It had been six years since the Foo Fighters had a No.1 album. In music that’s a lifetime, back then Ed Sheeran hadn’t even released a single and the charts didn’t count streaming numbers.
For the release of Foo Fighters’ 9th album “Concrete and Gold”, we had to make the rock band feel relevant in a music landscape now dominated by young urban artists and disposable dance tracks.
To top it off, Foo Fighters were only in the UK for a limited promo trail spanning a few days and a single gig.
What we did
Rock ‘n’ roll might have all but disappeared from the airwaves, but its spirit lives on. It’s in the ripped jeans, the leather jackets and converse. It’s in Jack Daniels and the spirit of rebellion which young people will always identify with.
We couldn’t engage todays music streaming youth by simply promoting the album, we had to promote the lifestyle which Foo Fighters music embodies.
We found our opportunity in fan folklore. Foo Fighters have always toured with a private pub backstage, a near-mythical place known fondly as ‘the Foo Fighters Arms’. Every fan has that “friend of a friend of a friend” who has managed to get a pint there.
We’d make the myth a reality, bring the pub to life for the public, and centre our entire campaign around it. By blowing stories of the pub out to the nation we could truly bring the spirit of the album to life.
First we needed our pub.
We approached a friend who owned The Dundee Arms in Bethnal Green. After some persuasion that this was definitely a good idea the landlord let us completely rebrand his pub for a week. We enlisted art directors Xander Mitchell to rework everything from exterior signage to interior décor. We turned the sound system up to 11 and worked with brewers Truman’s and Five Points to create bespoke beers named after album tracks from Concrete and Gold.
Upstairs, a pop-up shop sold limited edition Foo Fighters Arms t-shirts, numbered lithographic prints, skateboards and even a full English tea set with the band’s portraits on!
Second, we needed to get people in through the door. Geo- fenced digital formats ran throughout the week promoting the daily agenda to locals. From Foo Fighters themed quizzes and gig after-parties. We also bought native placements in the listings sections of sites like Time Out to ensure that people looking for a great night out knew all about us.
Finally, with the venue rocking we needed to bring the story to life nationwide. A combination of PR and paid support saw us invite crews from UNILAD, NME and Vice to cover the stories unfolding in the pub and distribute them nationwide.
The pub drew the punters and success was threefold:
1. The pub was full all week with 3-hour queues round the block.
2. The Foo Fighters Arms received extensive coverage – NME’s video tour hit 500k views and UNILAD’s coverage received over 10k shares. Social chatter generated 9.5 million impressions. It was even picked up and talked about on Later… with Jools Holland, reaching over 1 million live BBC viewers.
3. The stories engaged a new audience, who went on to listen to the new music and propel Concrete and Gold to number 1 in the album chart. It sold more units in week one than any other album that quarter, and was the best selling international rock album of 2017.