For 5 minutes and 55 seconds on Thursday at 9am, listeners to iHeartMedia’s 650 U.S. music stations and websites were simultaneously treated to what some regard as the greatest rock song in history, “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Queen. In a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises, the radio group took to the airwaves to help market the Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic, as part of what iHeart called the biggest roadblock in history.
Also in support of the film, which hits theaters Nov. 2, iHeartRadio released a video featuring 20 artists across genres talking about the impact of Queen, Freddie Mercury and their legendary music. Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins, Shawn Mendes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Luke Bryan, Mike Shinoda and Backstreet Boys are among those who shared about how they've been inspired by Queen.
The alliance also included an all-day digital takeover across the iHeartRadio network, including iHeart.com and station websites, featuring streaming audio and banners, which the company said would “provide unprecedented instant awareness for the film’s release” on Friday.
The movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” is centered around Queen from their early days — and how Freddie Mercury “broke barriers and stereotypes to become the beloved performer the world remembers him as — leading up to the band's iconic performance at Live Aid in 1985,” the iHeart blog recounts. The movie stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello. It is directed by Bryan Singer.
“There’s an amazing moment in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ where the executive at EMI Records, Ray Foster, says that radio will never play ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ because it’s too long,” said Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer for iHeartMedia. “He obviously was wrong. We’re thrilled to help celebrate Queen and this incredible film with a first-ever massive roadblock that only a company with iHeartMedia’s unparalleled reach could achieve.”
iHeart’s promotion of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the second alliance with a high-profile flick this month. As Inside Radio reported, the company partnered with Warner Bros. to promote “A Star is Born.” As Inside Radio reported Oct. 10, the campaign made liberal use of native organic mentions across broadcast radio, digital platforms and social media. Meanwhile, some 700 stations had air talent share their reactions to the first trailer, while iHeart-syndicated hosts took to social media to promote the film.