Situation: : The Walshe Group combined creativity and sensitivity to develop a non-traditional marketing activity to draw media and public attention to the centenary anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele (and subsequently, remembrance tourism) in Flanders, Belgium.

 

Challenge: How to commemorate a WW1 Battle to a multigenerational public in an interesting, sensitive and emotionally provoking way? 

The Walshe Group used an emotional street art mural to tell the story of Passchendaele and the tragic impact on Australian society that was unveiled on the anniversary. Melbourne was chosen as the ‘street art capital’ of Australia on Hosier Lane, the most popular street art venue in the city. 

The challenge was to commission a street artist to paint a sensitive mural that both accurately depicted the impact of Passchendaele while also drawing maximum media attention. Time pressures were crucial – you can’t rent space in Hosier Lane; you have to claim it. However, in terms of making a statement and profile – for street art and artists, there is no better place to be.

The nature of street art gives us limited (and unknown time) for exposure, so it is vital to maximize all media channels and activity within 24 hours. 

 

Action: Media outlets were invited to attend a media call in Hosier Lane. Interviews were made available with the street artists, an assigned historian from the Australian War Memorial, and representatives from Visit Flanders.  To broaden exposure a video production company was commissioned to film and create a time-lapse of the mural being painted and crowd reaction, specifically as a key component for social media channels. The mural was painted in six hours, security was put in place overnight and the mural ‘officially opened’ the following day. The opening was followed by a VIP media and travel trade luncheon hosted by Visit Flanders. 

A video news release and microsite on AAP (featuring video footage, interviews with the then head of the Australian War Memorial, press releases, backgrounders, imagery, radio grabs) was created and then issued to news desks around Australia. 
 

Results: The media pitching the day before the launch produced exceptional results including front page newspaper coverage in major metropolitan newspaper The Age and significant TV exposure. Further media outlets also attended the opening launch and VIP trade and travel media luncheon.  
 

Highlights included: 

  • Front page in ‘The Age’ newspaper – Melbourne’s leading daily newspaper – syndicated nationally. 
  • In excess of 130,000 views of the video produced in conjunction with the street art project via Visit Flanders’s social media outlets. #FlandersFieldsStreetArt 
  • 138 stories generated in print, broadcast and online channels. 
  • 88 TV segments and news stories 
  • 22 radio interviews and stories. 
  • Crowds of people came down to see it and street art tour guides included its background in their commentary 
     

This activation took the ‘Award for Bravery’ at the highly regarded Mumbrella Marketing Awards in 2018.