The Return of the Royal Easter Show - the biggest ticketed event post Covid
A Covid-conscious immersive Fresh Market Tour to showcase Woolworths' incredible farmers, their produce and ethos to the everyday Australian.
The Because team in Sydney recently helped open the doors to the much-anticipated Royal Easter Show (RES) sponsored by Woolworths. As it was to be the world’s biggest ticketed live event to-date post covid, marketers from across the globe watched with bated breath, and we’re so glad they did! The RES was a resounding success with over 800,000 visitors going through the Covid-safe gates!
The RES is the place to celebrate Australian culture and niche, traditional (but lovable) hobbies like whip cracking, wood chopping and the hunt for the country’s most delicious fruit cake (one my grandma would have particularly enjoyed!). It kicked off way back in 1823, and this was the seventh year Because was tasked with producing the hero activation at the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome, as well as the Little Hands on the Land experience with its fun, pint-sized gates.
It was, however, my first year working on the show, and I was flooded with flashbacks of my pre-teen self pressuring my mum for ride tickets, while she wandered to the gardening centre to pick a souvenir (but must-have) pair of limited-edition Easter gardening gloves. Flash forward ten years, the same wholesome, country spirit still shines bright through the showground’s pontoon lighting, but now I’ve seen it all through a new world and backstage lens.
Having this perspective allowed me to observe the diverse range of show workers and made me contemplate the past year and how the pandemic has forced us all to face our own battles. But our hardworking farmers too had to endure the absolute worst of Australia’s bushfires, drought and most recently floods, fighting to provide essential groceries to everyday Australians throughout it all. It personally gave me a new-found respect for them, and it was absolutely incredible and heart-warming to see that I was not alone, as people come in their droves from far and wide to show their appreciation and support for their endeavors.
Woolworths Fresh Food Dome
Once again the Because team were tasked with bringing to life one of the show’s biggest sponsor involvements - The Woolworths stand at the Fresh Food Dome. The concept began years ago as an exciting and iconic mass-sampling event, but this year it needed to be Covid-conscious and 100% safe. So, we decided to showcase Woolworths’ incredible farmers, their produce and ethos to the everyday Australian by creating an immersive Fresh Market Tour.
Reminiscent of a foodie walking tour you might take on a holiday (and the different Woolworths’ produce departments) we divided the stand into five informative and interactive stations.
Visitors booked through a ticketing system which ensured each customer had a specified timeslot, and ‘tour groups’ were capped at 10 people. This enabled us to adhere to Covid regulations, and importantly to create a more intimate experience for the visitor.
First groups were welcomed by their bubbly tour guide and received their OH&S induction – inclusive of social distancing measures, hand sanitisation and friendly reminders to dispose of their food packaging thoughtfully.
Via video they were then welcomed by Paul, General Manager of Fruit & Vegetable for Woolworths, who gave them an overview of the experience before they were guided to their next stop, the Odd Bunch Station.
The Odd Bunch is where the weird and wonderful fruit and veggies that don’t quite make it to the mainstream shelves go. It helps farmers sell more of their crop, allows customers to enjoy more affordable fresh produce and saves millions of kilos of fruit and vegies from going to waste. Here guests partook in a taste test – could they tell the difference between an average apple and The Odd Bunch? Nope! Same taste, different shape.
Onto the sensational Seafood Station. Here visitors were transported to the Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm. Via video, farmer Dan gave the group an insight into the farm’s everyday operations and sustainable fish-farming strategies. Kids could have a go at the ‘Fishing for Facts’ game, and visitors could taste the delicious barramundi themselves whilst learning how to pick the perfect fillet from the experts!
Next up, the Fresh Produce Station. Overflowing with a rainbow of vibrant fruit and vegetables, our tour groups sat down to sample the newly released crisp Ambrosia apple from Montague’s farm. While munching on the freshly-picked fruit, they were introduced to Scott Montague himself in a virtual ‘meet the grower’ session.
The group then followed the smell of sizzling sausages to the Meat Station where they got to taste Woolworths’ own range of delicious traditional sausages, made up of 100% Australian meat.
Last but not least, kids could have their picture taken on top of the Fresh Market Tour tractor while their parents tested their newly acquired knowledge by completing the quiz on interactive touch-screens. At the end, all visitors could sign up to receive a digital show bag giving them exclusive content, discounts and an opportunity to win a $100 gift card before saying goodbye to their tour guides!
Working at the show this year was more than rewarding. It was heart-warming to be a part of an event that that not only saw Australian people reconnecting in the real world for the first time in a long time, but that displayed such a sense of community support for the people who work so tirelessly to deliver the food that’s served up on Australia’s plates daily.
In the words of my colleague, Carl Stanley-Jones (Account Director at Because), it’s also “pretty epic to think we were involved in the world’s largest event, and more so the first event to this scale, post pandemic – a truly historical moment.” What can I say, I'm proud. Of our team. Of our client. Of our farmers. Of our people. Let the countdown to next years’ even bigger, better live event begin.
With a background in travel marketing, I enjoy the diverse and collaborative nature of working in a creative agency. My love for live and virtual events continues on weekends (excluding during C19 of course), as you’ll often find me at a music gig, comedy show or art exhibition.