Creating Memorable Branding Experiences

Alive: School Holiday Activation

The Re-Porpoising Plant designed for Alive and hosted at Grand Central Shopping Centre in Toowoomba, stood out because it was different and conveyed a positive message. It also developed children’s imaginations and took the ‘shopping centre school holiday activation’ to a new and exciting level.

The Brief

Shopping centre activation – particularly those targeted at children and families – represents an opportunity for a destination to communicate its lifestyle values, as well as be a key source of competitive advantage. For these reasons, Alive were clear that they wanted something creative, something that engaged kids’ minds and something that communicated an underlying environmental message. Moreover, the lead-time was just six weeks from brief to execution.

The Execution

A lunchtime visit to the NGV during the school holidays turned out to be the beginning of an inspiring collaboration that was perfect for this brief. A small exhibit of a ‘Fictional Factory’ by Soft Stories had a solid framework that we could expand into a fully interactive, immersive shopping centre activation. It satisfied the engaging qualities the client was after, and a version had been tried and successfully tested, meaning we were working with established creators that could make the short lead-time achievable. As an accomplished experiential agency, our main objective was to design the perfect experience, ensuring it satisfied the positioning objectives as well as the operational mandatories, including diversification of the experience within the Centre footprint to drive visitation to other precincts, and provision of multiple opportunities for branded take-home objects leading to an ‘extension’ of the experience.

As a result, the Re-Porpoising Plant was stretched across four different activations. Starting at the Clock In Desk, children could sign-up and receive their timesheet (remember, it’s a factory!) with a stamp of approval that was dried by jellyfish.

The second stage was the heart of the Re-Porpoising story; children were invited to bring along their recycling to form the raw material required to produce Re-Porpoised Porpoises. At no less than nine points of interaction, children were invited to become integral parts of the factory by turning cranks that pulled the pulleys and drove the conveyor belts that brought the factory to life.

Recycling was ‘sorted’ into categories to become porpoise parts. Used coffee cups went into the ‘Flipper Flattener’ to be ironed flat and then moved on to the ‘Flipper Snipper’ to become flippers. Empty bottles formed the bodies of the porpoises and were filled with vital organs (hearts, lungs, intestines, bones) which, in signature Soft Stories style were handmade out of felt. Paint, glue and a ‘Puff N Polish’ later, the bottle-porpoises have become huggable plush porpoises. Before each porpoise makes the final leap into the ocean, a polaroid camera takes their picture and ‘prints’ it onto a sticker that the participants can take with them.

Moving upstairs to the Workshop, children are invited to be creative through a series of activities such as making and decorating their own safety goggles to wear in the factory and creating a paper smokestack with moving parts. All work created was able to be retained by the child.

At the final activation site, our hand painted selfie wall, kids can take a Selfie with a Porpoise, encouraging parents and children to record and share their experience on Centre social channels.

The whole experience took dwell-time to around 20 minutes, integrated multiple touch points and provided the Centre with branding and post-experience opportunities, such as the competition that kids entered at the workshop.

The Result

The volume of quality interactions across the two weeks of operation were very pleasing to the client: 2,500 kids actively participated in the activation, with an additional 1,700 taking part in just the workshop, delivering an enviable 4,200 interactions. But more than this, the activity was built on social and environmental issues that were important to the client, and via the creativity and connections we can offer at ENGAGE, we made these issues the key content and lasting impression of the experience. We are an experiential agency with significant experience in shopping centre activation and property development activations, so we are in the perfect position to help you communicate with your audience on what your business stands for, and help you curate an experience that ensures they ‘take home’ the right message. We look forward to assisting you with your next activation.