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Special Project

Special Project
From the 2nd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Characters of Kings Cross

Entered in Corporate-Community


For 40 years, the Coca-Cola South Pacific (Coca-Cola) billboard in Sydney's Kings Cross has been a landmark to one of the most vibrant parts of the city, earning its place as a local icon in its own right.

To continue to support a community it has long been connected to, Coca-Cola partnered with Vivid Sydney (Sydney's annual celebration of light, music and ideas) to bring the festival to Kings Cross for the first time. The partnership presented Coca-Cola with a unique opportunity to leverage the new billboard in a way that would enhance its reputation in Australia.

The challenge was to do this at a time when most of the conversation about the 'Golden Mile' (as Kings Cross was once known) was negative, and its colourful character was fading due to the highly publicised 'Keep Sydney Open' campaign, in response to lock-out laws. Young Australians in particular, which are an important audience for Coca-Cola, were highly exposed to the issues surrounding Kings Cross. Meanwhile, cynicism of brand involvement in local communities was high.

The brief to N2N was two-fold:

1. Activate Coca-Cola's most prominent asset, its billboard, in a creative and authentic way that would celebrate its connection to the Kings Cross community to increase consumer sentiment of Coca-Cola among the Australian public

2. Leverage earned media and social channels to drive awareness of Coca-Cola's involvement with Vivid Sydney

Strategy and Execution

At the heart of the campaign was a single idea - to hand over the Southern hemisphere's largest and most iconic billboard to the Kings Cross community. Specifically, we made plans to turn the billboard into a giant canvas to display emotive black-and-white images of people from and connected to the Cross so we could celebrate the talent, colour and diversity of the area.

Working in partnership with Wayside, our strategy was to:

Awareness: Raise awareness about Coca-Cola's heritage and connection with Kings Cross and The Wayside Chapel

Interest: Encourage Australians to engage with Coca-Cola's connection to Kings Cross and see the billboard in a new and exciting way

Desire: Foster positive sentiment in relation to the initiative and their perception of Coca-Cola's work with the Kings Cross community

Action: Encourage people to return to Kings Cross precinct throughout the Vivid festival

Content creation

Inspired by the coffee table book, Wayside and 'Humans of Kings Cross' photography exhibition, we partnered with Australian photographer Katherine Williams to capture a collection of photography featuring moving portraits of artists, performers, Wayside Chapel visitors / volunteers, local retailers and restaurateurs

The individuals' photographed included everyday folk and big names such as fashion designer Camilla Franks, renowned chef Kylie Kwong and Wayside founder Graham Long. These images were then turned into a dynamic masterpiece that was projected onto the Kings Cross billboard every evening of Vivid

We also captured written stories behind our 'Characters of the Cross' to establish compelling content to engage our target audiences via multiple channels

Finally, to secure launch media coverage and online conversation about the campaign we created stills and moving video content of the billboard activation

Comms rollout

We leveraged the first night 'switch-on' of Vivid and the hook that the Coca-Cola sign was changing colour like never before in 40 years to engage media. One of the challenges we faced was that media interest for Vivid's 'switch-on night' typically focused only on the Opera House light display. To ensure our activation cut-through we shared embargoed b-roll and stills with media networks ahead of launch. This meant our initiative was included in TV stories about Vivid and online stories that went live the moment NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian activated the festival

To maintain interest in the campaign post-launch we seeded some of the most compelling stories of people featured on the billboard via earned and social media. This involved hijacking topical calendar moments and news to build land community-focused stories. For example, we used International Sex Workers Day as a timely hook to profile the story of Kings Cross' long-time sex worker rights activist Julie Bates



76m opportunities-to-see generated via national TV and online stories

95% of media stories about the campaign were positive or neutral in sentiment

98% of stories achieved key-message cut-through

4.2m Australians reached (on average) via each piece of social content

25% increase in positive sentiment achieved in comparison to other content shared by Coca-Cola's social channels

95% of online conversation about the initiative was positive or neutral in tone



Goal: 5 - 10% of Australians aware of the Coca-Cola / Vivid partnership

Outcome: 10% of Australians aware of the Coca-Cola / Vivid partnership

Goal:10 - 15% of young Australians aware of the Coca-Cola / Vivid partnership

Outcome: 16% of young Australians aware of the Coca-Cola / Vivid partnership


Goal:25 - 30% of Australians feel more positive about Coca-Cola following partnership

Outcome: 43% of Australians feel more positive about Coca-Cola following partnership

Goal: 30 - 40% of young Australians feel more positive about Coca-Cola following partnership

Outcome: 48% of young Australians feel more positive about Coca-Cola following partnership

(*Data collected from Coca-Cola consumer testing, July 2017)


Video for Characters of Kings Cross

Entrant Company / Organization Name

N2N Communications, Coca-Cola