CategoryA05. Media & Publications
Idea Creation URBAN Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Idea Creation 2 WE ARE SOCIAL Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Media Placement URBAN Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Production CRATER Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Production 2 RAWKUS Sydney, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Ryan McDonough Urban Managing Partner
Gavin McDonough Urban Creative Lead
Jonas Katzellenbourg Urban Director - Strategy & Planning
Holly Dover Urban Account Manager
Matthew Freeman Urban Art Director and Designer
John Kerswell Urban Copywriter
Alex Steege Urban Designer
Brent Woods Urban Designer
Beth Wallach We Are Social Senior Account Director
Max Mills We Are Social Editor
Haylie Craig We Are Social Art Director
Phil Shearer We Are Social Executive Creative Director

The Campaign

The ascension of Donald Trump has put Australia on edge. With our first diplomatic foray with the new Trump administration ending in a very public humiliation, uncertainty about the status of our relationship with the U.S. and the weakness of our politicians has become the national preoccupation. This genuine fear and raw tension allowed us to frame HoC’s fifth season’s key themes of fear and insecurity within a rich, current local context. Our idea was to create a new entity in the Australian political landscape. Showing our desire for a leader who would not yield, we would build a groundswell of support through the newsworthy effects of an intensive short campaign across TV, Print and Social. Australians for Underwood tapped into our anxieties about political leadership. And it encouraged journalists at home, and around the world, to write and talk about the show.


During an intensive three-week period, our highly targeted campaign flighting began with Budget Night. Our activity piggy-backed off news and current affairs segments dedicated to budget-related coverage. The ‘Australians for Underwood’ TV spot captured mass media attention, hitting a nerve with commentators. Fuelled by the media, curiosity and speculation about the campaign was rife. The next day a full-page print execution in Australia’s highest circulating financial newspaper, The Australian Financial Review, was embedded within a dedicated budget coverage lift out. The well-placed ad helped create further conversations and credibility for our cause. The tail of the campaign left a lasting impression with highly visible OOH executions at Sydney airport urging all Australians to get on board. Across the campaign period, intense social activity rallied HoC fans and ‘Australians for Underwood’ supporters to create a groundswell of support for the campaign and the show.

In the first 24 hours, the TVC was seen on social over 320,000 times. Helping us achieve pick up in Time Magazine (Digital), Daily Mail, Gizmodo, Mashable, Junkee, Huffington Post, The Hook Mag, Cnet, and Ask Men. Through this, we achieved syndication all over the world, achieving 52 million media impressions and a total earned value of $3.36 million. Our social community grew by 6000% (becoming a long term asset for future marketing efforts). We also were able to spark 25,988 interactions from 3,339,287 social views and achieved a 33% view rate on online content.

The Situation

Launching the fifth season of the political thriller, House of Cards (HoC), presented us with a unique opportunity: To create intrigue and excitement using none of the traditional PR drivers, namely the show’s stars, its name, or even its design cues. With just a handful of spots across TV, Print and OOH, we hijacked the political conversation on Budget Night – a 24-hour window in which politics is centre stage. The activity turned a significant political event into a PR coup that set local and global news media outlets buzzing with conflicting theories and assumptions about the campaign.

The Strategy

In an atmosphere of political fear and insecurity, we subverted the tactics of real-world political movements with an unbranded ‘Australians for Underwood’ campaign. It was launched on the night when every Australian is a self-proclaimed expert on politics – the Budget. Creating a high impact, high return campaign on a meagre budget, required an innovative, precise, and newsworthy PR strategy. Our focus was to use our unbranded Australians for Underwood TVC to spark conversation and curiosity about this new force in Australian politics. Only after journalistic speculation had reached fever pitch was the real intention of the campaign revealed – exploiting Australia’s love of Frank Underwood to launch the new season of HoC. At a grassroots level, our supporting social campaign became a touch point for the media, fan engagement and a vehicle for sharing.


Social Media URL