Voluntary Sector - Comic's support for needy children

Campaign: BBC Children in Need charity single

BBC Children in Need: charity single
BBC Children in Need: charity single

Client: BBC, Chapman Entertainment, Sony Music
PR team: Chapman Entertainment in-house team, Lucid Group, DawBell
Timescale: September 2009-January 2010
Budget: £1,200

Television production and licensing company Chapman Entertainment worked with celebrity comic Peter Kay to develop the 2009 charity single for BBC Children in Need (CiN) entitled theAnimated All Star Band.

Kay voiced his animated alter ego, Big Chris from Roary the Racing Car, and took on a Bob Geldof inspired role, bringing together more than 100 cartoon characters from past and present for a celebrity singalong to raise money for the appeal. Chapman Entertainment's in-house PR team led the publicity with support from Lucid and DawBell.


- To drive sales of the CD and video to raise money for BBC CiN

- To achieve No. 1 UK Chart success

Strategy and Plan

The fact the single was animated was kept secret until the BBC CiN's 30th telethon on 20 November 2009. A press partnership was negotiated with The Sun and an exclusive embargoed behind-the-scenes tour of the CiN single set was organised.

A journalist was taken through the process of animation by Tim Harper, the video director, and exclusive imagery was shot.

A donation of £10,000 was made to BBC CiN as a result of the partnership.

A seeding campaign took place in the lead up to the telethon through a national teaser campaign - A-list music names were hinted to be involved, while their true 'animated' identities were hidden.

The total number of albums and No. 1 singles sold collectively by band members such as Bob The Builder and The Wombles was announced to start speculation growing. The story appeared first in The Sun, followed by other press. Peter Kay's involvement was also a big media pull and used to excite media.

Twitter, Facebook and MySpace campaigns were put together by Lucid in the lead up to the launch to further fuel the frenzy.

A series of media interviews with Peter Kay took place on the day of launch. On 20 November, the day of BBC CiN, a press release highlighting the single's 'world exclusive release' was issued with a midnight embargo. This was supported by the image of the album cover developed in the style of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Measurement and evaluation

In total, 21 national pieces of coverage were achieved, along with six consumer pieces, eight TV broadcasts excluding the BBC, nine radio interviews, 43 regional coverage pieces, seven trade features and 102 online hits.


The single was No. 1 in the UK Top 40 Charts for two weeks and raised more than £350,000 for BBC Children in Need.


Second Opinion

Lesley Anderson, Head of consumer brands, Taylor Herring

In terms of strategy, the campaign was well executed. Using Peter Kay to promote the BBC's Children in Need single was a smart move given his previous success with the Comic Relief charity release. Thematically, involving a host of iconic TV characters allowed the campaign to achieve family friendly, crossgenerational appeal. The drip-feed and tease approach around the announcement did the important job of building anticipation.

In hindsight, maybe there could have been room for a broader team of media partnerships in place from the start. Strategic tie-ins with other non-conflicting partners such as BBC Newsround or Blue Peter, the Global Radio network and First News would have hit home with the younger age group, as would the all-important online community of kids, parenting and mums outlets.

Controlling coverage by handing the behind-the-scenes access to one newspaper gave lots of bang-for-buck, but perhaps CiN could be more confident next time to share such assets with more outlets? It would have been nice to have made use of the costume characters in a photo-orientated stunt, to support the release on the day of launch and a radio/TV tour with Peter Kay. Perhaps a 'secret' rooftop gig at BBC Broadcasting House for media to be invited to and the public to get behind before the telethon began?

All said, the campaign achieved impressive coverage results, an outstanding return on investment and, most importantly, loads of money raised for a great cause.

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