What We Did when the World Stood Still: Striking PR Campaigns During Coronavirus Lockdown

Screened Out

Just as the world went into lockdown and the mass populus was desperately trying to occupy themselves, staying connected through tech, we introduced this feature length doc about screen time to Brits to remind them that they really should go for a walk rather than scrolling endlessly on insta.

Screened out follows filmmaker Jon Hyatt and his family, who set out on a journey through the life changing effects of screen addiction, how the tech industry hooked global consumers, and its greater impact on our lives. From smartphones, portable tablets and social media, the tech industry has designed fun immersive technologies that have changed the way we communicate and interact with each other but are these devices good for us? Are we too dependent? What keeps us hooked and how is it impacting our children and the world as a whole? Lockdown has seen a nationwide surge in social media use as people struggle to stay connected.

In a recent interview with CNN, Hyatt said, “This is a time when we’re all celebrating bad behaviours.” He continued, “What we found out after talking to the experts here (US) and in South Korea is that these social media and gaming companies have made us addicted by design. The more we use them the more addicted we get. At a time like this when we’re all stuck in our homes, we’re all sitting ducks for tech companies.”

We managed to secure some time with him for a great four page Saturday Times Magazine interview called ‘Generation Wired- The Screen Addicts (Aged 10)’, which also got a front page splash. Screened Out was given four stars by The Times, Metro, Film and TV Now, Dirty Movies, The Morning Star and OC Movie Reviews and enjoyed a successful digital release on 1st June.

The Ground Beneath My Feet

Strike took on this campaign with Lightbulb distribution two weeks prior to digital download release and achieved some brilliant coverage and reviews in a short space of time. This heart wrenching title from Australian director Marie Kreutzer wowed critics at its world premiere at Berlinale last year and has been received equally warmly in the last few weeks, with 4 star reviews in The Guardian, The Observer, Sunday Independent, The Big Issue, Daily Mirror and more. Breakthrough actress Valerie Pachner’s performance was highly praised by online publications including The Upcoming, The List and Film News. The Ground Beneath My Feet is available now to stream or download from all major UK digital platforms.

Synopsis

Lola manages her personal life with the same ruthless efficiency as her job. But when a tragic event threatens to destroy everything that she has worked for, Lola’s dark secrets begin to unravel.

Can You Keep a Secret

It seemed that this lighthearted chick flick, adapted from Sophie Kinsella’s much loved book, starring Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch, White Collar) was the exact kind of lighthearted fun we needed at the beginning of May, when people’s minds were saturated with depressing news stories and general fears of never leaving the house again. We had great fun working with the production team on this review and interview lead campaign and were thrilled to have some interview time with Alexandra. Strike managed to secure interviews in Totally Wired and on the special edition 100th episode of Balance’s podcast, hosted by comedian James Gill. On top of this, we had a huge amount of journalist pickup from nationals, leading female onlines and top film publications.

Print reviews ran in The Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Sunday Independent, Sunday People and more. Getting recognised by core female publications and tapping into both Sophie Kinsella and Alexandra’s fanbase was the driving force behind our work, so it was great to see Cosmopolitan, Heat Magazine and Women’s get behind the film! The release was also supported by the likes of Mark Kermode on his BBC 5 Live Film Review, BBC London, The Times and The Guardian Online and Jason Solomons on his radio podcast. Can You Keep a Secret bought some much needed sunshine to digital platforms on 4th May and can be downloaded from all major sites now.

Synopsis

On a return flight from a botched client meeting, Emma reveals all of her deepest secrets to a handsome stranger when her plane hits turbulence and she believes she is going to die. Emma thinks she will never see the guy again. But when she comes to work Monday morning, Emma’s office is abuzz about the arrival of Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO and founder… and the stranger from the plane. Suddenly Emma is face-to-face with the man who knows every single humiliating detail about her. Over the course of the coming weeks, Emma must navigate her developing relationship with Jack, what he knows of her secrets, and a life she discovers is in need of transformation.

The Ascent

At the beginning of June, our team were very excited to be asked by Goldfinch Studios to help promote the first ever virtual reality film premiere, hosted on Altspace.VR.  With the pandemic making red carpet premieres a thing of the past, journalists, bloggers, film lovers and their Oculus headsets were invited to watch The Ascent; Tom Paton’s indie horror title starring Shayne Ward in Altspace’s virtual cinema on 12th June as part of the platform’s VR Film Festival. The premiere included a Q&A with director Tom Paton, cinematographer George Burt and IndieWire’s executive editor Eric Kohn. The film simultaneously debuted on Goldfinch’s new TVOD channel, BirdBox.Film, before anywhere else and was released on digital download platforms on Monday 15th.

Having recently worked alongside Goldfinch Studios to market the launch of BirdBox.Film, promoting this platform was the driving force of our campaign. BirdBox works to support young filmmakers as well as British talent and this exclusive digital screening of The Ascent marked the beginning of their expansion into horror and Sci Fi. We worked to spread the word about the premiere on targetted british horror, sci-fi and film online publications and social accounts, including Britflicks, Blazing Minds, Flickering Myth, The Student Pocket Guide and more. We also worked with journalists to generate reviews after the premiere and were thrilled to see the writers at Starburst Magazine and Addicted to Media giving the film 5*. The team at Strike secured 18 new reviews for the film in the weekend after the premiere and were very pleased with the quick turnaround on this campaign.

