The Brief

After the phenomenal success that was Ed’s debut album ‘+’ Atlantic Records briefed us that the time had come for the release of the much feared ‘difficult second album’, a tricky task in a market where sales were down 25% since the debut album’s release in 2011. Atlantic Records challenged us on how we could take a limited budget and create fame, fortune & the all-important number 1 for Ed Sheeran using a very specific green (Pantone 360c).

Our Solution

We needed to create a unique and exciting way to tease & excite with a limited budget.

Having already delivered Ed’s first ever Number 1 single ‘Sing’, this track became the hook into the album. Across cinema, online, outdoor, radio and TV we commenced advertising three weeks from launch with short stings, always under 10”. The strategy meant we could deliver frequency & cover that could usually only be expected from larger campaigns. But quality didn’t lose out, we cherry picked every spot to ensure key positioning, across all media channels, breaking with TV convention by top and tailing ad breaks with 5” stings.

With the launch date looming, pre-orders were approaching Atlantic Records' all time record and as Monday dawned we turned the world of media green. High impact outdoor flooded the market, the internet was plastered with high impact takeovers in every core environment and TV switched to 30” copy.

Ed is an artist renowned for putting fans first, playing over 300 gigs in one year prior to the release of ‘+’, giving fans a very personal connection. But, with fame this connection becomes challenged, the core fans’ engagement with an artist is diluted when they find their whole family listening in.

We needed media to hit all these audiences, but also to re-kindle that personal connection with the core fans. Enter the Big Bang Theory; the single biggest show on E4 and fundamentally in Ed fans’ universe. We were turning mass broadcast on its head and re-engaging fans by creating the world’s first interactive full-length music TV advert.

Working closely with key partners (Channel 4, Twitter, Shazam & You Tube) we set to work. A bespoke 20” ad launched with Ed explaining how fans could vote via Twitter to hear him play a live version of one new track from the album in a 200” break at the end of the show. As Ed, C4 and Twitter live-tweeted, the campaign reached a new level, kick-starting one of the most successful social vote adverts ever seen by C4. As the unique break approached viewing went up with the end break plussing up an additional 400,000 viewers.

The Results

‘X’ became Number 1 in the UK Official Album Chart with sales of 182,427; the highest selling week one of 2014.

The ‘difficult second album’ registered 80% more sales than Ed’s award winning debut.

Week one sales for ‘X’ sold more than the rest of the top 34 combined.

With 6,248,130 streams, it broke Spotify’s weekly streaming record.

‘X’ became the fastest downloaded artist album ever.

The success of Ed’s interactive advert was exemplified by the sheer volume of voting tweets, beating previous examples by 300%.

Our hashtag votes reached trending status in the UK, with both #EdSong1 and #EdSong3 trending.

Our interactive ad reached over 1.29 million unique individuals. The live break was Shazamed 5.5K times.

Case Studies

Art Fund

National Art Pass – Never Without Art

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