MELBOURNE: The University of Melbourne’s interactive research exhibition using re-purposed outdoor media sites across the city’s central business district positively impacted brand perception and drove donations, according to those who worked on the 2018 APAC Grand Effie-winning campaign.

The challenge for the University of Melbourne was to make its academic research interesting and relevant enough to shift perceptions of the university from that of a teaching institution, to an establishment with a real global impact.

The university turned to creative agency McCann in Melbourne which helped bring the campaign, Made Possible by Melbourne, to life. 

A guiding insight of the campaign was that people will only engage with something if it shows a clear benefit to them: “We needed to highlight research that did just that, and show the potential of our research to impact their lives. Choosing the right research stories and mapping them to audiences was key to creating relevance,” said Kim Howells, Executive Director - Marketing and Communications at the University of Melbourne, in an exclusive interview with WARC.

Taking cues from museums and exhibits, the team pitched three-dimensional sculptures focused on the university’s research which sat within existing out-of-home light boxes across Melbourne’s central business district, with a linked online content hub and audio commentary from the researchers themselves. A free tram helped people travel between the exhibits.

Physical interactions with the exhibits were tracked through geo-targeting and mobile proximity.

 “We could track whether people responded to and actually viewed the physical placement. They could go online and listen to a podcast, so we knew they were connecting the dots between when they were seeing and listening to online and how many different exhibits that they actually went to,” said Roshni Hegerman, Head of Strategic Planning at McCann Melbourne.

McCann also tracked the number of people who completed and then shared the campaign, not just through the website, but on Facebook and other social channels.

Some of the results included an awareness of 78% among the target audience during the campaign period, with 34% of the audience believing the campaign had changed how they thought about the university. Additionally, 39% agreed the university had the best reputation for research; an increase of 10%. Finally, the general population aware of the campaign were 20% more likely to recommend the University of Melbourne than those unaware.

 “During the month-long exhibition event, the campaign outperformed each of its set objectives ultimately shifting the perception of the university from a teaching institution to a centre of world-changing research,” said Howells.

Sourced from WARC