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Have Communications - Royal Danish Ballet Festival

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Company: Have Communications, Copenhagen, Denmark
Company Description: Three decades worth of experience have made Have Communications one of the leading communications agencies in Scandinavia, and over the course of a year we handle 150 projects. Our client list is versatile, and our main fields of expertise are development of storytelling, strategic development of brands, experience-based communication, and direct media contact.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign/Program of the Year - Arts & Entertainment

Nomination Title: Ballet Festival – The Royal Danish Ballet

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Brief summary:

FYI: The attached video tells you the full story in just 4 minutes.

  • The Royal Danish Ballet set out to transform the public perception of ballet through a three-month campaign that resulted in a large-scale ballet festival in Copenhagen.
  • The goal was to show that ballet is not reserved for the upper classes – that ballet is, indeed, for everyone.
  • The campaign budget: 8,000 US$
  • PR value: 900,000 US$.
  • Total campaign reach: 11 million people (Population of Denmark: 5.7 million people)
  • The Danish Minister of Culture concluded that “every cultural institution in Denmark should be inspired by this campaign.”


Ballet has long suffered from an elitist image. As if it was reserved for the upper classes. As if it was somehow excluding the common man and woman from enjoying it.
In late 2017, the Royal Ballet, which is part of the Royal Danish Theatre, decided to combat the elitist image of ballet once and for all.
The Royal Ballet is considered one of the top 5 ballet companies in the whole world. It was established in 1771, making it the third-oldest in the world.
The tear-down of the elitist image was going to happen through a three-month campaign, conceptualized and implemented by Have Communications along with the Royal Theatre, and resulting in a large-scale ballet festival in Copenhagen from June 1st to 9th 2018.

The campaign:

The name of the campaign was Dance along, and the goal was to show the entire country that ballet is for everyone.

Given the fact that The Royal Ballet is paid for by the taxpayers, it truly should be for everyone. A public institution has to legitimize itself to everyone – even people that do not visit the ballet should still feel proud of it. This awareness played an important role in the campaign.

The face of the campaign was Nikolaj Hübbe, the artistic director of the Royal Ballet and a former solo dancer – for 15 years – at the New York City Ballet. Normally, a person of this stature does not leave the safe world of the fine arts. But Hübbe, a former judge on the Danish version of Dancing With The Stars, gladly did.

He set out on a mission to talk to the Danes about ballet – and to invite them to dance along. In shopping centers, on the commuter train, and at workplaces all over the country – including a brewery, an old people’s home, and an asylum center for refugees.

The campaign traveled through Knuthenborg, Ryslinge, Haderslev, Jelling, Aarhus and Amager.

Hübbe also visited one of Denmark’s top soccer teams, Brøndby, taught the players how to dance the ballet and even invited them to dance at the Royal Theatre. Thereby, two worlds of elite performers merged, strategically mirroring the world of ballet with the mainstream appeal of soccer. This ensured that both the players and soccer fans all over Denmark had their eyes opened to the world of ballet.

A significant part of the campaign was the series of challenges that Hübbe gave the Danish public. Through videos posted on social media, the Danes were taught three ballet steps. And on June 2nd, people gathered in downtown Copenhagen and danced a big communal dance under the guidance of the artistic director.

The festival itself combined classic ballets with brand new performances. It combined urban festival parties with intellectual talks on the role that the Royal Ballet plays in Danish society, featuring prominent opinion-makers, including the Danish Minister of Culture, Mette Bock.

In total, more than 11 million people were reached with engaging, inspiring and inclusive stories, videos and dance lessons that assured everyone in Denmark that ballet is, indeed, for everyone.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2017 (up to 150 words).

-Total reach: 11.2 million (Population of Denmark: 5.7 million)
-PR value: 900,000 US$ (Budget: 8,000 US$)
-PR reach: 7.5 million
-Reach of 25 videos produced by Have Communications: 3.7 million
-Video shot on the commuter train was shown 2.3 million times on the commuter train screens over 10 days – for free.
-A branding expert in Denmark’s second-largest newspaper called the campaign “exceptionally well-executed”
-6-page interview with Hübbe in Denmark’s biggest newspaper + full spreads in both the second and third biggest papers
-Multiple national tv appearances, including two of the most popular primetime talkshows
-149 press clippings in total – 56% in local media, thanks to dedicated strategy to reach entire country through these platforms
-During the festival the Minister of Culture personally gave the artistic director the ultimate compliment: “Every cultural institution in Denmark should be inspired by this campaign."