Christmas Comms Crackers #1: Getting Rage Against The Machine to Number One

Senior marcoms figures are letting us in on their favourite ever Christmas PR campaigns. In the first of the series Jon Davie, MD of digital and social media agency Zone, picks the successful campaign to make Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing in the Name' Christmas number one.

Battle: Rage Against The Machine campaign takes on The X Factor
Battle: Rage Against The Machine campaign takes on The X Factor

It’s 2013, and no self-respecting Christmas campaign is complete without a #hashtag.

Social media integration – job done. But in the real world, people don’t want to talk about our brand campaigns. 

The festive season is just like the rest of the year – people share the things that are important to them.

The 2009 campaign to stop another X Factor wannabe taking the Christmas Number One is instructive. 

One fed-up music fan set up a Facebook group to get Rage Against The Machine to the top spot. 

The campaign was picked up, initially by early-adopters, and then by the mainstream media. 

In a matter of days, the group had 750,000 fans.  The founders set up a JustGiving account to capitalise on the interest, raising £70,000 for housing charity Shelter. 

And then the band themselves put on a free concert – adding a further £90,000 to the total.

What can we learn from this?  Firstly, the subject matter for any social conversation has to be authentic. 

Second, it’s impossible to control the way the conversation progresses – at best, you can fuel the conversation by thinking on your feet. 

And third?  Find a brilliantly infectious and inherently social idea, and you can raise £160,000 for charity from nothing in just two weeks.

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