‘We have to fight for the black artists we represent’ - Behind the Campaign, Krept & Konan’s album launch

Stoked PR led the highly successful launch of British rap duo Krept & Konan's album Revenge is Sweet, which overcame a knife attack and media scepticism.

‘We have to fight for the black artists we represent’ - Behind the Campaign, Krept & Konan’s album launch

What was the campaign in a nutshell? 

To cement Krept & Konan’s legacy as a pioneering British rap duo, while illustrating that their activity as entrepreneurs, broadcasters and sociopolitical voices for their community had not diluted, but rather enhanced, their music career. 

To position their Revenge is Sweet album as a key release for 2019, while ensuring the narrative of the album (their most personal project to date) was reported on as accurately and sensitively as possible.

How did the idea come into being?

It began with the music. With the title and corresponding narrative of the album (Revenge is Sweet), and the single kicking off the album campaign, Ban Drill

Briefly describe the campaign planning and process

The first phase was anticipation. The summer of 2019 saw Krept & Konan release Ban Drill (with accompanying Rapman-directed short film and sociopolitical message), and make their TV debut on the BBC’s The Rap Game.

Stoked PR turned the creative inspiration of Ban Drill into a fully fledged platform for comms.

The launch of the lead track was accompanied by a Change.Org petition asking the CPS to "stop silencing musicians" and an op-ed piece by Konan on the subject in The Guardian

Stoked PR organised a media screening of the short film accompanying the track and a debate with panellists including George The Poet and a Doughty Street Chambers barrister. We then replicated this media event at the House of Commons.

Meanwhile we worked hand-in-hand with the BBC’s press office to launch The Rap Game.

The second phase was activation. To overcome Krept & Konan’s distrust of the media we outlined the rationale behind every request to convince them it was worth doing. We media-trained in real time – briefing them extensively for each individual interview and appearance. We pitched for coverage in across-the-board media, targeting the perennial Krept & Konan media fans, alongside those who hadn’t supported them before or who had lost interest.

The final phase was the aftermath. We ensured the album's success was cited far and wide, and the tour’s opening night was documented as an unequivocal triumph.

What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Lack of assets. Imagery, specifically publicity shots of Krept & Konan, were scarce. So too was the music. Due to legal clearance issues, we had very little music to send to the media.

We also had challenges around shifting timelines. The release date of the album constantly shifted. Also, all the dates for the tour, bar one, were rescheduled after Krept was stabbed at a BBC 1 Xtra event.

The knife attack had broader repercussions beyond the timeline that we needed to manage.

Several days of 24/7 crisis comms were required. Less enlightened sections of the media were quick to label this as a ‘gang’ incident, but this was not the case and needed to be quashed immediately to ensure it did not overshadow the rest of the campaign’s narrative.

The attack left Krept unable to complete promotional activity in a standard way and everything had to be rejigged to accommodate his injuries.

How did you measure the results, and what were they?

  • The campaign coverage totalled 90+ print pieces reaching 37.2 million with circulation valued at £736,000 (source: Intelligent Media). There were  2,000-plus online pieces with a 9.9 billion readership, 43.2 million coverage views and 235,000 social shares (source: Coverage Books).

  • The album debuted in the top five in the UK Official Albums Chart (after the label’s sales team forecasted it wouldn’t sell enough to enter the top 10). Glowing album reviews were secured across the board, ensuring Krept & Konan’s highest Metacritic score to date, and trumping the scores of many of their peers.

  • The tour dates were 90-100 per cent sold out and garnered their best live reviews to date.

  • Krept & Konan’s profile was raised considerably. They received recognition from high profile personalities (e.g. Kanya King, Dawn Butler, Robbie Williams), an NTA award nomination, two NME award nominations (Best Band in the World, Best British Band), and a BAFTA nomination. Meanwhile, they landed investment to expand their entrepreneurial activity, and were awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal). 

What's the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?

The biggest lesson I learned was that we still have a huge fight on our hands when it comes to representing black artists and their music.

The British authorities for many years now have not only failed black artists, but have actively tried to destroy their careers. 

Meanwhile they are doing less and less to support the communities that many of these artists come from.

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