The outtake of SXSW17? Be stickier! By Elise Erwin

The outtake of SXSW17? Be stickier!         By Elise Erwin

According to US studies, 40% of us wake up and check our iMessage app prior to opening any other social app on our phones. It’s our daily ritual. For brands everywhere, this is a huge opportunity to deliver and serve content in a somewhat diluted space. SXSW 2017 presented “iMessage: The New Marketing Gold Mine” with some of the biggest thought-leaders in the iMessage space on the panel; Kelly McCarthy (Senior Director of Global Marketing at Nike), Nick Dunham (Director of Media at Dunkin’ Donuts) and Amanda Moore (Senior Director Social and Digital Marketing at Marriott). Exploring the iMessage and Bot space for our clients is crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage so I was very interested in what the panel had to say.

Building the Blundstone Influencer Family

We’ve worked with Blundstone since 2015 to build a network of influencers, advocates and partners to create a new social currency for the iconic boot brand amongst the fashion-forward millennial market. We call this network: ‘The Blundstone Family’.

Utilising the framework of Bastion Influence, we’ve curated a base of fashion designers, musicians, chefs, barbers, sports personalities and everyone in between that are built and organically grown through a contra reward program.

From social posts, media mentions, content creation, attendance at events and powerful word of mouth, we have generated long-term, creative collaborations with influencers (both online and offline) rather than one-off, paid transactions. The business outcome: new retail doors opened for Blundstone.

A Street Named Dyer

It’s not every day that you get the chance to launch a new street in Melbourne. Let alone one named after the AFL’s most revered player, Richmond cult figure Jack Dyer OAM.

Located within the Jaques precinct, developed jointly by the Riverlee Group and Macquarie Real Estate Equity Funds, Dyer Street at Jaques is a newly completed retail laneway with a bustling retain scene and restaurants, all right in the heart of Richmond.

We love footy

For those who know about our sister company EBA, as well as the Bastion Collective board (hello, Andrew Demetriou and Hamish McLachlan), we know footy pretty well. This was therefore, right up our alley. And when combined with our love of property – this was a job that had us tickled pink…or yellow and black. ;)

We were tasked with organising and executing the launch of the precinct on behalf of our long-term client, leading Melbourne developer Riverlee. To ensure we did justice to such an historical occasion, we engaged our friends at the Richmond Football Club, the local council City of Yarra, member for Richmond and Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne, as well as Jack Dyer’s family to attend.

In our opinion, a pretty powerhouse bunch of people.

Let’s go back

The Jaques development has a unique story to tell. It’s located on the site of the former engineering works founded by Edward Jaques back in 1885. The 9,945 square metre island site, bordered by Palmer, Coppin, Highett and Griffiths Streets, also features 377 stunning apartments and townhouses on the former Jaques Bros Foundry.

We were lucky enough to launch it back in the day, with the Island State campaign – remember? It takes a long time to see a property development come to completion, so this was a huge moment for us.

Now with all residents in their lovely apartments, to pay tribute to the site’s local heritage, Riverlee has installed etched stainless steel boards at the entry to Dyer Street, providing the community with information on the Jaques family, the site history, as well as recognition of AFL Legend Jack Dyer.

What we did

Capturing the strong connection to the Richmond community was key to this launch, with the Dyer St opening showcasing as many original features - such as the factory’s red brick tower, brick façade and original blueprints - as possible.

We invited influential media who flocked, including leading sports reporters and property writers, capturing vision and photos of the yellow and black fun. And we saw it all on telly that night, with prominent coverage across TV networks as well as online.

The launch reached an audience of 11.6 million Aussies via online, print, radio and TV coverage, including national bulletins.

And we got to see the successful end of a very exciting project, while combining our love of footy and property. Win-win.



Coachella Music and Arts Festival - Trendsetting Amongst The Palm Trees

Our influencer expert and resident hip-hop enthusiast Vanessa Condemi made the cultural pilgrimage of a lifetime to this year’s most snap-worthy, superstar filled music event. Here she shares with us her takeouts on the consumer experience and which brands did it best…

Trekking through the dusty campgrounds through to the festival site is akin to entering an alternate universe. One where the dirt, grime and overwhelming heat no longer matters because you’re at Coachella, the Coachella. 2017 was the  year where everything lined up to tick off this bucket list event - made all the more sweeter when my two top played artists, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, were announced as headliners.

Officially called Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Coachella is held at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, California, and has origins tracing back to 1993, however the first official festival took place in 1999. It has since has grown to the behemoth three-day, two consecutive weekend, eight stage festival extravaganza it is today, filled to the brim with 126,000 ticket holders per weekend.

All walks of life were represented, from the fresh faced first-timers (myself included), to the festival veterans with their festival t-shirts dating back years, to the families with kids in tow, hippies, style aficionados, influencers and everyone in between.

Art installations by Terry Chiao and Adam Frezza are placed throughout the middle of the grounds and create a magical childlike wonder set against the majestic mountainous desert background. Larger than life dinosaurs, building blocks and mirrors stacked up as far as the eye can see provide a feast for the eyes.

