What was the campaign, in a nutshell?
Deezer briefed us to embrace its underdog status among streaming platforms. The French-owned brand’s market position is its strength, allowing it to take more risks. As a Deezer exclusive, trans artist and activist Mila Jam reordered 'It’s Raining Them' – a non-binary and trans-inclusive version of the Weather Girls' monster hit. We used a traditionally accepted gay anthem to drive conversations about inclusion and discrimination within the LGBTQ+ community and in society in general.
How did the idea come into being?
Right now, there is no greater underdog than people living outside the traditional spectrums of gender and sexuality, vilified by some of our biggest media channels. And that’s before you introduce ethnicity and race. The very existence of some people is seen as a point for debate. We wanted to create something so loud, proud and beautiful that it transcended our community to permeate pop culture and redefine a queer anthem for a next generation, played around the world. With a campaign timed to align with pride season, we looked deeper into the tensions that exist in our community, related to inclusion. We turned a white gay men’s anthem into a rallying cry for inclusion.
What ideas were rejected?
This is the first creative idea as part of a long line of new work coming soon from Deezer, so nothing was rejected – only delayed. That is a perfect PR answer, right? Last year we ran a charity campaign working with famous Carols (Thatcher, Baskin etc.) to record ‘Christmas Carols by Carols at Christmas for Crisis’, so we’ve been really lucky to land a client that sees the joy that comms can deliver.
Briefly describe the campaign planning and process.
The idea took five months of development: not a huge amount of time, considering we contracted US talent, engaged a charity partner, filmed a music video (well, Mila did), curated new content on the Deezer platform and engaged club promoters and DJs to play the track throughout Pride season.
Talker Tailor was the only external agency involved in the process, which was supported by an extensive Deezer team from programming to PR to global talent and music management. Our influencer programme was entirely organic at first, with Geri Horner being the first to engage and post about the track. We had approached her officially to work with us, but she was too busy being a Spice Girl, so it was a major joyful surprise when she posted and just shows that you should always attempt things. Since then, we have paid LGBTQ+ ambassadors, focused primarily on the gender non-conforming community to help spread word of mouth – because people in the queer community especially should be paid, always.
What were the biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge so far is that Mila was due to perform at Pride in London, which was then pulled due to COVID-19. That was going to be a key moment for us in the calendar, with a lot of broadcast outlets like The One Show lined up to feature her when she visited. The only other challenge has been managing the media narrative in as proactive a way as possible to ensure the tone of the coverage isn’t baiting hate. We knew the song would cause controversy – and, being an activist herself, Mila was ready for that – but the duty of care for her is paramount.
How did you measure the results, and what were they?
We are still measuring! But editorial has landed globally from Paris to Berlin and every disco we get in. It’s about 300 pieces so far; highlights include The New York Post, front page of The Daily Mail, This Morning and being Beat of the Week on Gaydio.
Mila’s Deezer-branded YouTube video is her most-watched to date, racking up 40,000 views in three days, and her track was streamed more than 3,000 times in the first days of the campaign. Downloads of the original track were up 52 per cent week on week, because of the campaign. The track has also been played in the majority of LGBTQ+ clubs and bars up and down the country.
What's the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?