Introducing some of this year's main contenders for best brand campaign at Sydney's Mardi Gras: "Out since '99" by Frucor and "Disco Infono" by Telstra. Specifically, Frucor highlighted its primary brand, V, an energy drink, and Telstra highlighted it's phone and wifi services. The purposes of these campaigns were not only to show support for being a judgement-free company, but also to help create a connection between their products and an event in which their product can hopefully create value for consumers.
First, V developed a limited edition rainbow can followed by an advertisement playing on its original release date in 1999. The ad explained the brand's contribution to the sponsorship of the event as well as support for the people which the Mardi Gras was celebrating. Being a part of the festivities helped personify the sensitivity and understanding of the brand and its company's non-judgmental culture. This is an important part of creating value for consumers and potential new customers because it builds trust, and informs users of the company's awareness of current events and sentiments. Additionally, since the ads displayed a play of words on their own history, people actually had to spend time understanding the ad and learned a little bit more about the brand!
However, creating awareness, funny little jokes, and value, didn't necessarily work for everyone. Large companies that attempt to make a connection through small services offered at large scale events can sometimes successfully redefine consumers perceptions of their business culture. Telstra was attempting to do just that, in my opinion. The disco phone booths are a great throwback in combination with a fancy new way of getting connected, especially with their free wifi hotspots. Although this yet again displays their support for the community, it doesn’t necessarily elicit a change in consumer behaviour. Chances are it didn’t cost Telstra that much to produce, and I’m sure people loved their free internet. But, the question remains, does it really make the user more confident in Telstra’s ability to provide an affordable and reliable phone or wifi service? Telstra may now appear to have connected with the community, recognised their identities, and built a more human connection, but now that Mardi Gras is over, will we still get our free wifi? Will it be a good connection? And, most importantly, will more people trust their services and their mission?
Mardi Gras was officially supported by a combination of a hundred or so companies or organisations. Both “V” and Telstra were official supporters and suppliers. They were successful in creating their brand awareness, but only the future will tell about any potential changes in user behaviour. You can find out more about the type of Mardi Gras partners here.
Another interesting application of Mardi Gras brand analysis comes from our Marketing Communications course. We learned a critical analysis technique known as S.C.O.R.E, which stands for Simplicity, Creativity, Originality, Relevance and Ethicality. This analysis helps define whether or not the ad or campaign really helps create value for the consumer and change for the brand. In this instance, V would probably SCORE higher because their ad contains one clear, simple and easily determinable idea - It is impactful and you will notice the change in the can design and purpose; can design change has been done before according to themed events, but it’s the words on the ad that have not been used in the same way; the ad and can are both relevant to the event and the sentiment of the community; and finally, the context of the word “out” is used responsibly and considerably, and the can is decorated in coordination with the event and the sponsors' agreements. All in all, this is a very exciting way to look at advertisements and activations, and where better to create such displays than at Mardi Gras Sydney!
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School