The launch of a new British musical

On the 22nd of June, 2004, Elton John and Working Title unveiled their new show Billy Elliot the Musical at a press conference at the Royal Academy of Music, announcing that the musical would open at the Victoria Palace Theatre on March 11, 2005.

AKA were engaged as the full service advertising and marketing agency for Billy Elliot the Musical and for the last 10 years have continued to create innovative media, marketing, and creative campaigns.

The Creative

Take a look below at how the artwork has continued to evolve.

Broadening the Reach of the Campaign

With an ambition to always innovate, AKA has over the last decade secured a number of media firsts and bespoke non-traditional advertising formats for Billy Elliot the Musical.

Thames Clippers

Thames Clippers

Billy Elliot was the first West End show to wrap the Thames Clippers, promoting Billy Elliot to 500,000 commuters, and domestic and international tourists.

Westgate House

Westgate House

AKA created a new advertising site on the M4 corridor by placing two large format outdoor advertisements on an empty building awaiting redevelopment.

Visible from both the eastbound and westbound carriageways, and even from aeroplanes landing at nearby Heathrow airport, the new and unusual ad sites gave Billy Elliot a hugely increased profile to Londoners and visitors just before it opened.

Video Wall at Westfield

Video Wall at Westfield

Billy Elliot took over the video wall at Westfield and ran engaging advertising across the three digital displays facing the Holland Park Roundabout.

Using a brand new creative route designed to showcase the fun and humorous side of the show, the video wall was the ideal opportunity to introduce a new marketing message for the show.

With its key London location and proximity to Westfield shopping mall, Billy Elliot was promoted to a staggering 2,800,000 people over the duration of the campaign.

Heathrow Light Box

Heathrow Terminal 1 Light Box

The Media team were a driving force behind the installation of a new, eye-catching light box in Heathrow Terminal 1 – 3 tube station, located above the escalators connecting the ticket hall to the platforms and secured the site exclusively for Billy Elliot for its first summer.

The new lightbox was in a prime position reaching 160,000 people a week, making Billy Elliot the Musical the first choice for any tourists wanting to experience one of the greatest British musicals ever!

Billy Conquers Broadway

To capitalise on the hugely successful win of 10 Tony Awards for Billy Elliot the Musical on Broadway, AKA launched a ‘BILLY CONQUERS BROADWAY’ campaign.

broadway hero image

We ran this over a wide range of activity including out-of-home media, a Tesco on-pack promotion with apples, online media, and print media.

This resulted in a direct increase in ticket sales based on an average weekly capacity of 72% pre-Tony win to 89% weekly capacity post-Tonys.


waitrose apples


To celebrate the opening of Billy Elliot the Musical on Broadway, AKA secured an on pack promotion on 500,000 bags of Waitrose apples.

Promoted in 196 stores across the UK, with a consumer prize of a trip to New York to see the production, the partnership sought to raise the profile of Billy Elliot in the West End amongst the target audience of ABC1 females.

waitrose apples

Yorkshire Crisps

Drawing on the northern links and heritage of Billy Elliot the Musical, we worked with northern based luxury hand-cooked crisp brand Yorkshire Crisps to run an on pack promotion.

The competition to win a theatre trip to London for a Billy Elliot weekend was promoted across 250,000 units of Yorkshire Crisps’ three most popular flavours – Natural Sea Salt, Cheddar and Caramelised Onion and Chardonnay Wine Vinegar.

Promotional bags were stocked across the UK in Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, John Lewis food halls, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

waitrose apples

2010 - 5th Birthday

Billy Elliot the Musical celebrated five brilliant years in London with a special 5th birthday gala performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

The production welcomed back to the stage the three original Billy Elliot’s – Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire – who were part of a spectacular finale choreographed for Billy’s fifth birthday featuring 19 past, present and future Billys.

To celebrate the 5th Birthday the AKA promotions and distributions team created a unique promotional opportunity with the Evening Standard, promoting the event in the paper, on vendor boards and with Billy promotional staff in tutus distributing the evenings paper.

2014 - Billy Live

On 28 September 2014 the matinee performance of Billy Elliot the Musical was broadcast from the Victoria Palace Theatre to cinemas around the UK and internationally.

The live relay topped the UK and Ireland weekend box office, a first for an event cinema release, taking £1.9m.

AKA designed the Billy Elliot Live advertising creative and the DVD cover for the Home Entertainment release of Billy Live a year later.

2015 - 10th Birthday

Since 2005 Billy Elliot the Musical has continued to bring its special joy and magic to the people of London and later, the world - 10 million in all, across five continents.

Gala Performance

On the 12th of May 2015 Billy Elliot the Musical celebrated its 10th Birthday with a Gala performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Further Extension

On the same day, Billy announced a further extension to its booking period which will see the show continue at the Victoria Palace Theatre until at least December 2016.

UK Tour

To complete a trio of celebrations, it was also revealed that Billy Elliot the Musical would be embarking on its first UK tour, starting in February 2016.

AKA is proud to have been part of this incredible journey.

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