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£20k in 20 days - global online campaign from Billie Piper is huge success


 Sat 3rd March 16:00 

More than 35 different pieces of content reached more than five million people, sparking more than 50 national media headlines and smashing its £10,000 fundraising target.


Olivier Award winner and Collateral star Billie Piper has announced the winner of her Broadway charity competition today.


The Doctor Who actor launched a huge online campaign offering fans a once-in-a-lifetime Broadway experience in exchange for a £1 donation to her chosen charity, The Primary Shakespeare Company.


The campaign, which saw extensive use of video across multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, reached more than five million people organically, sparked more than 50 national media headlines and smashed its initial £10,000 fundraising target.


Billie Piper became a household name after two years playing the nation's favourite companion in the hit relaunch of Doctor Who. However she has proved an even bigger hit on stage, when her recent portrayal of a woman driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Simon Stone’s adaption of Lorca’s classic, ‘Yerma’, saw her sweep up a record-breaking six Best Actress Awards, including the coveted Olivier Award.


Talking about the campaign, Piper said: “As a child I really struggled in school, I just wasn’t connecting with my lessons and the curriculum, and I found that really frustrating. Drama changed all of that, it gave me a purpose and a passion.


“I know there will be so many children right now feeling exactly the same way and this is why what The Primary Shakespeare Company does is so important.


“We ran this competition to help raise the much needed funds so they can continue their invaluable work and I can’t thank everyone enough for their beyond generous and heartwarming support. We’ve raised a staggering £20,000 which will be enough for The Primary Shakespeare Company to work with another two schools next year.”


Using a wide range of creative, including personal photos and videos from the actor, the campaign ran for three weeks, incorporating more than 35 different pieces of specifically created content, including films, mini documentaries, photos, graphics, gifs, emails, Twitter moments and online stories.


The campaign began with a bang on the 5th of February when Piper teased fans on Snapchat about her upcoming exciting news. Posting an image with a rose emoji, fans and media went into complete meltdown over what it could be, with national press claiming she was due to announce a comeback to Doctor Who.


After days of speculation, Piper announced the news on her official channels; the chance to hang out with her in New York and catch her Broadway hit. In the video launch, Piper explains why she was so keen to support this charity and gives full details on the competition - a video that reached more than a half a million people in the first 24 hours.


One of the campaign highlights was a powerful and emotive video set to the popular anthem, Fight Song, that documented Piper’s prolific career and in which the actor, again, praises her access to drama at school. The video, entitled 'Our Journey to Broadway’, climaxes with “let’s help give others the same opportunities”, before directing viewers to buy tickets.

This, the campaign manager, explains, was to instil and build on a sense of pride in Piper’s fans. Pablo O’Hana said: “Billie’s fans really feel like they’ve been on a journey with her; some have been with her since the 90s pop-star days, many joined during the Doctor Who era and some joined more recently. But on some level, they all feel like they’ve been through a lot with her. Justifying their sense of pride and dedication was really effective.

“Performing on Broadway has always been a childhood dream of Billie’s so the ‘Our Journey to Broadway’ video was a really powerful way of showing fans that without them and without drama, none of this would be happening, and the reaction was really, really lovely, it clearly hit the right note.”


Other videos included professional trailers for the play, selfie-style videos on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories, and lots of emoji use. All the videos were adapted to fit the channels specific ratio, including full length video adverts on Snapchat, and featured built in direct links, meaning fans would only need to “swipe up” on their screens to buy a ticket.


Wrapping up, a hilarious outtakes reel with Piper joking; “please don’t let all my f-ups be in vain!” was released, with the actor tweeting right up until midnight of the closing date.


Neil Carter from The Primary Shakespeare Company said he was “overwhelmed” with the success of the campaign. “This money will change the lives of countless children and open up drama to those who thought it out of reach.”


Pablo O’Hana, added: “We set two clear objectives in this campaign. Firstly, to raise money for The Primary Shakespeare Company so they could work with more schools and more children. And secondly, to raise awareness about the charity, the work they do and to emphasise the importance of drama in today’s education. The response on all accounts has been incredible.”


Custom made gifs recounting highlights of Piper's career were used to emphasise opportunities that wouldn’t have arisen without access to drama at school, including her recent win at the Olivier Awards. 


Coinciding with Piper’s return to TV in early February, the campaign was shared by the likes of Fearne Cotton, Lilly James, David Walliams and Douglas Booth, successfully straddling the time-zone precision of capturing both Piper’s main audiences in the UK and US.


The winner, Hannah Anderson, will jet off to New York in three weeks to catch Piper’s sold-out mega-hit, Yerma, and hang out with the star backstage.



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