The Sound of Music still captures hearts at 40

Twentieth Century Fox marks The Sound of Music's 40th anniversary with Collector’s Edition DVDs and appearances by the film’s star, Dame Julie Andrews.

Campaign The Sound of Music 40th Anniversary DVDs
Client Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
PR team DSA PR
Timescale August 2005-January 2006
Budget Less than £55,000

Last autumn, iconic film The Sound of Music celebrated its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Twentieth Century Fox released both Sing-Along and 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition versions of the movie on DVD.

PR activity was timed to coincide with a three-day UK promotional tour in November by the film’s star, Dame Julie Andrews.

To position the Collector’s Edition as a must-own classic for the whole family, and highlight the availability of the Sing-Along version.

Strategy and Plan
The main challenge was promoting the box-sets to a diverse audience. Meanwhile, Andrews’ time was limited, and she refused all print interviews.

To overcome these hurdles, agency DSA PR instigated a number of non-print media and public-facing activities. These included selling-in interviews with Andrews to TV and radio shows such as The Paul O’Grady Show, and a red-carpet event at the British Academy of Film and Theatre Arts.

The latter was followed by an exclusive screening and Q&A session with the actress at the National Film Theatre. DSA also organised a DVD signing session with Andrews at Harrods, and secured a week-long promotion on GMTV, featuring a ‘Sound of Music Sing-Along’ at five shopping centres, including Brent Cross and Blue Water.

To give journalists another angle, DSA arranged a press trip to Salzburg, Austria, where the musical was filmed, and set up interviews with actress Charmian Carr, who played Liesl, one of the von Trapp children, in the movie.

Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign generated 362 items of coverage in national and regional print and broadcast media. Highlights included TV interviews and film clips on programmes such as This Morning, The Heaven & Earth Show, Film 2005 and Blue Peter, and a Sky Movies Special. Print features appeared in Hello!, Woman’s Own and the Scottish Sunday Mail, among others.

DVD reviews spanned BBC radio, as well as titles such as The Sunday Times Culture and Best.

Four weeks after the release, sales targets were exceeded by 12 per cent.  Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment managing director John Stanley has praised the campaign for persuading media to take a fresh look at a film that has seen many reissues.

John Millar, who attended the Salzburg trip for the Scottish Sunday Mail, says: ‘DSA must have known that when exposed to the fairytale setting of the film, even an old cynic like me would succumb to the magic of this movie.’

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