The Australian Football League Grand Final is one the biggest tickets on the country’s social calendar, and it’s studded with A-list celebrities and big players from almost every industry. News Corp Australia is one of Australia’s most prominent media conglomerates, and the group owns several newspapers, magazines, digital start-ups, subscriber channels and other assets. They’re also the annual sponsor of the September Club, the official premium hospitality venue for the AFL Grand Final. Their challenge to the Because team: make their marquee the hottest place to be at the Grand Final, and draw the right kind of engagement with key opinion leaders and high-value customers (HVCs).
This couldn’t be a traditional nametags-and-canapes corporate hospitality event; it needed to be an unforgettable brand experience that raised the bar for all the guests and partners, including some of the crucial News Corp subsidiaries like Fox Sport and the REA Group. The goal: word-of-mouth relevance among the right people, and instant FOMO for others that didn’t make the team list.
Due to the fact that the September Club is such a competitive environment, the team needed to capture their guests’ attention and keep it. In previous years, guests had used their NCA invitations to get into other marquees. The answer: the Because team created an exclusive VIP experience like no other, which started right from when the guests touched down in Melbourne. This included their travel, hotel, and match-day experience; every single customer touchpoint was considered.
The success of this plan was due to the attention to detail. An easy-to-
use Club Room app was created; it had a detailed itinerary and a map to help the VIPs navigate the venue. There was even an Augmented Reality (AR) table footy game to keep the guests entertained and to spark some friendly banter and rivalries.
Fox Sports presenters, Sarah Jones and Yvonne Sampson, reported live from the marquee while moderating a panel of some of the best journalists and sports presenters in the country. The attendees took part in a host of activities, including a green screen photo opportunity, a Bathurst race-car experience, and a pamper station.
The taste experience was just as considered and impressive. Trendy entrees were served up along with roaming oyster shuckers. Espresso martinis were available on tap, as well as signature post-match cocktails. The overall vibe was of exclusive luxury.
The post-event numbers proved that bespoke exclusivity and creativity are a knock-out combination: almost 600 HVCs guests attended the marquee before and after the match, which was a marked increase over previous years. Over a quarter of them participated in the AR table footy game, and the green screen social tool and SMS photo shares reached over 21,000 people. Not only did this lift the brand association of NCA and their partnership with the September Club, but it also provided a Most Valuable Player experience for KOLs (key opinion leaders).
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