The Cultural Icons campaign: telling Australia’s story

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Author: Coordinate

When Coordinate devised The Cultural Icons campaign last year, it brought together the collective might of 12 national cultural institutions and highlighted Canberra’s role as a showcase city for cultural tourism.

It was a groundbreaking marketing strategy, embedding collaboration among the country’s most iconic institutions including the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Library of Australia, Australian Parliament House and eight other institutions.

The pitch was simple, but the message was nuanced.

The aim was to inspire and increase instances of multi-institutional visits to the national cultural attractions in Canberra by interstate visitors, thereby extending their length of stay and increasing economic returns.

But it went further than that—spearheading the narrative that Canberra’s major institutions offer a unique perspective on the Australian story with all Australians able to find themselves reflected across the icons —“there’s a piece of every Australian in Canberra”.

Coordinate partner and director Warren Apps said, “These institutions tell our Australian story, allow us to understand that story, learn from it and use it to build confidence and pride for the present and future.”

The campaign worked.

Despite 2021 being the epicentre of COVID lockdowns and interruptions, The Cultural Icons campaign was able to establish a platform that reached millions of Australians.

Coordinate is delighted to build on that success and launch phase two of the campaign this weekend for an intensive three-month period as the country readies itself for reopened tourism and travel.

This phase of the campaign will provide an intensive and sophisticated push to drive consideration of Canberra as a destination as well as shifting perceptions around the depth of the cultural experience on offer at our national institutions.

With confidence levels returning to pre-pandemic levels and the ACT leading the nation on vaccination rates, the first two quarters of 2022 offer a significant opportunity to leverage the increased desire for domestic travel, new experiences and reconnection with friends and family, according to Warren.

Tourism Australia’s Travel Sentiment Tracker (October 2021) demonstrates this rebound, with optimism amongst Australian travellers swelling as lockdowns and travel restrictions ease. Consumer confidence is now just below the series peak whilst travel intention is at the highest point since early 2020 with 48 per cent of Australians intending on a domestic trip in the next six months.

The time to draw people into Canberra, for a unique personal and travel experience, is now.

And joining the 12 cultural institutions is the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

The Phase Two campaign boasts a mix of tactics aimed at driving action through the funnel – from awareness and consideration to action. It includes a series of unique partnerships including:

  • Channel 7 Weekend Sunrise broadcast – this Sunday, James Tobin from Weekend Sunrise will be at Lake Burley Griffin for a series of interactive live crosses from locations including the Balloon Festival, the National Library, Van Gogh Alive, the NGA and more.
  • Qantas partnership – a partnership to deliver content to 1.2m Frequent Flyers.
  • Travel Oz – a 30-minute Travel Oz show will be dedicated to the Cultural Icons – airing nationally on Channel 7 and internationally through a series of broadcast partnerships.
  • Beam – a unique partnership has been forged with Beam to activate their scooter network in the National Triangle. This will include a special Cultural Icons pass plus swing tags on scooters, digital activations on Beam channels and more.

These partnerships are supplemented with screens throughout the Arrivals Hall at Canberra Airport and a targeted TV buy in NSW.

The digital component of the strategy is particularly sophisticated. It brings together a number of partnerships with data providers to enable deep targeting to people who have a confirmed travel booking (flight, hotel or event) to Canberra in the weeks leading up to their visit.

In addition, there is an advanced mobile campaign to target visitors who are already in Canberra. This part of the campaign identifies mobile phone users in hotels and targets them specifically with tactical advertising about current events and exhibitions. In 2021, there was an 80 per cent uplift in visitation to one of the Icons following exposure to the Cultural Icons campaign through the mobile channel.

“There’s an energy to this campaign that speaks to the success of the original ideas and the collective might of our premier cultural institutions. But it goes further. Our nation is emerging from Covid restrictions and Canberra is very quickly shaping up as a destination that can go further than others in delivering a unique and memorable escape. Or as we have said in the campaign slogan ’13 perspectives, 1 experience. Yours.’”

You can view The Cultural Icons campaign here.