Once Upon A GDPR

What We Did

The brief was to generate coverage, buzz, awareness and traffic for Calm, the meditation and sleep app, and, in particular, for its bedtime stories for grownups known as Sleep Stories.

Among the ways that we responded was by producing the world’s first, and so far only, bedtime story comprising a long and tedious extract from GDPR, the EU’s new privacy legislation – launched in the same week that GDPR came into force.

The story was narrated in soothing tones by Peter Jefferson, the revered announcer who read The Shipping Forecast on the BBC radio for nearly 40 years.

“Privacy Policies Are Boring. This Company’s Answer Is Brilliant.”


“GDPR’s Best Use So Far: Bedtime Story For Grown-Ups.”

The New York Observer


The result was huge, international coverage, in Tier 1 media and every other tier – along with general buzz, amusement and praise.

It was one of many ideas that helped Calm grow from an app with nine staff in a one-bedroom apartment into Apple’s App of the Year, the first mental health unicorn and the world’s top-grossing health and fitness app.

Key Points

  • Huge global coverage
  • Spreads virally
  • Calm "#1 Trending App"


The coverage made Calm the “#1 Trending App” on the US app store.

Over 500 pieces of coverage, including:

  • Mashable
  • The Telegraph
  • The Press Association (UK) – and many local media
  • Inc.
  • The Verge
  • Quartz
  • MSN – twice/different articles
  • Yahoo – multiple times/places
  • The New York Observer
  • San Francisco Business Times
  • Reddit
  • iNews (UK national paper)
  • BT.com – twice/two different articles
  • 30+ U.S. TV stations

And hundreds more.

Postcript: “Once Upon A GDPR” went on to become a star exhibit in a major London exhibition called 24/7 (October 2019-February 2020), and featuring 50 works of conceputal art on the non-stop nature of modern life. The final exhibit in the whole show comprised two sets of headphones, to be used for listening to … Calm’s Sleep Story, “Once Upon A GDPR”.