2020 - A year in review
13 January 2021
Throughout 2020 and its many challenges we have been inventive and adaptive to our clients’ needs, we have worked from home, we have made personal sacrifices and we have had much appreciated support from all our partners.
Set out in this article is a selection of highlights of our past working year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives a flavour of some of the fantastic projects and work that has kept us busy in 2020. We are particularly proud of the establishment of our new Virtual PR and Communications division, bringing together our PR and creative content expertise to offer clients from across the entertainment and cultural sectors a wide range of bespoke virtual communications solutions.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about any of the projects highlighted below, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
The year got off to a flying start with the campaign for Premier client Sam Mendes’ epic film 1917 , starring clients George Mackay and Dean-Charles Chapman. Premier’s Personal team worked closely with Universal Pictures and eOne on a global press and awards campaign, securing a staggering 114 award wins, including: 3 Academy Awards, 7 BAFTAs and 2 Golden Globes.
The Film team started the year in snowy Yorkshire, on the set of Roger Michell’s THE DUKE, starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. The film is based on the remarkable true story of Kempton Bunton, a 60-year-old taxi driver who stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery.
January also saw the theatrical release of BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN). Premier produced the World Premiere in London, and also created an immersive experiential to launch the film. Fans were given the chance to channel their inner Harley Quinn and enter the colourful world of Gotham at a retro roller disco pop-up in London.
The Entertainment team were hard at work in January providing PR for client World of Wonder’s first ever RuPaul’s DragCon UK. Premier hosted 300 media and influencers at London Olympia, with highlights including the iconic Queens Walk, which saw all the Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race US and UK strutting the pink carpet, RuPaul DJing on the Bud Light sponsored Main Stage, various celebrity drag makeovers and exclusive announcements of two new original TV shows.
The Classical Music team had a great start to 2020 too, with client Signum Records taking home the prize for ‘Best Choral Performance’ at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards.
In February we were delighted to unveil Scenes in the Square, a dynamic trail of eight classic movie statues that has become a new tourist destination in London’s Leicester Square. The project, for Heart of London Business Alliance, had been over a year in the making, and later in 2020 was named PR Event of the Year at The Drum Awards.
The experiential and partnerships teams were also hard at work in February on the release of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, delivering a partnership with GO APE and creating an experiential event at Westfield which gave audiences the opportunity to race against a digital version of the iconic hedgehog.
In the 2020 film awards season, Premier represented an exceptional range of titles, working with distributors, producers and filmmakers on campaign strategies that reaped a spectacular 76 Oscar® nominations (leading to 12 wins), and 73 BAFTA nominations (leading to 14 wins), including 3 BAFTA and 7 Oscar® nominations for Best Film/Picture.
The Theatre team were also busy in February with the World Premiere of Leopoldstadt, the new play from Tom Stoppard directed by Patrick Marber. The month also saw the Film team attending an unseasonably warm Berlin Film Festival to handle seven films at the event.
As the reality of the pandemic hit, things at Premier continued apace in March. The Classical Music team worked with The London Philharmonic Orchestra to launch LPOnline, a package of free digital activities to connect people through music during lockdown. This included an Instagram campaign called ‘Lean in and Listen’ which saw the Orchestra work with celebrities such as Dermot O’Leary, Russell Brand, Fearne Cotton, Jameela Jamil and Giovanna Fletcher.
The TV team were busy in March handling the campaign for Sky’s critically acclaimed series SAVE ME TOO, whilst the Film Team handled the unit publicity for Reggie Yate’s directorial debut PIRATES, starring newcomers Elliot Edusah, Jordan Peters and Reda Elazouar.
The Partnerships team also responded to lockdown by working with the Royal Mail on a partnership with the film MILITARY WIVES to create a campaign celebrating the importance of letter writing.
Premier kicked off April with the launch of our new Virtual PR and Communications division, bringing together our PR and creative content expertise to offer clients from across the entertainment and cultural sectors a wide range of bespoke virtual communications solutions. Since its launch the virtual team have delivered over 70 different virtual events and campaigns, which included in April the global junkets for NORMAL PEOPLE, attended by hundreds of outlets. The campaign for NORMAL PEOPLE was a cross agency project and resulted in the show becoming one of the biggest hits of 2020 both in the UK and internationally.
Also in April the Film team handled the UK campaign for the Sky Cinema Original film, FOUR KIDS AND IT, based on the much loved Jacqueline Wilson book. Originally planned for a theatrical release, the film was instead successfully released exclusively on Sky Cinema with the campaign adapted towards families having to stay indoors.
