Fitness First Australia launches The Zone

Challenge: Fitness First is one of the largest health club groups in the world with more than 342 Fitness First clubs worldwide, and more than one million members across 15 countries. In Australia, Fitness First has 78 clubs with approximately 240,000 members.

Since Fitness First began operating in Australia back in 2000, the fitness landscape has changed significantly.  The brand has faced a number of challenges in the wake of the changing environment, from the rise of 24/7 gyms and expanding operator locations, to increased competition on price, all the while battling against its tarnished reputation.

In 2012, the company was acquired by Oaktree Capital Management and underwent a major restructure which saw it exit a number of gyms from its portfolio, enabling it to invest significantly in overhauling every facet of its operations and embark on a significant journey of change.

In early 2013, Fitness First partnered with Ogilvy PR Health to help the company on its journey of change and re-build the company’s reputation and standing as the industry leader in fitness.

The first tangible evidence of change was the launch of a new concept gym in the heart of Sydney’s CBD called The Zone. A world-first innovation based on the principles of dynamic movement training, The Zone offers six distinct ‘zones’ for small group training – each created by Fitness First, with more than 95 classes running a day for members.

Strategy: The launch of The Zone not only provided an opportunity to bring to life the company’s philosophy of motivation, fitness expertise, and the idea that ‘machines don’t motivate people, people motivate people’, but also showcased its serious commitment to invest in change and deliver real benefit back to members.

To communicate this, Ogilvy PR Health held an exclusive preview event like no other, inviting leading lifestyle, health and fitness media and influencers, as well as representatives from a number of leading training institutes and equipment suppliers, to be the first ever to train in The Zone.

The launch was the first time that Fitness First had proactively engaged with media in many years and on the night, Managing Director Pete Manuel bravely stood before the assembled media and declared that the brand had “not always got it right” but that the company was listening and was on a journey of change.

Special guest speaker, former Olympian Geoff Huegill, was a media drawcard and spoke of the role that Fitness First played in his training.

After the event, and with the ‘buzz’ still building about The Zone, Ogilvy continued to engage with influential media, inviting groups of colleagues from media outlets to come for a tour and workout at one of the six unique ‘zones’.

Results: More than 40 media and influencers attended the launch resulting in more than 80 pieces of coverage and reaching an estimated audience of more than 576,779 people.

More importantly, engaging with media en masse provided an opportunity for Fitness First to foster relationships with key journalists and start to rebuild its position as the fitness expert and ‘go-to’ for media.

For more on The Zone visit:

Skylanders SWAP Force: Influencer Kid’s Party

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Activision, Case studies, Consumer

Skylanders is the number one kid’s toy and video game franchise in the world– a franchise that was only launched in 2011, delivering a whole new category of gaming for kids, where for the very first time they could bring physical toys to life in a video game.

In September this year, we showcased the brand new, yet-to-be released Skylanders SWAP Force game to a range of influencers in Sydney and Melbourne, giving them (and their kids) a sneak peek into the next evolution of the Skylanders world.

Our insight was that Skylanders had become a key theme for birthday parties amongst our core demographic. So we gave our guests an entirely immersive Skylanders birthday-party-esque experience, complete with face painting, cash booths, colouring stations, spinning wheels and of course, extensive game play.

To help give back to the kids who have supported us so far, we worked with Activision’s ongoing charity partner, The Sony Foundation, providing a $25k donation in each state which would go directly towards their youth charity, You Can.

We had a number of celebrities attend with their family, including:

  • Jaynie Seal (our MC in Sydney and Melbourne)
  • Rebecca Gibney
  • Nathan Hindmarsh
  • Brad Fittler
  • Michael Klim
  • Kylie Gillies
  • Chrissie Swan

From a social perspective, we reached over 150,000 people across their combined networks, and could follow their live tweets, Instagram pics and Facebook posts using our official event hashtag.

