Cas Client

2 Minute Silence

Le Challenge
The Royal British Legion is a UK charity that provides support and assistance for members and families of the British Armed Forces and serves as the official custodian of Remembrance. The Legion also owns “The Poppy Appeal,” which raises funds and provides ways to commemorate those who lost their lives at war. It also oversees the national two minute silence held each year on Remembrance Sunday.

In 2010, The Legion wanted to amplify messaging around the work it does supporting the Iraq and Afghan generation of serving and ex-service troops and their families. It aimed to appeal to the “digital generation” to be seen as modern and relevant to younger audiences of potential supporters.

Burson-Marsteller sought to take the Remembrance period’s most powerful symbolic asset, the national two minute silence, and make it relevant to a new audience. How? By recording a completely silent track entitled “2 Minute Silence” and releasing it into the UK music charts. Along with the track, Burson released a celebrity-packed “music” video for Remembrance Sunday 2010.

To promote the silent track and video, as well as to communicate The Legion’s key messages, Burson executed a campaign that relied solely on earned media and social media. The campaign particularly targeted mainstream and youth-oriented channels such as MTV, Sky Sports and NME.

Since the campaign targeted a digital generation of new supporters for The Legion, Burson first created a Facebook page to support pre-order purchases of the single and provide an owned-media hub for galvanizing a community in support of the single. The Legion’s existing social media profiles were fully exploited and youth-oriented blogger outreach was conducted to further raise awareness and drive participation with the campaign.

“2 Minute Silence” entered the UK charts at number 20 on Remembrance Sunday 2010. It was the first time a silent track charted in the UK and was played in full on the Radio 1 Chart Show. The following further evidences the success of the campaign:

  • More than 20 leading celebrities secured to appear pro bono

  • More than 260 pieces of media coverage

  • More than 35,000 Facebook likes in three weeks

  • More than 200,000 views of video trailer on YouTube

  • More than 16 million reached through celebrity social media support