Voluntary Sector: Amnesty International reveals a secret

Amnesty International revived its comedy and music event, the Secret Policeman's Ball, to highlight its 50th anniversary. The event was held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Policeman's Ball: Attracted stars like Noel Fielding and Russell Brand
Policeman's Ball: Attracted stars like Noel Fielding and Russell Brand

Campaign: Secret Policeman's Ball
Client: Amnesty International
PR team: Splendid Communications and in-house
Timescale: January-March 2012
Budget: £42,275



  • To raise engagement with Amnesty International and the ball, and make it relevant to a UK audience.
  • To highlight free speech's relevance in everyday life.

Strategy and plan

In collaboration with Amnesty's in-house PR teams in the UK and US, Splendid launched the ball by announcing Coldplay, Jon Stewart and Russell Brand as the headline acts.

Updates were drip-fed to the press, and an exclusive quote from Brand about free speech was placed with The Sun.

Interviews were secured for Burmese comedian Zarganar in The Guardian and on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

With the help of creative agency Mother, a competition for 'The World's Shortest Gig' was launched on Facebook, to win a 15-second slot at the ball. Listings coverage was placed in various UK publications.

Measurement and evaluation

The show received 247 pieces of UK coverage.


More than a million viewers watched the show on Channel 4, exceeding the average figures for the slot.

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