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News Analysis 9 Nov 2020 - 4 min read

Try some good news? Marketers, agencies and media owners unite to reboot Melbourne’s economy

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

Some of Australia’s leading brands, agencies and media owners have pooled together millions in seed funding and donated inventory in a bid to rebuild confidence in Melbourne’s economy. With CBD footfall slowly returning, brands including ANZ, AFL, Australia Post, BMW, Carlton Draught McDonald’s, Myer and NAB are leading the charge to revitalise the city’s consumer spending.

“Look at the list of the brands - you’ve got competing banks in ANZ and NAB, alternate codes in Tennis and AFL but we had no issue getting their marketing teams involved.”

Simon Lawson, General Manager, PHD Melbourne

What you need to know:
  • Led by Clemenger Melbourne, PHD and OMD, numerous brands and media owners have united to “relaunch Melbourne”.
  • The campaign, ‘Let’s Melbourne Again’, is backed by Carlton Draught, McDonald’s, Myer, NAB, BMW, ANZ and more.
  • The founding group of 21 brands raised $1m in seed funding to launch the initial campaign.
  • PHD’s Simon Lawson told Mi3 media owners multiplied that amount “significantly” by donating free inventory across TV, digital, outdoor, print and radio.
  • Clemenger’s Jim Gall says the process was “far easier than expected”, with all parties interested only in doing good, with no hint of “territorial troubles”.
  • PHD's Simon Lawson says the Melbourne template could also be harnessed by other cities and states


Let's Melbourne again

As Melbourne slowly begins to return to normality after ending its 112-day lockdown, some of Australia’s biggest brands are joining forces to help reboot the city’s economy.

A localised campaign, ‘Let’s Melbourne Again’, has generated over $1m in seed funding from some of the country’s largest advertisers.

The strategy was simple, according to Clemenger Melbourne CEO, Jim Gall, whose agency led the creative aspect: “build confidence and get people spending again”.

“Over the course of 28-weeks we have been conducting research into consumer confidence and sentiment around Melbourne and there was a high double-digit decline in investment in everything from auto through to tracksuit pants,” Gall says.

“We knew coming out of this, consumers would need to bounce back in a big way and be reminded of what makes the city such a big part of Melbourne’s appeal.”

The founding member list includes 21 brands - 7-Eleven, AAMI, ANZ, AFL; Australia Post; BMW, Bupa, Carlton Draught, City of Melbourne, Coles, Committee for Melbourne, Crown Melbourne, La Trobe University, McDonald’s, Myer, NAB, Officeworks, Origin Energy, PwC Australia, Slack, Tennis Australia and Village Cinemas.

Gall says the brands were all signed up in under a week and the entire process from brief to execution took less than two months.

Each of the founding businesses will unveil a series of initiatives over the coming weeks designed to encourage the community to get out of their home and back into the city. Australia Post, for example, has launched a commemorative stamp featuring the campaign slogan.

PHD Melbourne’s General Manager, Simon Lawson, says increased CBD footfall and traffic in major retail hubs is the  campaign's sole measure of success, which Lawson says is refreshing.

“It was interesting dealing with so many brands who normally would want to know the ROI of every dollar spent. Suddenly they are just happy to put those metrics aside and focus on getting the city on its feet,” Lawson says.

“The million dollars in seed funding and the millions more in free inventory from our media owner partners just goes to show this wasn’t done with selfish intentions but a wider push to kickstart the local economy.”

It appears the campaign is already having an impact, with Melbourne City Council reporting three times the amount of foot traffic in the CBD over the last week.

Last Saturday Bourke Street Mall, one of the city’s most popular retail districts, showed a 153% spike in footfall when compared to the four-week average.

Road traffic for the CBD also saw a double-digit spike throughout the week, as cafes were able to open, albeit serving a limited number of patrons.

“We need this to continue and a big part of this will be coming back to work and getting people consistently back in the office,” Gall says.

“The signs are positive but if we look at Sydney, just over 35% of people are back in the CBD consistently throughout the week, so there is still a ways to go.”


No territorial troubles

Gall and Dawson agree the most encouraging signs to come out of the “unique campaign scenario”, is the collaborative approach by all marketers.

“Look at the list of the brands firstly, you’ve got competing banks in ANZ and NAB, alternate codes in Tennis and AFL but we had no issue getting their marketing teams involved,” Dawson says.

“That’s what has made this campaign standout and reflect the current situation we find ourselves in – it can’t just be about individual brands at this point, there needs to be some level of collaboration to accelerate growth.”

Dawson says the same applies to the campaign’s key media partners such as the Herald Sun; Channel Seven, 3AW, Southern Cross Austereo (Fox FM and Triple M), JCDecaux and Facebook, which all worked to ensure the campaign gained as much reach as possible.

“It’s been unbelievably well covered in Melbourne, you can’t go far without seeing some element of the campaign. It’s been given a lot of airtime and has been plastered over the papers and digital assets,” Dawson says.

“They are all channels that have been impacted heavily by Covid in their own right, so to have them invest so much of their inventory to support this goes to show the value of the campaign.”

Gall says there was also a mutual understanding with brands from an agency perspective.

He says by taking a clear purpose to every brand involved, Clemenger and PHD were able to avoid any “territorial sensitivities” that could have arisen.

“Generally, there would be some concern if you had heard one of your clients was engaging with another agency on a product you aren’t aware of,” Gall says.

“For example, TBWA is a sister agency of ours that handles ANZ, but because we approached these brands with a top-down, Melbourne-centric, brand purpose there seemed to be less concern around those ‘a-typical’ agency apprehensions.”

Dawson says it remains to be seen whether the campaign becomes an ongoing thing or whether its lifespan is limited.

However, he says the brands, owners and agencies are all open to continuing the campaign and developing new extensions where necessary.

“I think we want to be clear that this is not a political movement or driven by any undertone of that nature, but it is something that needs a lot of attention and hopefully can provide Melbourne with a spark,” Dawson says.

“There’s also no reason why it can be used in different contexts for other states, as many major city CBDs are still struggling to generate high levels of consumer demand and spend.”

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Josh McDonnell

Senior Writer

Market Voice

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