#2 in the UK box office on opening weekend
Damaris Media undertook UK community promotion for Victoria & Abdul, a lavish period drama starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and dramatising the true story of the Queen’s controversial relationship with an Indian servant in the last years of her life.
We were engaged by Universal to promote the film to women aged 50-70.
We began by using our existing relationships to secure partnerships with two key community groups with high reach into this demographic: Age UK and Mothers’ Union.
Both organisations were excited to distribute a tie-in Companion Booklet featuring their branding, providing publicity for the film as well as igniting community conversations around release. We used our expertise to create this glossy booklet, packed with insightful background, making-of stories and film stills.
At the request of Mothers’ Union, we tailored their version to include discussion questions drawing out a faith perspective. We worked with them to send out a printed copy to every single Mothers’ Union branch across the UK with a letter of endorsement from their Head of Communications. Meanwhile Age UK published their version of the booklet on their members' intranet and shared the public link (on our own website) with partner charities.
These two partnerships yielded very positive results, with a flurry of social media and online buzz from central offices and local branches in the run-up to Victoria & Abdul’s release. Age UK endorsed the film to their Chief Executives Network and ran social media on release weekend which was shared and retweeted by linked charities. Meanwhile Mothers’ Union ran a social media campaign for the fortnight up to release.
In both cases we were especially delighted to see that local groups enthusiastically shared the social media and ran their own news articles, spreading the word even more widely. Mothers’ Union did their own press release about their partnership, getting additional exposure to faith press, and secured an interview on UCB Radio with their Head of Comms about the relevance of Victoria & Abdul to the faith community.
We also set our sights on wider community promotion, hosting a preview for key influencers and community press in the screening room at Universal’s London office. Despite it being the August holiday season, we were overwhelmed with eager responses and so were allocated another 40 seats at two later previews run by Universal. Our guests across these three previews included senior members of Rotary and Chief Executives of Samaritans, Charity Finance Group and many London branches of Age UK; along with community press and digital influencers.
Following up from this our team engaged community press in order to make a noise about the film and secure reviews. We got positive coverage in 17 outlets including Mature Times, Best magazine, National Federation of Occupational Pensioners magazine and BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour; as well as digital influencers such as Your Coffee Break, LondonCityGirl and WitWitWoo.
We also picked up promotion and endorsements for the film through a whole variety of other community organisations such as Rotary Club, National Women’s Register, Charity Finance Group and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, plus various Church of England dioceses. We were thrilled that Osborne House (run by English Heritage) got wind of the Companion Booklet and shared it through their social media over release weekend as well.
We achieved a potential reach of 15.6 million people, which translates to an ROI of 5,615%. We're proud to have helped the film reach #2 in the UK box office on its opening weekend.
"An enchanting film with an outstanding cast, Victoria & Abdul is set to become a period classic”
“Brilliant!” - Best magazine’s review.
“[An] impeccably researched, handsome production” - Mature Times’ review.
“It’s funny, fascinating and really bloody sad, and I loved every minute of it” - WitWitWoo’s blog post.