The innovation: Playing the city
The city: City of Melbourne
The collaborators: The Future Laboratory, Right Angle Studio, Robert Buckingham
February is a quiet month for Australian cities. The Christmas shopping rush is over and summer is coming to an end. The City of Melbourne had other ideas, however. It wanted to keep spirits up, and to keep footfall up for retailers.
It commissioned LS:N Global’s parent company, The Future Laboratory, to find a solution. The trend-forecasting agency, in collaboration with Melbourne agency Right Angle Studio and its local associate, Robert Buckingham, looked to its existing trends in consumer behaviour and culture. These trends – which can be viewed in our macro trends section – were Rurban, Conviviality Culture, Beyond Retail and Betapreneurs. They decided to create a citywide treasure hunt for residents: The Great Melbourne Treasure Hunt (GMT Hunt).
‘The strategy was to create a retail stimulation campaign, and to reinforce Melbourne’s credentials as a lifestyle and cultural hub, while unpacking the hidden assets of the city,’ says Barrie Barton, founder of Right Angle Studio.
Clues were released through the press, on the GMT Hunt Facebook page and the GMT Hunt Twitter feed. ‘We found that social media was the most important channel,’ says Barton. ‘When we asked people how they found out about the clue, most said online.’
These clues led participants to locations where marshals could be found dressed in accordance with the clue. The first clue led people to a lady sitting in Flagstaff Gardens having a picnic. On Valentine’s Day, the clue took people to a ‘stately home with books’ at the State Library of Victoria to find a marshal dressed as Cupid. And another clue took people to the Myer department store to find a woman window-shopping. After being discovered, the marshal directed people to a nearby member of the strategy team, who registered the person in one of the prize draws.
Prizes included Table for Two, where people could share a meal or drink with a local personality, such as Frank Valvo from Fur Hairdressing. The Secret City Tour took winners on a tour of the forgotten city. ‘All the prizes pushed the convivial, experiential and sensorial elements of consumer trends we’ve been tracking,’ says Joss Debae, trend analyst at The Future Laboratory. A final grand prize draw, which will be announced next weekend, will give people a chance to win a luxury shopping experience.
Overall, the project was a great success. ‘We’ve had such a mix of people show up at the locations,’ says Barton, ‘from young families to pensioners’. Even more impressive was the convivial moments it created. Two people who bumped into each other while searching for a clue even ended up going on a date that evening. ‘Live events such as these really do foster proper interaction,’ says Barton. ‘Even between complete strangers.’
Top five take-outs
1: Let people play with your brand. The City of Melbourne turned the city into a giant game.
2: Be convivial. Create ‘live’ moments of interaction.
3: Spread your message on social media. It can be more effective than print.
4: Get people to rediscover their city.
5: Collaborate across the city. Get everyone involved, to give a better experience to the people.