Synopsis

The Ascent follows a group of mercenaries, who are sent to Eastern Europe in the middle of a civil war to retrieve intel. Shortly after the mission, the unit find themselves trapped on a never-ending stairwell; forced to climb or die. To survive, they must revisit their past sins if they ever want to get off. It blurs the lines of action and horror, creating a visually unique cinematic experience. Practical effects, bone crunching fight sequences and existential dread are combined with time travel and big questions about the repercussions of violence and consequence. This was Tom Paton’s third film to premiere at the prestigious FrightFest film festival in London in August 2019.

Storm Boy

This review lead campaign

Synopsis
Vladik Zorich (Dolph Lundgren), crime lord who tentacles permeate the underbelly of a seedy Los Angeles as he deals in guns, gambling, drugs and skin trafficking, finds him himself double-crossed by his most trusted operative Rhona Zyocki (Natalie Burn).
To The Stars

This ‘exceedingly lovely, quietly moving’ coming of age drama starring Kara Hayward & Liana Liberato was one of our May projects. We loved working alongside BlueFinch Film Releasing to spread the word about the film’s digital release on 1st June and to promote this change of direction for the producers, whose resume typically includes horrors It Follows and The Midnight Special. The outcome was great and the team at Strike were very happy to have the film reviewed in eight national newspapers. It was given four star reviews by some onlines with huge presence, including NME, The Irish Examiner, Morning Star, Flickering Myth and Entertainment Focus, as well as being listed in The Weekend Notes’ ‘Top 5 Alternative Films to Watch’ feature.

Some feedback from journos that we loved:

‘The movie takes its time to develop each character in surprising ways’ making the film ‘more than just another mechanical teen movie’- NME

‘An evocative coming of age drama that manages to follow the groove it cuts for itself, and says just enough differently to its predecessors’- Flickering Myth

‘One of the best films of the year’- The Young Folk

‘Powerfully nuanced’- Vulture Hound

‘Impossible to dislike’- The Movie Waffler

Synopsis

In a god-fearing small town in 1960s Oklahoma, reclusive teen Iris (Kara Hayward – MOONRISE KINGDOM) endures a cruel mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates. That is until Maggie (Liana Liberato – IF I STAY) arrived, the charismatic and enigmatic new girl that helps her to come out of her shell. But when the truth about Maggie begins to unravel the community is thrown into a state of panic, leaving Maggie to take drastic measures and inciting Iris to stand up for her friend and herself. Also starring Malin Akerman, Tony Hale, Adelaide Clemons and Shea Whigham.

The Edge of Extinction

This post apocalyptic horror from The Movie Partnership came at a particularly unnerving time in May, whilst the country was at the height of lockdown and imaginations were running wild with thoughts of what if. We set out to target audiences who were excited by the prospect of pushing the boundaries of what they were comfortable watching and likened the film to The Road, Mad Max and The Hunger Games. It was great to work alongside the cast during the campaign, with the leading actor Luke Hobson conducting interviews in Sloan Magazine, Love Horror and a vlog for The Fan Carpet. Reviews were mixed on this small budget indie, but Strike were very happy to secure over 60 pieces of coverage (news pieces, reviews and interviews) from influential horror and mainstream publications including The Guardian, Daily Mirror, Horror News, HeyuGuys, Dread Central, First Showing and more. Edge of Extinction is out on all major digital download platforms now and will be out on DVD on August 24th.

Synopsis
15 years after a global apocalypse, mankind is on the verge of extinction. Civilisation no longer exists, food is scarce and most eke out a living by stealing and killing. One man clings onto life in his bunker, where staying away from others has been key to his survival. But this self-imposed isolation comes to an abrupt end when he crosses paths with another group of survivors and faces an enemy far more brutal and savage than any of them could have imagined.
Piranhas

 

Synopsis

A brutal and stylish mafia thriller based on the book by Roberto Saviano (GOMORRAH). Nicola lives with his mother and younger brother in the Sanitae neighborhood of Naples, a place that has been controlled by the Camorra mafia for centuries. Dreaming of a life lush with designer clothing and elite nightclub bottle service, Nicola and his naive group of friends begin selling drugs, an entryway into the violent, power-hungry world of crime.

Disappearance at Clifton Hill

The psychological thriller Disappearance At Clifton Hill, which included a great cast of Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross, David Cronenberg and was directed by Albert Shin. The film has been met with a positive reception from press and a number of strong reviews have already gone live, including 4 stars in On: Magazine, Caution Spoilers, Nevermore Horror and Filmuforia. To support the film, interviews with the director and Tuppence Middleton took place and many will be going live in the Week of Release.

Synopsis

Following the death of her mother, Abby (Tuppence Middleton), a troubled young woman, returns to her hometown of Niagara Falls and the dilapidated motel her family used to run. She soon finds herself drawn back into a mystery that has haunted her since childhood. As Abby sets out to discover the truth, she must confront a local eccentric (David Cronenberg), convince her sister (Hannah Gross) and face her own demons.