Plan B’s album release of iLL Manors used multiple interesting digital marketing techniques so we decided to dive deeper to dissect the whole campaign and also speak to Jack Melhuish, director of marketing at Atlantic about the campaign.

The campaign combines both traditional and digital media and was kicked off by the release of a tweet-to-unlock campaign that was promoted via digital media and physical posters than included the hashtag #illmanorsalbum.

Fans were prompted to tweet the hashtag to receive a link to a SoundCloud set that hosted tracks from the album before it was fully released. The #illmanorsalbum hashtag also led to an increase in mentions for the official Plan B account (@4planb), more than doubling the daily mention rate of 300 per day to 755 mentions per day for the week before release.

Plan B iLL Manors

An interactive microsite was also launched aligned with for Plan B’s Tag London Campaign in partnership with creative agency, Powster. Fans were prompted to tweet a newly created @TagLondon account with the hashtag #ILLMANORS and say how they feel about the current state of Britain. The campaign had over 5,000 entries in the space of five days and nearly 300 selected tweets were tagged by graffiti artists and then projected around iconic London sites. The locations and images of these messages were then broadcast via the micro-site and Twitter users whose tweets had been tagged were messaged directly.

The peak of the #ILLMANORS hashtag was on release day, with over 1.3k tweets on that day compared to the previous week’s daily average of 220 tweets per day.

To promote the album, Atlantic Records partnered with live stream production company LoveLive to deliver a live stream event of the album launch party to YouTube. The feed received over 100k live streams and over 500k streams of the show on-demand after the event. Although the live stream content was broadcast on the LoveLive YouTube channel, it did lead to an increase in views on the official Plan B YouTube account with a 15% spike in daily views compared to the previous week.

Plan B Facebook tab

Although the album is now released and successfully charted in its debut week at No.1, the wheels haven’t come off Atlantic’s campaign with the focus now on the second single release and Plan B’s performance at the iTunes festival. Fans can win tickets to see the show by voting for their favourite track from the album via a tab on the Plan B Facebook Page. This mechanism shares the fan choice with the friend by posting their choice to their wall as well as prompts fans to join the mailing list to enter the competition.

Jack Melhuish ( Atlantic Records) Q&A

What part of the campaign has been the most challenging?

We had to work with Twitter closely on the delivery of an exclusive album sampler to all those who tweeted using the #illmanorsalbum hashtag. Automated responses on Twitter are usually blocked to prevent spamming but once we explained the nature of the campaign to their team they were happy to work with us to allow it as long as we gave them notification on when we expected big spikes, for instance around when TV adverts featuring the hashtag were running.

What has been the best cost-effective part of the campaign?

Nothing has broken the bank for us. The Twitter graffiti campaign was the most expensive thing but compared favourably to the cost of a single key TV spot. The website is one of our more expensive in the Atlantic portfolio but still cheaper than a couple of statement outdoor sites. The use of the Twitter call to action across all our advertising assets, both physical and digitally, didn’t cost anything and allowed us to use Twitter as a content delivery mechanism for the first time. And the YouTube live stream was subsidised by LoveLive and their brand partnerships. So across all the key engagement pieces we didn’t bankrupt ourselves in terms of marketing spend.

The red line represents YouTube plays and the blue line represents Twitter mentions

Would you have executed the campaign differently in hindsight?

No. I think the entire rollout has been extremely comprehensive in terms of the range of partners, continual flow of music and visuals and creative use of platforms and fan engagement. And it wove digital throughout the entire spectrum of marketing elements including outdoor and TV. For us it’s one of the first campaigns where digital hasn’t just been an important component of the campaign but at its very centre and touching every aspect.

What part of the campaign are you/your team most proud of?

The Twitter graffiti initiative was the most exciting element of the campaign for our team. It tied in very clearly with the themes of the album in terms of Ben’s desire to give the public a voice and forum to vent their frustrations. And involved a really nice integration of social marketing, digital engagement and a grand outdoor statement. Plus travelling around London on a motorbike with high-powered projector on the eve of the Olympics had a frison of danger to it…

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