Communications specialist for good
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Amnesty International/ Championing Free Speech

Russell Brand stands up for freedom of expression at the Secret Policeman's Ball, March 2012.

Russell Brand stands up for freedom of expression at the Secret Policeman's Ball, March 2012.

 
 

amnesty international/re-inventing the secret policeman's ball

Helen worked with Amnesty International UK and US as Director of Communications for the Secret Policeman’s Ball in 2012, developing a new approach to highlighting the importance of freedom of expression to a global audience.

The Secret Policeman's Ball was first established in 1976, for 2012 Helen worked with Amnesty International UK and Mother London to breath new life into the Ball and bring Amnesty International to the attention of the mainstream audience. Working closely with Al McCuish and Kit Hawkins (now of Sunshine), Helen brought comedians from around the globe together for one night only at New York's Radio City Music Hall. 

Featuring Coldplay, Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman, Stephen Colbert, Mumford & Sons, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig and Reggie Watts, the show was bigger than ever before. 

Helen also lead on ensuring the Ball translated to more than a broadcast message simply consumed by the audience. She had a firm belief that the real impact from the Ball would come when people felt part of it themselves, and that they could own the idea of free speech. She developed a community engagement strategy targeting cities across the UK and US, as well as students and comedy lovers. The outcome was thousands of people putting on their own Balls, taking part in comedy experiences and live performances, and spreading the message of free speech amongst their friends and wider networks.  The legacy was a new audience feeling that the Ball and free speech belongs to them. 

As Director of Communications for the project Helen also secured hundreds of media headlines for the Ball, Amnesty International and freedom of expression. She built up thousands of followers on social media engaging in conversation not only about the comedy but the importance of comedians being able to stand and stage and speak their minds. She managed partnerships in both the UK and the US with the broadcasters and promoters of the show, including Channel 4, Epix and Barclaycard, overseeing advertising, media buying and creative concepts. 

All images courtesy of Amnesty International/Chad Turner.


Full communication service: 

  • Communications strategy and key messages
  • Management of all Global PR
  • Management of social media
  • Management of paid advertising
    • Media planning and buying
    • Creative development
  • Management of marketing with TV broadcasters
  • Development of campaign creative collateral
  • Development of Community Engagement Strategy
  • Pitching and managing sponsor relationships
  • Management of promotional photography and film
  • Development of community and volunteer engagement programme
  • Development of Amnesty Member engagement
  • Management of experiential activities
  • Management of red carpet and on-the-night comms
  • Crisis communications
 
 
Zarganar, a Burmese comedian, was imprisoned in 2008 after criticising the government's response to Cyclone Nargis. He was released on 12 October 2011, Zarganar was released fromprison following an amnesty. He appeared on stage at the Secret Policeman's Ball in March 2012.

Zarganar, a Burmese comedian, was imprisoned in 2008 after criticising the government's response to Cyclone Nargis. He was released on 12 October 2011, Zarganar was released fromprison following an amnesty. He appeared on stage at the Secret Policeman's Ball in March 2012.

Kristen Wiig performs an act written specifically for the Secret Policeman's Ball. 

Kristen Wiig performs an act written specifically for the Secret Policeman's Ball. 

Mumford and Sons take to the stage. 

Mumford and Sons take to the stage. 

Hannibal Buress makes a stand for freedom of expression

Hannibal Buress makes a stand for freedom of expression

Jon Stewart opens the Secret Policeman's Ball at New York's Radio City Music Hall, March 2012.

Jon Stewart opens the Secret Policeman's Ball at New York's Radio City Music Hall, March 2012.