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Case Studies


OMD UK ‘Sing Up’ radio campaign

OMD UK ‘Sing Up’ radio campaign

This campaign won the Innovation Award for the creative use of Radio at the GCAP Radio Planning Awards.


Sing Up is a programme designed to make sure that singing is at the heart of every primary school child’s life. They believe that singing has the power to change lives and help to build stronger communities.

OMD UK’s challenge:  Get children singing again!

Sing Up set OMD UK with the challenge of getting primary school children in England enthused and excited about singing. They had to engage teachers, parents and children, which is not as easy as it sounds, as they had to get full support of the teachers in order to reach out to the children.

But, teachers are busy people. They have targets to hit, and tight guidelines about what they can teach. OMD UK set a target of recruiting 500 schools to take part.

The Solution

The Big School Sing Up

The idea: to showcase primary school children singing on their local radio station during the school run times.

The campaign used local radio on a national level to capture teachers’ and children’s’ imaginations by harnessing the sense of locality and community which every school is part of.

OMD UK managed to persuade 64 local radio stations to work with them and use their influence within their local community to create excitement and involvement.  The local presenters are local celebrities, and radio stations are community hubs that speak to people on their level.

Uniquely, the campaign was delivered using no advertising.  OMD UK knew from the start everything had to be part of station editorial and not appear commercial.

The campaign transcended the typical trade of airtime to be something that everyone involved had a stake in the success of. Within the guidelines laid down by OMD UK, the stations were allowed to develop activity that they felt would be most powerful, giving them part ownership.

Implementation: How OMD UK got Children Singing

OMD UK spent a lot of time with the stations from the beginning, dealing not just with the advertising sales department but also with the presenters and programming teams.  This meant that they got genuine support from everyone.

They ensured that the campaign didn’t feel like another worthy, national initiative with a big advertising budget, but something more local and personal that people had a real chance to get involved with.

They did this by knitting the message into the fabric of each station through on air presenter endorsement, using the stations themselves as event venues, school visits from outside broadcast teams and the final opportunity to be heard performing on air

In total, all the 64 radio stations across England were part of a 5 week programme.

Stage 1- Recruitment

In the first two weeks, teachers were invited to events at the stations where they could meet local celebrities and sign up to the campaign.

Programming Directors gave a presentation on Sing Up and how they could get their primary school children singing. This enabled OMD UK to get support from the teachers from the start, as all of them were incredibly keen to get a visit from their local station to record the children singing.

Stage 2 - School Visits and Uploads to the Website

Word spread fast. 

By week 3, the stations were inundated with calls from local primary schools wanting to participate.

They actually had to assign ‘project managers’ at the stations to deal with the volume of interest.  The programme was also getting coverage in the national media, driving interest still further.

In weeks 3 and 4, the live reads and on air plugging drove people into the website to upload their songs and let the children hear what other schools in their area had been singing. 

The radio stations were also travelling out to schools to help them record their entries for the on air finale which gave the children something to really look forward to. The schools were really receptive and made a huge effort to involve pupils.

Stage 3- The Showcase

The final week was the climax, with the children’s songs being broadcast in the morning and afternoon ‘school-run’ segments. The presenters were reminding people to listen in and wait for their school’s appearance.  The children were thrilled to hear themselves on the radio.


The results exceeded all of OMD UK’s expectations. 

Over 1,000 schools either had a visit from their local station or recorded audio to upload to the website. Double their target.

Almost 25% of all the schools in the country visited the website or requested more information

OMD UK delivered £2m of media value over and above our budget.

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