music case: launching Plan B’s album

UK music acts have been some of the most quickest to embrace social media marketing - often as part of a multi-media strategy - to increase word of mouth, sharing and positive interest innew releases.

The launch campaign for the Plan B album, Ill Manors, was a good example of this: it was powered by traditional and digital media working in tandem.

The album was the third studio release from Plan B - whose full name is Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew. Drew's unique musical style combines soul, R&B, garage and other musical genres; his career has also included acting and film-making as well as music. The Ill Manors album was written as the soundtrack for the movie of the same name which the artist wrote and directed.

There were five main components used to engage fans of the unique hip-hop act:

  • A ‘tweet to unlock’ campaign promoted via TV and online video pre-rolls where the hashtag #illmanorsalbum unlocked pre-released tracks.
  • A ‘Tag London’ campaign where fans tweeted their opinions on the social and political climate using the hashtag #ILLMANORS. Subsequently, these were projected onto the Houses of Parliament, Olympic locations and other iconic London venues.

  • More than 100,000 fans took part in the album’s launch party. This was streamed live online via YouTube.

  • Online, mobile and in-game advertising via PS3 and Xbox provided platforms for teasers and homepage takeovers using music, games, film and lifestyle forums.

  • Fans could vote for their favourite album track on Facebook to win tickets to Plan B’s performance at the iTunes Festival.

The combined impact of the various initiatives resulted in 5.9m Facebook fans, 342,000 Twitter followers, 8.3m YouTube views of new album content and a boost in sales. 

Ill Manors became Plan B's second number one album in the UK, and was nominated for numerous best album awards including at the Brit Awards, the Mercury Music Prize, the MOBOs and the Urban Music Awards.