Made from 40,000 Big M cartons, the Mphones popped up recently at St Kilda Festival in Melbourne. They are a fully functional set of giant headphones belting out popular tunes - they’ve even got a stereo headphone jack to plug into your giant iPod.
I took these photos myself when I went down to experience the Mphones. They really were an exciting sight - and I was drawn over not just by the sound but I had a tip off that they’d be down there and I love a good brand experience!
The only drawback was at the time I visited - there was no Big M sampling or giveaway of product which would have tied the whole thing in. I am partial to a Strawberry Big M for a bit of a treat so maybe it induced purchase after all!
There’s this strange misconception amongst a segment of the marketing industry that Federation Square is the holy grail of consumer activations. It baffles me so much - because it’s such an unthoughtful and unimaginative place for activations.
I understand AFL Live sites and major event beings staged there, because the event itself drives traffic to the venue. What I’m specifically talking about is banging an activation into a space at Fed Square to ‘target’ city business people or emo kids - and just hoping for the best. Assuming that the promotion will receive maximum traffic because of a Fed Square location is unsubstantiated and lazy. It has been known to destroy credible executions and creative ideas.
A fantastic example is an old Cornetto Endless Summer activation which proved that Fed Square just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When the promotional staff are in 25% of the photos, you know it’s been a slow day of promotion and sampling.
For starters, ‘Endless Summers’ are not surrounded by concrete and fake grass blocks - and if you can at all help it, you definately wouldn’t spend summer in Melbourne CBD - you’d spend them in St Kilda, on the Peninsula or by a friend’s pool.
It begs the question why this activation wasn’t placed in a beach location? St Kilda isn’t far from Fed Square and on a good day your total reach would be comparatively outstanding. The Cornetto sampling would be welcomed by consumers if provided on a sunny day by the sea rather than on a rushed, rainy inner-city lunchbreak. The tucked away Flinders Street side corner location in Fed Square does nothing to enhance the activation.
Personally, I think the prominent Streets branding in the activation also detracts from the purpose of the Cornetto promotion. It is visible in the Cornetto logo that Streets is the parent of the brand. I would have wrapped the sampling freezer cart in a Cornetto sticker to further the Cornetto branding of the execution and to ensure a primary brand presence.
Examples of what I mean about Fed Square activations can be seen regularly - just visit the precinct and observe meagre activations floundering for the valuable attention of untargetted masses.
I’m now keenly on the hunt for a brand who has done Fed Square well. I’ll be sure to report it when I find it! Email me if you’ve seen one, or if you’d like me to create one - firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more photos of the Cornetto Endless Summer activation here.
Coffee & the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival are two great things. And they’re even better when enjoyed together!
Last Tuesday, Melbourne Cup Day, I was invited along to the Lavazza Bar marquee at Flemington Racecourse. I get really excited about special occasions and this one was no different! I have always loved ‘the Races’ and have been for most years of my life. My dad had a background in horses, so it was always something we’d do together.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, The Birdcage is where the cashed-up brands entertain their many guests, and where the stars of sport, television, film, fashion, music and art gather to hob-nob. This year, ‘The Cage’ was noticeably smaller than past years, no doubt due to slashed marketing budgets in turbulent financial times.
Lavazza’s marquee was a noticeably family affair. The large Valmorbida family welcomed many guests to their ‘home among the horses’. Friend of Lavazza, DJ Alex Dimitriadis, provided the music for the day. All day long, a spectacular MC sang live show tunes and catchy songs. Food wise, traditional Italian fare was prepared by chef Guy Grossi. Matt Preston could be spotted sampling the finger food in a less-judgemental-than-normal fashion. John Valmorbida entertained too, closing the day with a stellar performance of ‘New York, New York’ atop the bar. The whole brand experience reflected the strong Italian heritage of the Lavazza brand, and the family nature of the company. I really liked that.
The star attraction of the day was Entourage star Adrien Grenier, fresh from wrapping up the HBO series in the USA, he claims to be working on some new projects in Australia. He attracted much media attention initially, several media outlets came and did interviews with him, but later in the afternoon he chatted with guests, danced on the furniture, and looked very relaxed and happy. Unlike most celebrity appearances, it was refreshing to see a Hollywood A-lister stay all day, have a good time and mingle with people they’ve never met.
The place to be each year at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix is with Red Bull. The irreverent, cheeky, non-conformist brand throws one hell of a party and I’m lucky enough to know this first hand having been to several of the brands’ shindigs.
This year, brand experience agency 2fish created a uniquely Aussie corporate hospitality and grandstand area. The idea behind the concept was to provide guests with an experience unique to Australian culture. Red Bull are very good at putting a local spin on international events, and making each one memorable.
The ‘Red Bull Backyard’ featured a Hills Hoist clothes line, luscious garden beds, paneled fencing as well as Red Bull’s event vehicle pumping the tunes. Inside, the centre piece of the marquee was a quirky lighting centerpiece made up of over 40 random lamps (see photo above). Guests and VIPs drank many a Red Bull Vodka, and were treated to a gourmet BBQ and delicious non-pretentious finger food like fish & chips served in cones and mini pizzas.
The After Party was also a refreshingly down to earth affair nearby, punctuated by numerous celebrities and Red Bull athletes. A fantastic day and night - topped off by Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel crossing the line first in the big race.
The one thing I took away from the day was how much I’d love to work for 2fish. They’ve won numerous awards, and have been behind the memorable Venetian-themed Emirates marquee at the 2008 Spring Racing Carnival, Lacoste’s Australian Open activations and the Coke Zero AFL Live site.
Hopefully one day, someone will trust me to play with lots of money and make cool things happen for them and their brand. *crosses fingers*