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Corporate Name of Client: Macquarie Dictionary
Agency Account Directors: Alec Hussain/Adrian Mills
Account Executive: Alex Haigh
Agency: McCann Australia, Melbourne
Executive Creative Director: John Mescall
Creative Director: Pat Baron
Copywriters: John Mescall/Natasha Wood
Art Directors: Pat Baron/Matt Stoddart/Dave Budd
Agency Producers: Chelsea Nieper/Pauline McMillan
Post-Production Company: Airbag Productions, Melbourne
Senior Editor: Nath Mallon
Description of the Project:
Phubbing Purpose We were asked by Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary to remind people of the relevancy of the dictionary in an age where such things are getting left behind. We wanted to remind people of the power and beauty of words, and new words in particular, and in doing so, generate a conversation around the launch of the Macquarie’s 6th edition. Audience Language lovers, people interested in words, mainstream and specialist media. Market Size Approximately 300,000 (out of Australia’s total population of 22,000,000) people who love words enough to consider paying attention to the launch of a new dictionary. Objectives In the age of Google, dictionaries are at risk of becoming obsolete. We were asked by Australia’s national dictionary, The Macquarie, to remind people of the relevancy of the dictionary in a time when such things are getting left behind. Ultimately, for Macquarie to remain relevant in the long term, we needed to inspire people to want to engage with them, not because they needed a dictionary, but because they wanted one. Specifically, with zero paid media, they wanted to ignite a conversation with as many people as possible in the lead-up to the launch of the upcoming 6th edition of the Macquarie Dictionary. There were two core objectives to the campaign. Firstly, we needed to generate social buzz both on and offline around the Macquarie Dictionary Awareness of dictionaries is universal. Relevance was severely lacking. Our challenge was to get people talking about something they thought was a thing of the past. Secondly, we needed to generate PR for The Macquarie With zero paid media available, maximize the reach of the campaign. Target market Dictionaries are fast slipping out of mind. We wanted to remind those with an out of date dictionary that language is ever evolving and prompt them to connect with Macquarie’s 6th edition. Research We looked at recent entries to all major English-language dictionaries, a notable portion of which were tech-orientated. It was evident that to effectively tap into contemporary linguistic culture, we needed to arm ourselves with not just a word, but also a movement. Planning Words have enormous power, but it’s something people often forget. To truly ignite a global conversation, we needed to give people something to talk about. Ours was a three-part strategy. First, we needed to find something worth talking about. We needed to uncover a so-far nameless global problem, as it seems you cannot go about addressing something, until it has been defined. The problem was poor smartphone manners. The word, ‘Phubbing’ aka Phone Snubbing. But a word was not enough, especially if no one knew what it meant or how to use it. Hence we created the ‘Stop Phubbing’ campaign, a social movement fronted by an energetic young Melbournian. This was critical. A movement without a human face lacks authenticity. We needed to put someone at the forefront that personified the movement, and gave people a reason to believe in it. The final step was to connect ‘Stop Phubbing’ to the dictionary. With media and public discussion at its peak, we released a branded short film about the origin of the word, to launch the 6th edition of the Macquarie Dictionary. Execution At the heart of the movement was a website that explained the mission behind “Stop Phubbing”, including tongue and cheek statistics, and important materials to empower people to take the movement on and make it their own. The site provided materials for businesses and restaurants to discourage phubbing like posters and coasters. Branded merchandise like T-Shirts were created, and we even provided help to people wanting to hold phubbing interventions with their friends. Supporting the site was our Facebook community, which encouraged people to post pictures of phubbers in order to name and shame the behavior. The Facebook page became a place where people shared their phubbing experiences, as well as debate when phubbing is, or is not acceptable. At the height of interest in the campaign and in time for the launch of Macquarie’s 6th edition, we revealed the origin of the word via a branded short film entitled ‘Phubbing: A Word is Born’. After its release, we hit the PR circuit again, reconnecting with the masses of news outlets that covered ‘phubbing’, to reengage them with the dictionary’s story. Results The campaign smashed all expectations and the phenomenon was discussed in over 180 countries via social media. ‘Stop Phubbing’ attracted more than 25,000 fans on Facebook, and the Stop Phubbing website attracted over 270,000 visits. 750 news outlets in 50 countries covered the campaign. Earning an astounding 435 million PR impressions and reaching 3.6 million Australians. The campaign received unbelievable traction. Hundreds of news outlets such as the USA’s ABC network, Time magazine, the BBC, China Daily, Grazia, and every major Australian media outlet covered the campaign. The editor of the dictionary even spent 10 minutes on breakfast television. An unusual way to launch a book, but it seemed to work.