Ghosts Multiplayer Reveal

October 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Activision, Case studies, Consumer

This year Activision is launching the latest edition of the world’s biggest gaming franchise, Call of Duty: Ghosts on November 5th. To drive excitement amongst key media and influencers, Pulse helped Activision bring the hype Down Under with an exclusive hands-on reveal event at the Carriageworks venue in Sydney.

24 LG screens, 24 consoles shipped in from the US, and Activision’s US developer flown in to deliver a gaming experience only Call of Duty can provide. Two sessions gave media, YouTube influencers and the online community the chance to explore all-new game modes and maps, in the dark surrounds of the Carriageworks theatre. Game developer, Derek Racca from Raven Software was on hand to give attendees the low-down on how the latest installment in the evolution of COD came to life.

Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment product in the world. The latest iteration of the franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops II was launched in December 2013, netting $1 BILLION in sales within 16 days – a current world record.



Australia’s rock royalty

The challenge: Over the June Queen’s Birthday long weekend wanted to promote their free open database, of over 250 million British records to encourage Australians to start discovering their story.

Strategy: Rather than embarking on a straight PR release focusing on the open data base, we worked with to research the history of Australia’s ‘Rock Royalty’. Through trawling through the collections, we discovered that a lot of Australia’s rock the talent was in fact shipped in. discovered a celebrity link between famous Aussie rock legends who migrated to Australia from England in the 50s and 60s.

Records showed the Bee Gees, Red Symonds, Bon Scott from AC\DC and Olivia Newton-John, were all a part of the 10 Pound Poms migration influx.

Perhaps the most well-known names to stick out of the collections include Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb – commonly known as The Bee Gees. Arguably one of the most successful Australian imported exports, the Manchester-born trio dominated the industry world-wide.

Arriving in Sydney in the summer of 1958 aboard the Fairsea, the brothers weren’t the only future rock legends to step onto Australian soil, with Red Symonds, then to be future lead-guitarist for Skyhooks, also on board the ship.

We approached Channel 7’s, The Morning Show, with an exclusive story on these famous rock legends. We  offered viewers of the Morning Show exclusive access to the open database on in order to provide viewers with a unique experience.

Results:  The live interview with Ancestry’s Brad Argent lasted over five minutes with the program reaching over 263,000 Australians across 42 Channel 7 TV stations within Australia. Within a 15 minute’s appearing on the show, the website experienced a high volume of unique visitors and registrations that continued throughout the day.

The TV segment which can be viewed here.

Life imitates art for the Great Gatsby greats

Overview: In order to capitalise on a timely news cycle surrounding the Australian premier of The Great Gatsby, set about researching the backgrounds of the lead characters to see if there was any angles to generate a news story.

Strategy: Through examining the research, Howorth uncovered a storyline of life imitating art a for a few key actors in the film. Following this discovery, we set about pitching the story to key entertainment writers and radio shows to drive broad coverage and awareness of, while showcasing the wealth of information available on

Through research we discovered Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays Gatsby, great grandfather, went from a street sweeper in 1900 to a real-estate broker in 1930. Like the character he played in the film, the rise of the Nouveau riche, seems to be in the DiCaprio’s blood!

The Great Gatsby love story is epitomised in Tobey Maguire’s great grandparents tale of love conquering all. It appears Tobey’s Great grandparents, on his father’s side are from opposite ends of the world but, found true love. Bartholomeus Kropfl (Tobey’s great grandfather) is from Austria while Ana (Tobey’s great grandmother) is originally from Puerto Rico.

Director, Baz Luhrmann, it appears has his own tale of a rise from rags to riches. Baz’s 5th great grandfather, Pierce Collits, owned a famous inn in the Vale of Clwydd (near Lithgow) in the early 1800s. He came to arrive in Australia as a convict from Ireland in the early 1800s with his wife and children. For 10 years the Inn was the most famous landmark on the journey from Sydney to the ever-expanding town of Bathurst.

