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Case Studies


Sky One ‘Ross Kemp in Afghanistan’ PR campaign

Sky One ‘Ross Kemp in Afghanistan’ PR campaign

Best Practice from Way to Blue.


Ross Kemp journeys to Britain’s front line in Afghanistan with his BAFTA winning documentary team to experience first hand the British Army’s attempts at bringing peace to one of the world’s most dangerous war zones and to witness the Army’s attempts at bringing about a sea change in this hugely volatile region.

A hard hitting and thought provoking documentary series for Sky One, ‘Ross Kemp in Afghanistan’ focuses on the British Army’s deployment in Helmand Province and features exclusive access to the Vikings – 1 Royal Anglian.

The series chronicles the experiences of British soldiers as they adapt to life in a hostile environment, battle against a fanatical enemy; the Taliban, and attempt to win the hearts and minds of the local population. Ross also meets soldier’s families in the UK to see how they cope when their loved ones are away as well as meeting the families of soldiers who didn’t make it home alive. 

Ross said, "Conditions in Afghanistan are intolerable. The heat is stifling and there's the constant threat of snipers, RPG attacks and land mines. During one engagement between B Company and the Taliban we were pinned down by enemy fire in open ground; bullets fizzed by inches from our heads, hitting the ground on either side of us.

“It was the most frightening experience of my life. I’ve never hugged the ground as tightly as I did when that happened. It's definitely the closest I have ever come to dying. I was so scared."


The challenge online was to maximise awareness prior to and during Sky One’s candid and brutally honest five part series in order to drive traffic to watch the programme.

A clear strategy was employed to leverage the stunning HD footage, a British TV first for a war zone.

The return of the BAFTA award winning documentary team was an ideal platform upon which to build.


“Over eight weeks, a two phase online campaign was implemented to generate awareness of Ross Kemp in Afghanistan,” says Way To Blue Senior Account Manager, Robin Invest. “Phase one generated maximum word-of-mouth prior to TX through successful online seeding; phase two continued to drive awareness and traffic to watch each episode.”

“We encoded two bite-sized, two minute teasers, for every episode and added an ‘end card’ to each displaying the time, date and channel, so they closed with a prominent call to action. Both clips were distributed each week, one as an exclusive and the other to all target websites which accompanied additional editorial features, news and photography.

Homepage exclusives were secured on Timesonline, AOL, ZOO, and mediaguardian for up to four days at a time, in addition to several clips being uploaded to YouTube for added publicity and for those websites who were unable to host their own video.

These clips were viewed over 100,000 times and received over 100 comments; all comments were moderated and responded to in order to engage with fans and maintain dialogue.

Supporting coverage with a call to action to watch the videos online was secured in eight newsletters including FHM, Nuts and ZOO. Aside from generating stand out coverage on TV blogs, regional and general entertainment websites we targeted military sites securing coverage on the MOD oracle and Soldier Magazine.

Social Networks and communities were instrumental in contacting Ross Kemp fans, e.g. The Ross Kemp Appreciation Society and here we drip fed information of the programme and his involvement over the course of the campaign. 

“Ross Kemp in Afghanistan was a critical and commercial success for Sky One and Sky One HD," comments Andrew O’Connell, commissioning executive for Sky One.

"The new media presence that Way To Blue formulated complemented the print and broadcast campaign, showcasing footage from the landmark series and was an integral element in driving tune-in,”


- 44 sites live with every site including TX details

- Coverage across some of the UK’s biggest entertainment, male lifestyle, news and TV websites such as Times Online, MSN, FHM and Radio Times

- Over £97,000 worth of media value achieved for key placements

- Total known opportunities to see (OTS) over 64,000,000

- Over 168,000 video views to date

- Coverage in 8 newsletters to over 742,000 subscribers

The online campaign delivered above its KPIs with a healthy ROI of 10:1.


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