Cannes Lions

Sound of Sixteen


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To build appreciation for radio’s importance, we decided to literally recreate history. Research showed no awareness of this story, so we wanted modern Ireland to experience that iconic moment first hand. Our challenge was how to tell this story in a way that the Irish public couldn’t ignore – how could we break through the noisy Centenary (100 years as an Irish republic) celebrations. Inspired by the rebels of 1916, whose objective had been to break through the wall of British rule in Ireland so that their proclamation could be heard across the world, we had our idea. To take over the airwaves as the Irish rebels had, and broadcast the exact same message as the original Morse code that announced our country’s freedom in its entirety, at the exact same time and date, in a way that was inescapable to the Irish public.


We worked tirelessly to engage all major radio stations, news outlets and social influencers so they would take part in our conversation; and it worked. On April 25th 2016, at 5:30pm, every major radio station in Ireland played the ‘Sound of Sixteen’, exactly one hundred years after Ireland’s first radio broadcast. The stations dedicated their own time to discuss the story on air (more than we asked of them), with ten interviews on the topic also taking place. Our social influencer strategy saw all stations as well as six major news outlets push out our content on Twitter and through their own channels, so any non-radio listeners could also hear our story play out.

It ran once, simultaneously across every major radio station in Ireland. With just an 80 second broadcast message, we harnessed an entire day of widespread, quality National coverage.


This campaign had no media budget, relying only on its ability to engage media owners through storytelling. We had to create enough interest so they would amplify our message to reach an audience. It was incredibly successful in achieving this.

Media Outputs:

With €0 media spend, we achieved earned media of €250,000:

- 37 major radio stations played our ‘Sound of Sixteen’ broadcast at the exact same time and date as the rebels had played their broadcast 100 years earlier. We achieved a blanket broadcast, taking over the airwaves with our message, reaching at least 60% of the population through radio alone.

- The 37 stations shared our message and content through their own digital channels.

- 10 of the stations broadcast interviews with members of our agency on the topic.

- 6 leading news outlets covered the story, including Ireland’s two largest newspapers.

- #thesoundofsixteen trended number 1 on Twitter in Ireland, with 1.8 million timeline deliveries in only 12 hours – a big accomplishment for our small island.

Target Audience Outcomes:

Radio’s significance in Irish history had been forgotten, with no awareness amongst modern Ireland. As a direct result of our campaign, the Irish people and Government officially acknowledged it. 3 months after our campaign, the Minister for Communication, Denis Naughten, unveiled a commemorative plaque for National importance at the location of Ireland’s first radio broadcast in 1916. Our campaign changed Ireland’s attitude from no appreciation of radio’s significance, to forever immortalising its importance in Irish history.

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