Circus Oz

Circus Oz Melbourne: From the Ground Up

Campaign Name:  Circus Oz Melbourne: From the Ground Up

Client:  Circus Oz

Results:  Ticket Sales: Ticket sales for the 2012 Melbourne Big Top season exceeded targets by 15.84% with an increase on 2011 sales of 15.1%. A number of performances were sold out.

The 2012 Melbourne season had a three and a half month sales season. Sales started slowly and gradually increased as publicity and promotional campaigns kicked into high gear during the second and third months. The Avant Card campaign was designed with staggered distribution to ensure visibility throughout the three month sales season.

By Opening Night 63.3% of the ticket sales target had been achieved. The presence of the Big Top at Birrarung Marr, reviews, publicity and word of mouth generated the majority of sales once the season was underway.

Website Hits: Website traffic to  built slowly over the campaign with June recording the highest figures of 14 696 hits and a 72% increase compared to the previous month. This was in-line with the third and final release of the Avant Card campaign along with other increased media and publicity. received 63% of all 2011 website traffic by the time the Melbourne season commenced.

QR Code: The Avant Card campaign was designed with the inclusion of a QR Code that consumers could scan in order to ‘like’ the Circus Oz Facebook Page. 94 scans were received producing a 0.13% response rate.

Facebook:During the sales season, Circus Oz enjoyed a 10.3% increase in Facebook friends with weekly reach increasing by 394 %(from a pre-sales season average of around 5,700 to 19,678). Virality varied according to the content of the post, but averaged around 2%.

Campaign Objective: The primary campaign objective was to raise awareness and drive ticket sales to the new show Circus Oz Melbourne: From the Ground Up. As a secondary objective the campaign aimed to increase the brand’s following on Facebook as well as drive hits to the website.  The campaign included three different creatives to effectively showcase the show’s hero imagery and allow consumers to collect all three postcards. Staggered distribution was also implemented to increase campaign duration and drive collectability.

Circus Oz and Freecard Media: Circus Oz has worked with Avant Card for a number of years, enjoying a productive and mutually beneficial partnership. Presenting a show that is for ‘all ages’ means that a wide range of media needs to be utilized to reach broad demographic segments. Postcards has been a successful channel for Circus Oz with consumer recall of 6.9% in 2011 and 8% in 2012, increasing the frequency and reach to their target markets.

Target audience: Circus Oz Melbourne: From the Ground Up was a ‘show for all ages’ and targeted a wide range of audience segments from families to arts and entertainment to tourists.

Freecard Description: Front – The 2012 hero image is of eight Circus Oz ensemble members posed on a beam above Melbourne’s skyline, paying homage to Charles C. Ebbets’ famous 1932 photography of workers in Manhattan. The detail of the imagery, if produced on only one card, would have been quite small and lacking impact. Splicing the image across three cards meant that there was more space allocated to each performer, allowing the viewer to engage with more of the detail and comedy of each figure. This technique created a story or puzzle, recognizably from the same campaign and collected to make the whole picture.

Back – Each card presented a consumer call to action, or call to arms: ‘Are you up for it?’ and went on to provide show details, ticketing information and a QR Code to connect with Circus Oz on Facebook.

Production and Distribution: 3 x 25 000 postcards were produced with 3 x 15 000 distributed to Melbourne venues including:  Cafes and Bars, Arts and Culture, Retail Sites, Hotels & Hostels, Universities, High Schools and Regional Hot Spots.

Circus Oz distributed the remaining 3 x 10 000 cards through a variety of channels: through a street distribution agency; through tourism channels, such as the Visitor Information Centre at Federation Square; handed out through performer activations as part of their partnership with agreements; through industry channels (Kids Circus, etc); distributed to their regional partners; and very effectively distributed through the sales and retail touch points at the Big Top during the Melbourne Season.

Other Media: In addition to the Avant Card campaign, a comprehensive promotional campaign was developed and implemented and included the following media:

  • Press advertising campaign (mainly The Age, but also Herald Sun, mX, Beat)
  • Radio campaign (Triple R)
  • Television campaign (Channel 10, 9, 7, SBS)
  • Cinema advertising (Nova Cinema)
  • Street signage (rock posters, on site banners and City of Melbourne banners)
  • Digital advertising (eDMs, website, partner websites, Fairfax Digital)
  • Social media campaigns (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)


Client quote: “Avant Card offers sophisticated and smooth working processes. Their deep experience in street distribution provides ample opportunities to brainstorm or trouble shoot, and their appreciation of our imagery this year comes from a place of genuine and valued knowledge.” Olivia Blackburn – Marketing & Communications Director, Circus Oz