Carey Mulligan’s ancestors originated from England and Wales and were from all walks of life. Occupations in her family tree include ‘iron turner,’ ‘stock trader,’ ‘coal miner,’ and ‘colliary lampman’ (in the coal mines).
Results: received  broad consumer coverage, with hero pieces being achieved on and Nova 96.9. Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa used the information as part of their interview with Carey Mulligan.  Announcing her Great Grandfather was a colliary lampman in their interview. You can watch her reaction to the news here.


Carnival Cruise Lines – Red Nose Day


In 2013, the Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) brand suffered with some incidents involving ships from its fleet. Ogilvy Public Relations created an occasion to build brand awareness and restore reputation, hijacking an iconic moment in the Australian calendar, Red Nose Day, and forming a partnership with Australian charity, SIDS and Kids.  This particular fundraiser was identified as the perfect brand fit thanks to its mantra of ‘get silly for a serious cause’ because, at CCL they are serious about creating fun (and sometimes silly) holiday memories.


In an engineering feat, a specialist company was engaged to design, build and install the largest ever red nose on a cruise ship.  Seven metres in diameter, the nose was illuminated from within allowing for a strong vision opportunity at dawn as Carnival Spirit sailed into Sydney Harbour past Australia’s two greatest icons – the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Guests onboard Carnival Spirit participated in and enjoyed a host of themed fundraising activities onboard including a charity walk, themed menus, colouring in competitions and games. In the lead up to the event, consumers were given a chance to win a cruise for two by ‘red nosing themselves’ on an interactive website –


As per our objectives to generate mass coverage, the success of the project was clearly illustrated by the quality and quantity of media coverage and conversions taking place online:

  • 65 pieces of coverage secured in Australia and internationally generating over 178 million impressions
  • Every commercial TV station covered the story, reaching over 250 metro and regional stations
  • The TODAY Show ran six CCL branded weather crosses reaching 350,000 viewers
  • One of the world’s highest reaching news websites, The Daily Mail, ran a photo-gallery of Carnival Spirit and her giant red nose
  • The hero shot of Carnival Spirit reached 144,400 people via Facebook alone. The same image was liked by over 2,000 people and shared 240 times
  • 100% of coverage was positive and included images of the ship wearing the nose
  • Over $10,000 toward SIDS and Kids was raised by CCL and Carnival Spirit guests in onboard and in-house activities
  • 3,450 people entered the online competition to win a cruise for two on Carnival Spirit



My Little Oats campaign

September 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Case studies, Consumer, Nestlé


In 2013, UNCLE TOBYS tasked OPR with getting the new range of Quick Sachets Oats back on mums’ morning agenda and into their kids’ breakfast bowls.


Mornings are a busy time for mums, with kids to get to school, lunchboxes to pack and of course hungry mouths to feed. So how could UNCLE TOBYS Quick Sachets help and how could we communicate to mum that this nutritious breakfast option was ready in just 90-seconds flat?

The answer, a ‘My Little Oats’ campaign to share tips and tricks to put the fun back in the morning routine.

A targeted blogger programme recruited influential mums to spread the word amongst their prolific networks. A bespoke outreach approach celebrated mornings, with activities to enjoy in 90 seconds and plenty of Quick Sachets oats to fuel their family’s mornings. We called on our bloggers to share their morning time tips and tricks and in turn ask their readers to do the same.


8 top blogger ambassadors were recruited, landing 17 pieces of coverage, exceeding KPIs and driving engagement with over 1,800 consumers via competition entries. 100% positive sentiment was achieved across all posts.

BP Australia: Pink Pulp

September 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Case studies, Consumer

The Challenge:

In 2013, BP would announce its partnership with The McGrath Foundation, which would see 10c from every litre of Premium Unleaded sold at select BPs across Victoria donated to The McGrath Foundation.

