Follow the yellow brick road
In 2008, ANZ Bank embarked on a $1 million sponsorship of the Australian tour of Wicked, one of the world’s most successful musicals.
As the presenting sponsor, ANZ’s investment reflected the bank’s commitment to the community and the community’s passions for the arts. Wicked also complemented the organisation’s other sponsorship properties of Sydney Festival, the ANZ Championship (netball), ANZ Stadium and ANZ Ladies Masters (golf).
ANZ was keen to capitalise on the unprecedented success of the production overseas, which had been recognised for attracting a new, younger theatre audience.
Agencies: Haystac, Mitchell and Partners, emitch and Mocom
ANZ engaged several businesses from within the Mitchell Communication Group to develop a campaign to leverage ANZ’s investment. These included marketing communications agency Haystac, digital creative agency Rodeo, media agency Mitchell and Partners, digital media agency emitch and mobile marketing agency Mocom.
Haystac and Rodeo were briefed to develop a six-month sponsorship leverage campaign (which was extended to 12 months as the campaign evolved). The brief covered anything outside of above the line advertising spend, and ANZ’s main objective was to engage with customers, stakeholders and their staff in a fun, interactive way.
It was important for all programs to activate the sponsorship through clever brand connections, positioning ANZ as a leader in an already competitive and busy sponsorship environment.
“We recognised a need to use big, creative ideas to generate awareness of ANZ’s sponsorship,” says Lia Pacquola, account director at Haystac.
Strategic insights from Haystac and Rodeo in developing the strategy included:
- traditionally it is difficult to gain editorial coverage for sponsors
- big, creative ideas that provide value for consumers or demonstrate clever brand connections
- are essential for consumer awareness, so
- brand activation and creative PR leveraging was crucial to the success of generating awareness of the ANZ partnership.
In developing a strategy, Haystac proposed PR and marketing recommendations that were vital in maximising exposure for ANZ. The multifaceted campaign used a number of communication channels to maximise exposure for ANZ:
- a public relations campaign targeting print, online and broadcast media for editorial coverage
- development of several m-sites and social media activation
- mobile communication activity
- consumer promotions, including a major consumer competition and online games
- events, and
- outdoor and online advertising.
The result was a highly successful launch event and leverage campaign for ANZ, rolled out over a 12-month period.
The campaign kicked off with a launch event held at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne, attended by print, online and broadcast media, as well as more than 100 ANZ staff.
Rodeo created www.anzwicked.com, an interactive website that enabled users to discover the Land of Oz and learn more about ANZ, the official Bank of Oz. The site hosted several additional m-sites for promotions and viral components of the campaign, such as the ‘Pitch the Witch’ game and ‘Are you good or are you Wicked?’ quiz.
“The online medium provided ANZ with a creative platform to combine its brand with the musical. The engaging space allowed ANZ staff, stakeholders, customers and Wicked fans to collaborate and share experiences,” explains Daniel Hewitt, digital director at Rodeo.
‘Pitch the Witch’ invited users to play an online game where they selected their character, turned the crank and pitched their witch across the lands of Oz. Pods were set up in the Regent Theatre foyer, so that patrons could play the game prior to the show and at intermission.
As an incentive for the game, ANZ offered the top score winner a ‘Wicked Weekend in Melbourne’ including flights, dinner, spa treatment and tickets to the musical.
Over the course of the six-week competition, 25,994 people played the game and 7615 people entered the competition.
In addition, to promote ANZ’s sponsorship of the musical, Bluetooth activity was installed at the Regent Theatre for patrons to download exclusive content, including interviews with the cast members and clips from the launch event.
Overall, five units were installed at the theatre and three units were installed in three ANZ Melbourne CBD branches.
The website also played a vital role in ANZ’s ‘Win a part in Wicked’ competition, a major consumer promotion held to capitalise on the anniversary of the 12-month sponsorship.
The competition gave one fan the opportunity to win a one-night walk-on role in the show. Fans were invited to submit a two-minute video of themselves singing a song from the musical. Entries were shortlisted by ANZ and Wicked, and three finalists performed a live audition in front of cast members in Melbourne.
The winner attended a costume fitting and rehearsals in the lead-up to their performance on 17 July.
A dedicated m-site contained all campaign messages, including the YouTube auditions submitted. Social networking sites were also used to promote the ‘Win a part’ competition.
Haystac managed daily updates to the Facebook page and responded to fans posting queries on the audition process and providing feedback on their experiences.
Following the announcement of the winner of ‘Win a part in Wicked’, photos of the costume fitting, rehearsals and performance were posted, which attracted hundreds of fans’ interest. Live tweets by cast members Lucy Durack and Rob Mills appeared on the site throughout the campaign.
A comprehensive PR program to generate editorial involved several phases of media liaison, including the competition announcement, winner announcement, and post announcement editorial.
Additional components of the campaign included the installation of three-dimensional Wicked graphics in front of 11 ANZ ATMs around Melbourne, as well as key ANZ branches, a radio partnership with Nova 100 and several special events throughout the sponsorship period, including a Halloween event at the Regent Theatre.
The Wicked campaign was extensive and results were measured in different ways for each individual component. Online activity looked at site visits and user interaction, entry numbers were collated for competitions, media coverage was recorded to measure PR activity and events were measured by attendees and activation.
Media coverage was overwhelmingly positive, with ongoing editorial praising ANZ for its commitment to the arts. At the Regent Theatre alone, over 74,000 acknowledged receipt of the Bluetooth messages, and over 28,000 (38.5 %) accepted the content.
Key results generated by the campaign include:
- ANZ sponsorship announcement reported on 3AW, Network 10, Channel 9 and The Age,
- mX photo opportunity of two Wicked fans filming their audition,
- interview with Rob Mills and second follow-up story on Network 10’s 9am with David and Kim (filmed in situ at the final rehearsal for the winner),
- local media coverage of winner, Henry Brett,
- throughout the campaign, the campaign site received 120,254 unique visitors, and the average time spent on the site was 3.02 minutes,
- the majority of traffic came directly to the site, primarily through above the line advertising, while click-throughs from the ANZ homepage fed the second highest number of visitors
the highest frequented pages within the website were all linked to specific campaign promotions and activities,
- eDMs were extremely effective in driving traffic to the website around specific promotions and generated 11,184 new sign-ups to ANZ’s customer database, and
- 477 entries were received for the ‘Win a part’ competition, with 30,202 unique visitors to the competition’s site, and the auditions received thousands of views on YouTube, with 4469 views of the most-watched clip.
ANZ’s Louise Eyres, group general manager of branding, says the campaign proved extremely successful.
“We wanted to take our sponsorship in a new direction – to do things we’ve never done before. We have been highly impressed with the creativity of the response to our brief and the ability of Haystac and Rodeo to deliver a most successful campaign,” explains Eyres.