRUPTION that not only demonstrated the value the BBC had in its audience but leveraged them to build the third-party validation they needed to make it happen.
At JOTO PR Disruptors, we know just how valuable third-party credibility is to your business growth and ROI. In fact, it’s essential, because while you may have the best product or service, if no one’s talking about you, nothing happens. And who better to talk about you than those with great reputations of their own?
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- Watson, Imogen, “Peaky Blinders’ fan art features in BBC marketing push to draw in new audiences”, TheDrum.com, thedrum.com/news/2019/08/06/peaky-blinders-fan-art-features-bbc-marketing-push-draw-new-audiences, August 6, 2019
- BBC Press Office, “Peaky Blinders fan art to feature in new BBC marketing campaign”, BBC.co.uk, bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2019/peaky-blinders-fan-art, June 8, 2019