Consumer & Entertainment: Skins returns to Bristol music roots

Campaign: Skins House Event

Skins House Event: E4 campaign
Skins House Event: E4 campaign

Client: E4
PR team: Ian Johnson Publicity
Timescale: December 2009-January 2010
Budget: Approx £200,000

E4 asked events company DX Live to organise two weeks of free new music events for young people in Bristol in early 2010, to launch the new series of popular TV programme Skins. Ian Johnson Publicity was asked to publicise the events and use them to connect with Skins fans through print, online and broadcast media.

Objectives

- To increase ratings on E4 and 4 On Demand and reach out to the target audience of 18- to 25-year-olds

- To drive traffic to e4.com

- To associate Skins with new, credible music talent

- To continue to build Skins' online fan base

- To take Skins back to its roots and work with local promoters in Bristol.

Strategy and plan

The idea of the Skins House events was to take Skins back to its Bristol roots and expand its ever-growing fan base. The team worked with local promoters and labels including Blowpop, The Blast and Team Love to make Skins House events part of the regular Bristol night scene. New music acts performing at the events included Plan B and Example, and the events also featured popular acts I Blame Coco, Daisy Dares You and The Subs. The events were free, and included the chance to meet the Skins cast as an extra push.

The show has been associated with breaking new music in the UK and the events brought this heritage to the forefront. Fans were also able to have their photos taken with the cast of Skins and mingle with them at each event.

Video and audio podcasts featuring highlights of each event, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews were put on the E4 website. Online footage directed music fans to the Skins site and tickets to the event were allocated using a Facebook ticketing agency. A Twitter feed reminded fans of the event line-ups and reported news. After the events, the online content was promoted on the artists' own networks via Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

Measurement and evaluation

Broadcast highlights included coverage on T4, BBC Radio 1, NME Radio and Kiss Radio. The story also appeared in Music Week, which ran a Skins music feature, The Guardian, and in national, regional, local and student press. Coverage also appeared in several music magazines and websites.

Online, the content produced from the event was viewed more than 190,000 times. NME Radio attended all 16 Bristol events and a Saturday night show was produced live from Skins House.

Results

In total, 95 per cent of tickets were snapped up within 24 hours of them going live. Over the two weeks the events were held, 10,467 people attended.

Viewing figures for the new season of Skins increased to 1.28 million per episode, a seven per cent increase from viewers of the last series. In total viewing on 4 On Demand increased by 29 per cent from the last season of Skins.

Visits to the Skins website increased by 53 per cent during the run of the series.

 

Second Opinion

Rich Turner, Entertainment director, House PR

Any exploration of a Skins campaign is incomplete without a respectful nod to the pioneering work in using social media to engage with its audience. If I had a bottle of Kopparberg for every interviewee who has quoted 'the Skins social media campaign' as an example of great digital PR, then I'd have enough teen plonk to host a Skins house party. This, of course, sets a benchmark for subsequent campaigns.

What Skins has achieved is building an affinity with its audience. The idea of creating concerts celebrating one of the pillars of the show - breaking new bands - is cute. An event provides the opportunity to tier media opportunities, create and distribute content and reward fans.

Certainly the radio promotions are bang on target, as is working with sister brand T4. And while selling tickets on Facebook or breaking news on Twitter is no longer groundbreaking in 2010, it's the right approach.

I guess a question to ask here is has the £200,000 budget been fully exploited? Should organisers have taken Bristol to the nation rather than the nation to Bristol, offering a broader scope of media opportunities and getting closer to Skins fans across the UK? And could they have targeted a wider spread of digital outlets with the collateral? Maybe.

But the campaign brief was to engage with the fanbase and one fact is inescapable - when it comes to connecting with its audience via social media, no-one does it like Skins. Just don't quote it back to me in an interview ...

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