Universal Pictures Ireland
SING! Auditions begin January

In a movie world dominated by franchises, we were launching a brand-new property: SING! That meant no pre-existing awareness on which to build. We were starting from scratch. Our mission was to successfully launch this property and meet the high global expectations and KPIs. Box office targets were ambitious, demanding we break with traditional audiences for animation films. Our message also risked being lost in the seasonal clutter as the first Illumination Entertainment January release.


Ireland has a rich history in song and music in everyday life. Consider the quantity of music festivals, internationally recognised artists and the love of talent shows! Culturally, we knew this film could be a hit, we were aiming for a smash hit.

We know that 34% of Irish people experience low energy and motivation during the month of January (iReach, 2016). Whether it’s going to the cinema or starting a new TV series, consumers rely on media to improve their mood.

Our insight was that:

“January is hard. Music is the way for me to escape the blues”

Solution and Execution

Music is the primary reason Irish people listen to radio (IBI, 2015) and the incredible musical score is what sets SING! apart.

Our strategy was to bring the characters to life, with the smash hit soundtrack at the heart of our campaign.

High-impact takeovers of key music-related media properties ensured cut through and were the perfect environment to showcase the 65+ unique cover tracks. We wanted to use the film to sell the film in a way that could not be ignored.

Across our campaign activity, the music produced by our characters would be the pick-me-up that our audience needed.

Knowing that high-impact activity in key music environments would be key for cut-through, we identified several opportunities across TV, Digital and Radio.

At the heart of our campaign was SingFM a brand new digital radio station that we created specifically for the launch, designed to showcase the characters and soundtrack for two weeks leading up to launch.

People were driven to visit SingFM through 6-day station homepage takeovers, 102 social posts and 216 20” promos across x7 stations.

MediaCom and Universal Pictures Ireland identified Media Central as right partner for SingFM, given the strength of their national network for reaching young families, their collaborative approach to partnerships and fantastic production capabilities.  

The partnership featured a competition with money-can’t-buy prize: an exclusive studio recording experience in London, mentored by CeCe Sammy, the vocal couch to major recording talent.

AV activity pushed teasers and trailers 7-weeks ahead of launch including a spot in the X-Factor final early in the campaign to launch the trailer as well a strategic placements in films such as Shrek Forever.

A Spotify takeover was strategically timed to coincide with a SING! playlist becoming available.

Also, a large-scale cross-station promotion was done with 3-Sales (TV3, 3e, Be3) including a full takeover on the weekend of launch and integration into Ireland AM with interviews and live OB from the Irish previews.

OOH activity was predominantly large-format and backlit, to showcase the creative toolkit in the dark winter environment. Placements focused on one of the key characters.


Audiences turned out in their thousands at the Irish cinemas to see the performances of the loveable characters, resulting in the BIGGEST opening of all-time for an original IP animation in Ireland

SING! opened at #1 at the All-Ireland Box during its opening weekend grossing over €1.6m, 37% of the total market.

It went on to gross over €3.5m, one of the highest grossing films of 2017 in Ireland and the 4th highest grossing animation globally amongst non-franchise films.

1/4 Irish people were exposed to the SingFM campaign, reaching over 781k people on air.  The promotion resulted in a +44% higher competition entry than the industry average.

The SingFM radio activation was one no other market internationally could emulate and has changed the way assets are now developed for future films by Universal international.


  • Shortlisted for Best Innovation at The Irish Sponsorship Awards 2017
The Marketing Sentiment Survey 2017