The brands who are clever enough to have an association with Coachella are obviously hand-picked with the target market in mind. H&M has had a partnership for many years, releasing branded capsule clothing collections in the lead up to festival season in March. Heineken was the dominating alcohol brand this year, while Sephora and HP were other brands that also stood out. These activations were sold to the audience as being curated specifically to their needs for the festival period, creating opportunities for each brand to connect with festival-goers in a seamless way.

HP hosted The Antarctic, a 360 degree audio-visual, large-scale projection dome powered by HP technologies, taking the crowd on a wicked journey through time, space and consciousness. H&M on the other hand created a Palm Springs-inspired bungalow committed to the green initiatives important to the brand, with photo booths and video stations for each and every Snapchat-ready moment and a clothing store on site to help festival-goers out with any wardrobe dilemmas. Sephora was also on hand with their ‘Beauty Together’ experience where crowds were encouraged to try out all of the new festival beauty trends, or unwind from a hectic day in the sun with a luxe skincare treatment.

These activations just got the crowd, which from an activation and communications perspective backs up how important creating unique, personalised moments to connect with your audience truly – a connection which is made all the more powerful by tapping into cultural zeitgeists such as Coachella. It’s these moments and touch points when the ‘perfect’ storm of branded experience comes together that makes all the difference, converting a one-off customer into a long-term brand advocate.

If you’ve heard of Coachella then you know the fashion is just as important as the music. My Instagram feed was dominated by fashion hashtags including #festivalfashion #festivallife #currentlywearing #boholife #lookoftheday #coachella2017. Flower crowns were ditched this year in favour of braids, a brave few tried Kylie Jenner’s highlighter hair and streetwear and texture (leather, suede, velvet) dominated.  Body jewelry, bralettes, body suits and harnesses were accessories de jour. The sheer dress Jenner wore on the first weekend trended on social media and the knit dress her sister Kylie Jenner wore had 23,000 people searching for it on Lyst.

Influencer seeding was rife throughout the festival, with a lot of brands placing product on those influencers who have the largest social media following. Australian influencers who were spotted included Belle Lucia, Aisha Jade, Steph Clare Smith and Elle Ferguson – providing opportunity for Australian brands to tap into those attending and still reach a home grown audience. These Coachella fashion trends will surely continue to influence not only the Australian festival fashion scene, but also everyday fashion throughout the rest of 2017 and summer of 2018.

Coachella is more than a festival it’s an immersive experience. Surrounded by good people, a great location and second-to-none music offering it is the ultimate destination for global brands wanting to establish a connection with a cultural, youth-orientated, fashion-conscious audience. Overall, my personal highlight from the festival was Kendrick Lamar’s Sunday night closing set at the main Coachella stage, i.e. as close as you will ever get to a true religious experience!










Festival of Racing

Bastion Effect was engaged to work with Racing Victoria in late-2016 for its upcoming Festival of Racing taking place from February – March 2017.

The Festival of Racing is the first time in the calendar year that Group One racing returns in Victoria. The three main pillars for the festival are to have up close and personal access to the stars of racing, more relaxed race wear than Spring and fantastic hospitality and entertainment options.

Our brief encapsulated a) driving awareness of and consideration for the Festival of Racing and b) drive ongoing engagement with the sports of racing.

The Launch event

This event was held at the iconic, Pontoon (Stokehouse Precinct) on St Kilda Beach with a series of ambassadors speaking on behalf of the different pillars of the Festival in an intimate and conversational manner. Katelyn Mallyon, a jockey, rode Living Legends horse, Apache Cat along the beach. The stylish event brought racing some of Melbourne’s racing identities sports stars, models and socialites together to the launch of Festival of Racing.

Media attendance on the day we included AAP, Racing.Com, Channel 9, Channel 7, Channel 10,, Herald Sun, The Weekly Times, 3AW, Final Field and Melbourne To Do. Coverage featured on Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10, Herald Sun, ESPN online, and 3AW plus many other outlets.

Turf Talks

Bastion Effect, together with Bastion Stadium, developed a new content series for Racing Victoria called ‘Turf Talks’. These intimate interviews were undertaken by Hamish McLachlan, appointed as ambassador for the Festival. The talks featured interviews with jockey, Katelyn Mallyon, trainers, Darren Weir and Troy Corstens. These content pieces were delivered as short video pieces and two of the three interviews became double page spreads in the Sunday Herald Sun, and appeared on the Herald Sun online. Turf Talks promoted the idea of being able to get up close and personal with racing and highlighted some of the industry’s stars to hear their real stories.

Media Relations

In the lead up to, and throughout, the Festival our role was to secure and manage  as many lifestyle media opportunities as possible, coverage results included, Herald Sun wrap piece, three pieces in Herald Sun Confidential, the Sunday Herald Sun and a feature in The Weekly Review.

TEDx Melbourne

In order to take a leap of faith, it helps to recognise the presence of fear beforehand. But what form does this fear take and how does it hinder us from achieving our goals and dreams in the first place?