April saw the Personal team helping to curate a long video of thanks for the dedicated NHS staff and their hard work during the pandemic. Some of their brightest stars sent in their contributions, all of which were collated into one long #ThankYouNHS. Take a look here.
Meanwhile, the creative team were focused on adapting to the new normal, working with client Littlestar Services to create a series of promotional videos for West End musical MAMMA MIA! This included a very special film broadcast on ITV London news. The video, which features self-filmed at-home footage of the cast, was the idea of musical director Marcus J Savage, who worked with Premier to compile and edit the content. This is part of our team’s ongoing work keeping fans of the show up to date through the close down by a range of social media and digital activities.
As part of Premier’s work celebrating 80 years of the iconic children’s publisher Puffin, April also saw the team unveil a series of new online initiatives created to keep children and families entertained during the lockdown. Initiatives included a daily Puffin Storytime and draw-along session on the Puffin YouTube, Instagram and Facebook channels, a Puffin Podcast series, an online book festival - the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams - as well as updated Puffin Schools resources to facilitate home-learning.
May saw the release of one of the stand-out TV series of the year, the incredible I MAY DESTROY YOU. Premier’s TV team handled the series from script to screen, crafting a campaign that sensitively and creatively launched the show to the world.
With responsibility for international co-ordination between marketing, social, imagery and press teams at HBO and the BBC, Premier worked across the creation and management of all materials into a comprehensive media pack.
The three leads; Michaela Coel, Weruche Opia and Paapa Essiedu - all represented by the Premier Personal department - undertook an extensive spread of global media, dominating column inches and airwaves during transmission.
Also in May, Premier’s client Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts launched ‘Mountview Live’, a series of live-streamed conversations with leading figures from the theatre and entertainment industry. The series has included guests such as Dame Judi Dench, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Glenda Jackson, Noma Dumezweni and Sir Lenny Henry.
Meanwhile the Partnerships team were working on THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE:SPONGE ON THE RUN, with a campaign that included a major on-pack promotion with Minky sponges across multiple products.
June saw the Classical Music team working closely with London’s Wigmore Hall, to launch its new live streaming series. Under the impetus of Executive Director John Gilhooly, the venue streamed 20 live recitals in one month on their website and on BBC Radio 3. The series features some of the biggest names in the UK’s classical music scene and was lauded by the press for its ingenuity and stoicism.
One of July’s highlights was our work with charity War Child to launch their Emergency Coronavirus Crowdfunder. The appeal raised crucial funds for children in countries whose lives have been torn apart by conflict and are now faced with the life-threatening dangers of Coronavirus. War Child’s incredible supporters from across film, television, music, art, sport and theatre donated exclusive items and experiences made available to the public to buy, auction for, or enter into a prize draw to win. Thanks to the committed support of ambassadors Carey Mulligan, Marcus Mumford and Vanessa Kirby, the Crowdfunder surpassed its impressive target of £300,000.The classical team were kept busy in July by The Verbier Festival, which hosted a month-long virtual event in place of its usual live performances in the Swiss Alps. The Virtual Verbier Festival included concerts, radio broadcasts, masterclasses and interviews in addition to exclusive new performances recorded by some of the Festival’s biggest stars.
July also saw the first ever virtual Cannes Film Festival. Premier’s events and online team collaborated with our client the BFI to develop an interactive We Are UK Film virtual presence for the festival, including information resources, networking, events and online screenings. Although a world away from the usual Cannes experience, the virtual UK Film Centre was lauded by the industry and helped set new standards for how online film festivals can thrive.
August saw Premier’s Stunts team set its first virtual Guinness World Record, embracing the new normal by uniting global communities on Zoom and Teams for client Bloomsbury Publishing. The event united Harry Potter fans from 40 countries across 6 continents (all of them except Antarctica!) boarding their brooms simultaneously in a mass Quidditch celebration on the anniversary of the fictional World Cup Final. It marked the release of illustrated 'Quidditch Through the Ages'.
The TV team was busy in August handling the launch campaign of LITTLE BIRDS, the Sky Atlantic series starring Juno Temple, whilst the Classical Music team worked with Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra who brought together 29 musicians from 14 countries during the midst of the lockdown to create a virtual orchestra raising money for vulnerable women and children in Mexico. The “Impossible Orchestra” video was watched over 500,000 times on YouTube and raised over £300,000.
