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What’s behind the lights?

FOMO: council activation revealed

11 Nov 2020

FOMO: council activation revealed Image

By Sean Car

As Victoria slowly emerges from lockdowns, the City of Melbourne will soon look to attract visitors back to the CBD and its much-loved venues, restaurants and public spaces with a “big old dose of FOMO (fear of missing out)”.

In what comes as welcome news to the city’s businesses and residents following the devastating second wave of COVID-19 in Victoria, the council will soon launch a signature marketing campaign to revive the city with a range of COVID-safe events and activations.

Titled “FOMO”, details of the campaign seen by Southbank News outline a strategy to drive visitors back to the CBD and its surrounds through a series of activities and promotions which showcase the city’s range of uniquely Melbourne experiences.

While research commissioned by the council shows increasing challenges around the likes of crowds and public transport post COVID, consumers say the city is still the best location for events, festivals, museums, galleries, gigs, hospitality and shopping.

The FOMO campaign, expected to launch in January, will seek to reimagine the city and reconnect people with many of its favourite tastes, sounds and experiences that they’ve been “missing out” on during lockdowns.

Showcasing the best Melbourne has to offer to drive a real sense of FOMO, planned events and exclusive offers from the city’s favourite venues and businesses will be aimed at drawing people back in a COVID-safe manner.

Further details around some of the campaign’s activation ideas are expected to be announced later this year but many initiatives to support the strategy, such as pedestrianisation of “little streets” and outdoor dining infrastructure, are already being actioned.

But some promotions earmarked in the strategy, such as “FOMO Fridays” and dedicated FOMO events, will seek to partner with the city’s precincts and businesses to provide special offers and experiences. Other activations flagged incorporate a range of ideas already canvassed publicly such as outdoor entertainment, dining and wayfinding experiences.

With the CBD bearing the brunt of Victoria’s economic decline from the second wave of coronavirus, talk of plans to revive the city is nothing new, with Lord Mayor Sally Capp having established a high-profile advisory board in July to provide ideas to the council.

The City of Melbourne also established the City of the Future/Recovery Taskforce at the start of the pandemic, and in September councillors endorsed a COVID-19 reactivation and recovery plan. This was supported by a joint $100 million recovery fund with the state government dedicated to the central city.

October 26 also saw the launch of the “Let’s Melbourne Again” campaign by a host of big businesses, creative institutions and the City of Melbourne, aimed at encouraging people to return to the city.

City of Melbourne CEO Justin Hanney said the coming months would see the rollout of many initiatives from its reactivation and recovery plan.

“This summer will be like no other and we’re planning some fantastic events that you won’t want to miss out on,” he said.

“Lots of people miss the city and we want to make sure that when they return it’s a vibrant place.”

“We’re planning a number of really exciting activations including Creative Laneways, our annual Christmas Festival and an extended Melbourne Music Week.”

“We will dramatically increase our marketing program to draw people back into the city. Our marketing of the city will be intensive, creative and highly collaborative, with opportunities for businesses to participate.”

“We want to see pop-up activities bringing life into the city over the vital Christmas period and our retail and hospitality venues buzzing.”

Southbank Promenade will also be one of a number of popular city venues to see buskers return in the lead up to Christmas thanks to a partnership between the City of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and ANZ.

The ANZ City Vibes program will see up to 20 buskers a day perform across 20 Melbourne CBD locations until the end of the year, to encourage people back into the city to support shops, restaurants and cafes.

More than 1000 performance spots for buskers and street artists are available, which is also part of the Let’s Melbourne Again initiative to bring life back to Melbourne’s streets.

The buskers will be integrated with upcoming events including the Melbourne Christmas Festival, Melbourne Fashion Week and Melbourne Music Week Extended to provide entertainment across the city.

To further support the busking community a digital payment platform will be piloted. At each site buskers will be able to receive contactless QR code payments or tips via people’s smartphones.

“Encouraging people to come back into the city through activations and events is critical to support local businesses and their staff,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.

“What better way to celebrate Melbourne’s re-opening than to catch our favourite buskers performing across the city.” •

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