BP commissioned Ogilvy PR Melbourne to devise a strategy that would announce and promote this partnership while  demonstrating BP is a brand that ‘gets’ mum, and as such rewards her for the hard yards she puts in.

The Strategy:

Working with Ogilvy Action, we created our very own Mother’s Day VIP experience to give back to hardworking mums and promote the McGrath partnership.  We offered mums across Victoria the opportunity to be pampered over the Mother’s Day weekend at select BP stores – with BP’s Pink Service Station attendants on-hand to assist with the fuelling experience. BP Ambassador, Michael Clarke was on-hand to launch the activations and partnership with media.

The Results:

  • Secured over 114 pieces of print (66), online (1) and broadcast (47) media coverage in one week
  • Coverage highlights across The TODAY Show, Triple M, The Herald Sun, Channel 10 News and WIN Ballarat
  • Total circulation of 4,224,094
  • 20,685 post engagements  (total number of likes, comments and shares on the page posts)


Building international relations

Challenge: Australia Unlimited is a national brand developed by Austrade in response to global research that demonstrated Australia’s global reputation was based more on our physical attributes than our intellectual ones.

While Australia has a very strong international reputation, regularly ranking among the top countries in global studies, Australia Unlimited was tasked with promoting Australia’s credentials in business, technology, creative industries and science to overseas markets.

In an effort to draw attention to the depth and breadth of Australian talent around the world, Australia Unlimited was preparing to launch its Global 50 list comprising of expat Australians who are not household names, but who are doing work that deserves to be recognised.

Strategy: With a million Australians offshore at any one time and many more involved in international work, they are a ready-made corps of promotional ambassadors for the nation. Our people are the best evidence we have that Australia today is a creative, clever and globally engaged nation.

As part of this content driven campaign, Social@Ogilvy identified a list of 32 influential Australian expats living in the key markets of US, UK, Europe and Asia, so that Australia Unlimited could target them to build relationships with these key influencers while also sharing their international success stories and portray a contemporary Australia through its people.

In order to drive awareness of Australia Unlimited’s Global 50 list and mobile apps, and maintain conversation in the lead up to and throughout the Australia Day weekend, Social@Ogilvy developed a strategy encompassing content creation, influencer outreach, and conversation management, drawing new stakeholders to the Australia Unlimited brand.

Results: The integrated digital and social campaign was successful in driving traffic to Australia Unlimited’s website, with social media the top driver of referral traffic, and building key relationships with international influencers.

More than 2.174m Twitter accounts reached

80 retweets representing a 515% increase on the previous week and 100+ mentions over the campaign

8% increase in Twitter followers

70% of all traffic to the website referred from social media channels

184% increase in application subscribers

Faces of the Australian open

Challenge: Getty Images believes that mobile photography has made huge strides in a short time, so much so that the company provides its photographers with software tools that allow them to create smartphone-style images that are of high enough quality to be used by their commercial clients.

As the official photographic agency for the Australian Open, Getty Images’ team of photographers embraced the smartphone look  by applying special effects to their portraits of quirky spectators, umpires, ball boys, media and event staff.

These images became known as the Faces of the Australian Open.

Strategy: To capitalise on the hype building around the grand final match; Howorth developed a two-fold media strategy.

Part one: offer national metropolitan titles the Faces of the Australian Open album to run as an online image gallery.

Part two: provide national lifestyle tech title, CNET with exclusive access to Getty photographer, Cameron Spencer, to develop a feature on the ever-increasing popularity of smartphone photography from a professional perspective.

Results: The result saw a ¾ page article featuring Faces of the Australian Open images published on page six of the Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media also syndicated an online image gallery across 24 metropolitan and regional news sites.

CNET published two stories including an online image gallery and an in-depth article on how professional photographers integrate smartphone technology in their work, featuring comments from Cameron Spencer.

In total, 27 news clips were generated from this campaign reaching a potential audience of 4,419,355 Australians.

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