As 2018 kicks off I am reflecting on all the fabulous events and brand experiences we have been involved with in the past 12 months. One of my personal favourites was Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day in Melbourne’s Federation Square in August.
As I look out the window today a rainy and cold winter Melbourne morning is about as far away as it gets, but that was the reality of the situation we faced back in August. It was the second year in a row we had been given the honour of activating this iconic Australian community engagement event, so we had no intention of letting the weather get the best of us.
The objectives of the activation were unchanged from last year. From a top-line point-of-view, Cancer Council use Brand Activation to create awareness of the day and its specific role in raising much-needed funds for cancer research and support. This particular project had a secondary objective with a more strategic longer-term goal; that is to attract a younger audience through digital interaction and storytelling. Aware that this a slow burn, we were resolute that building on last year's experiential Hashtag Wall with even more opportunities to personalise and share was a more effective option than completely changing tack or going too niche.
Despite the size and popularity of the Hashtag Wall - where fans posed with themed props and then uploaded the image to their social media channels - I really loved the Message Wall. Now, I have the luck of having never come in contact with cancer either through family or friends, so I obviously can't speak with true authority, but I can say that I was really moved by the honesty of people and the positivity they showed in the face of such adversity. The messages were beautifully devoted and I think this made the experience of reading them by people like myself so much more poignant. All I can say is thank you to the people of Melbourne for honouring our activation with your messages. This why we do Experiential Marketing.
The Growing Wall also relied on people-strangers, really-to come into being. Passers-by were invited to add a mini-daffodil to the installation, transforming it from not-much-more than a cage on a giant wall to a living, growing embankment of beautiful colour and hope as the days passed. City workers were able to see the Growing Wall literally grow in front of their eyes. Not only do these amazing installations make great make visual content for digital channels, but it is this type of personal experience that younger audiences are familiar with and seek. It's a crowd-funded world these days and people recognise what is, and what is not, authentic. They are then far more likely to put their name to it when it delivers authenticity.
The set-up for Daffodil Day was indeed gruelling. A late, cold night. An early, freezing and wet morning. (Did I mention that the weather was poor?) But honestly, all of that did not matter when we stood back and looked at what we had created, in partnership with our friends at Alive Events. All of those nasty grey clouds were soon forgotten when that bright and hopeful yellow filled your eyes and heart. I can see why Daffodil Day is such a favourite for a lot of people, and why it is so important that it continues to grow. Working with clients on strategies to change and develop a brand is one of the more rewarding aspects of working in a brand events agency. We look forward to working with the Cancer Council for many years to come and we'd love to see you down at Fed Square next year, adding your personal touch to one of the experiences that relies on you to come to life.