The Venice Film Festival was welcomed as a ray of sunshine by the Film team in September. 15 members of the team were able to jet off to Italy for what has turned out to be one of our busiest festivals ever. The team handled 14 films including a number which have since found themselves in awards contention.
Despite an earlier cancellation, the Tsinandali Festival was able to defy the pandemic and went ahead for four days in September in the beautiful Georgian countryside, hosting top musicians who were able to perform to a live audience. Premier’s Classical Music team were on hand to provide PR support for the event.
During the first lockdown Premier had been consulting with Heart of London Business Alliance on the development of the recovery and cultural strategy for London’s West End, and in September we were thrilled to launch the “Cultural Heart of London” strategy with a hybrid live and virtual event, filmed and broadcast globally from the Odeon Leicester Square by the Premier creative team.
September also saw Premier pick up a series of industry awards, including a BASE Award for our campaign to launch JOHN WICK, and the Drum PR Award for Best Event for Scenes in the Square – for which we were also thrilled to unveil the latest statue, of Harry Potter.
In October the Film team were busy on the launch of TIME, the moving documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Garrett Bradley, on a black American family’s separation as the father serves a 60-year prison sentence. The October launch on Amazon Prime Video closely followed the summer’s Black Lives Matter movement, giving the Film team an opportunity to link the challenging themes with commentary by mainstream, news press. The team also targeted key black voices in the UK entertainment industry to champion the film.
Widely regarded as the ‘Oscars of Classical Music’, 2020’s Gramophone Awards took place online for the first time in history, with Premier providing PR for the event. Winners of the ten categories, plus the coveted special awards, were announced on a live-stream featuring presenters at Glyndebourne, acceptance speeches from across the globe and world-class performances from winners past and present.
The Classical team were also busy working on the release of 8 songs from isolation with Apple Music. Conductor Oliver Zeffman commissioned eight leading composers and singers for a 40-minute film – the first opera ever shot on iPhone. The eight songs were written to reflect on the recent period of isolation, and each was accompanied by a stunning film directed by Billy Boyd Cape.
In a CALL OF DUTY Global first, Premier’s Partnerships team brought together Activision and Lionsgate and Legendary to integrate iconic Horror Film IP – Saw and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - into THE CALL OF DUTY / WARZONE Seasonal Halloween Event. The partnership gave players the opportunity to play as Jigsaw or Leatherface, creating an unmissable Halloween event in CALL OF DUTY – THE HAUNTING OF VERDANSK.
October was also a busy month for the stunts and events teams, who worked with Netflix on a major activation to launch the new animated film OVER THE MOON. This saw Premier take over Chinatown in both London and Birmingham to create spectacular Chinese lantern installations tied to the themes of the film.
October also saw the much anticipated release of BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE FILM. The Film team at Premier provided publicity for the comedy sequel, which was one of the most talked about releases of the year.
November was a busy month for Partnerships, who were delighted to work with PlayStation to help to create the launch campaign for the PlayStation 5, including a firmly tongue in cheek partnership with Greggs, who revealed their own launch box with a selection of their iconic sausage rolls to celebrate one of the biggest entertainment events of 2020.
In November the classical team were kept busy working with The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, who presented a live-stream concert of music by Hans Zimmer for a pre-Hanukkah celebration. The free online gala featured celebrity guests such as Bette Midler, and conductor Lahav Shani led the orchestra in a stunning concert of the film composer’s works.
In December the film team was involved in the launch of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, Regina King’s debut directorial feature, ahead of its January global Amazon Prime Video release. The team handled its world premiere in Venice where it received critical acclaim, and its UK launch at the BFI LFF, presented by lead cast member and client of the Personal team, Kingsley Ben-Adir.
The TV team wrapped up a busy year with the campaign for TIN STAR: LIVERPOOL, the return of the hit Sky series. The team’s work included a range of features and even working with Everton Football Club to help promote the show via their social media channels.
The Classical team worked with The Ivors Composer Awards 2020, which hosted a ceremony on BBC Radio 3 to announce the winners of 14 Ivor Novello Awards. Winners included Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, jazz legend Julian Joseph and innovative trumpeter and composer Yazz Ahmed.
The Theatre team were also on hand in December to manage the Royal Premiere of Pantoland at The London Palladium, attended by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family.
Throughout the lock-down period we have consulted with many of our clients on strategies where their output was not able to rise above the parapet but which will feature in due course when Covid has become a bad dream.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about any of the projects highlighted above, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.