Creating Memorable Branding Experiences

SY Spring Festival by Yarra One

You could be forgiven for thinking a property development event is rarely this cool, but in fact, if you are a developer, you MUST make an impact – and the brighter the better. A blank canvas in the heart of South Yarra allowed us to ‘synergise’ fresh themed décor, tasty street food and entertainment, resulting in an authentic community experience.

The Brief

Our client – EcoWorld, a Malaysian developer newly landed in Australia – was looking to create a genuine connection with the community surrounding the future site of their 360-apartment, residential development ‘Yarra One’ in the heart of bustling South Yarra. They were also looking to build local interest in the project, ultimately leading to sales and a positive mindset when the trucks roll in in six months and stay for about two-and-a-half years. Essentially, they were looking for a sponsorship activation, product launch and community engagement event all in one!

The Execution

No matter where you are, or why you are there, urban street events need to be original and provide enough interaction to ensure people have a good time, share a good time and walk away happy and pleasantly surprised. To achieve a consummate experience, there needs to be layers of activity that work well together. The EcoWorld event, aptly (without a letter to spare!) named the ‘SY Spring Festival by Yarra One’, was designed with a particular look and feel that allowed the event designer to create perfect synergies between contributing elements.

First and foremost, the ‘urban oasis’ aesthetic was ideal for the season and inner-city location. By using a soft, tropical colour palate through décor, activation and even live art pieces (more about that later), the mood of the entire space was set confidently and necessarily in the face of the city dankness that surrounded it. Even the abundant plant life was chosen for its large-leaf variety, and hung as well as grounded to provide a complete visual range. It should be noted at this point that this event took place in a carpark adjacent to a disused warehouse, adding yet another layer of synergism to the event, in that the ground level of the new building will become an indoor, multi-purpose community space called ‘The Atrium’.

Entertainment content at this event was also selected based on its brightness and shareability. The DJ might these days be considered ‘old skool’, but the hedonistic, upbeat tunes were exactly what the space demanded. Fun games of ping pong on brightly decaled tables and spectator-driven giant Jenga challenges were completely frivolous, but perfect for sharing with new or old friends in the urban oasis.

Artist Ellen Porteus is known for her quirky, wallpaper style illustrations, and with various collaborators across the weekend completed a wall mural that of course spoke directly to the aesthetic of the event. Banana-sized pieces of colourful chalk were laid about the place, beckoning other, yet less Instagram-worthy, “artists”, to take part in the shared creative outpouring. The result of these scribbles in no way mirrored the professional contribution of another artist on hand: fashion illustrator Sarah Darby, who provided personalised portraits to those happy to be drawn rather than draw. A truly local flavour was added with a selection of pop-up designer market stalls offering artisan-made jewellery, soaps and scarves. By providing springboards for interactivity and creativity, the construct of the space was alive and personalised. It seemed to evolve as each brush stroke was placed upon the wall or new group of kids tried their luck at Jenga.

Food provided guests with yet another chance to create their own experience, this time by the range of cuisines and servings on offer. For those looking for a sweet treat or coffee break, Melbourne icon St Gerrys was deep frying delicious Greek donuts and Coe&Coe was providing the caffeine. Lunch was served hot and soulful from Gumbo’s New Orlean’s kitchen or Nem Nem Vietnamese. Things kicked into overdrive on the second Sunday of the two-weekend event when food was provided for free, giving EcoWorld every chance of creating positive good will be appealing to the stomach of locals!

The Result

Everywhere you looked across those two weekends there was activity that told a bright and engaging story, and aligned with the client’s overall vision for the event. From the way the space was dressed, to what took place, to who was there and how it was experienced required the coordination of a leading experiential agency, such as ENGAGE. Like EcoWorld, we were delighted with attendances across the key days and the way that the local community shared and created the space.

“ Working with the ENGAGE team was a great experience from start-to-end. They had four weeks to turn a carpark into an amazing urban festival that engaged local residents - young and old - and aligned with our values around community and lifestyle. When it comes to troubleshooting issues leading up to and during the event, they knew how to managed them very professionally. Fantastic job, Thanks team! ”

— Katrina Leong | Manager, Sales and Marketing