The launch was not just about selling cinema tickets, it was about raising awareness and generating debate with the hope of bringing real societal change. An issue-based, independent film would naturally attract a more niche audience but to kickstart the debate the campaign would need to get the film’s message to wider and more politically-active audiences and people who could relate to Daniel Blake’s circumstances.
Increasingly more people were becoming politically minded. Through social listening, we identified that public frustration was growing and awareness of social welfare issues was increasing.
Months prior to the film’s launch, we reached out to influential political groups such as unions and local political parties seeding the trailer and sparking conversation about its issues. People were invited to watch the film prior to launch, their emotional reactions captured, turned into content and amplified digitally. The content was upweighted around topics that drove public commentary such as Brexit, Doctor’s Strikes and the US Elections.
As momentum grew, a partnership with left-leaning Trinity Mirror armed people with important information about the current system through informative content.
The film’s protagonist even had his own column to discuss the issues raised in the film. Launch day saw a Daily Mirror takeover, complete with graffitied masthead and homepage takeover. People were encouraged to apply a bespoke filter to their Facebook profile pictures in support.
The campaign was a box office hit, over doubling its projected revenue; media was 1.6 times more effective than average.
The film broadened its audience, beyond London & South East with 46% of ticket sales from northern regions.
More than 1.1m people engaged with the campaign on social media and over 210k posts were shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Over 16,100 people applied the Facebook profile filter, and the film remained a social media hot topic for 7 months.
1/3 of readers said the campaign completely changed their opinion on social welfare.
The film was even discussed in Parliament, where Jeremy Corbyn, urged PM Theresa May to watch it to understand the ‘institutionalised barbarity’ of the UK’s benefits system.