Silver Spike
CategoryA09. Use of Digital and/or Social
Idea Creation THE ROYALS Surry Hills, AUSTRALIA
Media MediaCom Australia Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Production THE SWEET SHOP Melbourne, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Teagan Fardell The Royals Social Strategist
Ken Sum The Royals Senior Designer
Paul Broomfield The Royals Creative Technologist
Lauren Kilby The Royals Producer
Dave King The Royals Strategy Partner
Paige Kilburn The Royals Senior Account Director
Gus Hedstrom The Royals Creative
Joel Utter The Royals Creative
Nick Cummins The Royals Creative Partner
Stephen O'Farrell The Royals Managing Partner
Gareth Sweet The Royals Senior Creative
Qiao Li The Royals Filmmaker
Sarah Freeman The Sweet Shop Producer
Logan Mucha The Sweet Shop Director
Edward Pontifex The Sweet Shop Executive Producer

The Campaign

We designed the ultimate online ‘stress break’. Over the week of STUVAC we locked four real characters - a ghost, a hot dog, a sloth and a robot - in a sound stage, armed them with dangerous weapons and at the request of stressed-out year 12 students invited them to destroy the place. The destruction was streamed live and made interactive by allowing students to send in their smash requests via the website and social media. Two commentators offered blow-by-blow accounts of every smash, crash and shatter. A live ticker on the bottom of the screen showed students reactions and called out those whose smash was coming up next. At the end of the week the entire room was reduced to rubble...we even bought in a bulldozer to finally level the place before exams started the next week.

Creative Execution

In keeping with the strategy, to reflect the culture of the internet - i.e. be discovered in the newsfeed and via WOM rather than mainstream media - we focused on creating ‘cultural acceleration’. Not only was STUVAC a mere week in its entirety we knew that if we were going to reach this audience we had to do it in a matter of hours, not days. To reach our audience fast we created a teaser film of the characters and seeded it amongst student communities, blogs and forums online. We tracked the #stressed hashtag and responded to students who sounded like they were in need. Paid digital media was used to increase scale of the campaign but paled in comparison to the impact that WOM had. The campaign spread like wildfire through stressed-out students social networks, being shared on Facebook, Twitter and, crucially, getting up-voted to the front page of Reddit.

In just 48 hours of being live we had over 198K visits to the website - a number that traditionally takes campaigns months to achieve. Over 6,500 stress break requests. Millions of students reached across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit for a minimal media spend. Quality engagement, of those who engaged with the campaign: 80% watched the live feed 80% entered a stress break 50% watched a highlights reel 43% told a friend about it 25% shared the campaign on social media Made it to the ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit where it was organically ‘upvoted’ to the top 5 - on the same day that Star Wars was released. Achieved an ‘unpaid’ PR/media value of $1.3m and reduced the stress of students that engaged by over 97%. 46% of respondents said they would consider doing a course at Deakin after seeing Stress Break.

During the most stressful moment of their lives - STUVAC - students turn to the internet as a way to de-stress and momentarily forget their study woes. Deakin VCE Stress Break was an online space where four characters were tasked with channeling the stresses of the audience into destroying the space around them. Students could follow the action via a live stream and leave comments, which was also shared via a live stream, that our commentators referred to during broadcast. For students looking for a study break, our unique brand of mayhem became every bit as entertaining as the next cat video.

Increasing stress levels amongst students was widely talked about in the media, but no one was helping students to reduce these levels in the first place. Through conversations with the demographic and by tracking their online behaviour; we discovered that to counteract stress, many students had created their own coping mechanism: ‘online mini breaks’. Students don’t have time to leave their desks to de-stress so they intersperse study with scrolling through their newsfeed, seeing what’s happening on Reddit, watching videos on YouTube. In these little reprieves they’re more often than not looking for content that is humorous, mischievous and silly. We decided to employ a similar strategy to help Deakin University reach the same students. However, in order to be successful we had to create a piece of light-hearted content that would be just as entertaining as the next cat video.


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