To build excitement around the V&A’s David Bowie exhibition, we combined relevant ad-funded radio programming with integrated messaging.

The challenge

In April 2013, Absolute Radio joined forces with London’s Victoria and Albert museum to produce ‘BOWIE: The Definitive Story’. With the stunning ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition at its heart, the V&A wanted to work with a media partner to help bring the exhibition to life and to showcase the iconic status of Bowie.


Our Approach

David Bowie is one of the most famous musicians of all time and an icon to many of our listeners. Therefore we wanted to do something very special to really bring this exhibition to life. A series of ad-funded programmes all focused around the life of Bowie was our solution.


The Idea

In the lead-up to the exhibition’s opening, we told the story of David Bowie’s life – from his early life in post-war Brixton right through to his new album, The Next Day – across three hour-long programmes. Presented by Tim Minchin, Bowie’s story was told by those who know him best – friends and musicians who have been part of his life over six decades – and used the memorabilia, lyrics, photos and clothes on display at the V&A to tell the story. Contributors included George Underwood, John Hutchinson and Suzi Ronson, while artists such as Bastille revealed the influence Bowie had had on their creative direction.



The shows and the V&A exhibition were heavily promoted across the entire Absolute Radio network, with pre-recorded trails and presenter live reads encouraging listeners to tune in to the documentary and visit the museum. The trails included snippets of content to tease the upcoming show, transmission details and information about the ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition at the V&A. The V&A also had ownership of each of the hour-long documentaries with V&A-branded credits to inform listeners about what to expect from the exhibition. We produced additional video content to host online at and on Absolute Radio’s YouTube channel, featuring V&A curators talking through the most iconic items in the exhibition.


David Bowie special on Absolute Radio - My night has a purpose

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