HAVAS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT AUSTRALIA’S FRANCIS COADY CHATS ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF AN INCREDIBLE TRAVEL SERIES, AIMING TO BOOST TOURISM AND SUPPORT PANDEMIC-STRICKEN BUSINESSES IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
‘The Long Road’ is a six-part series created for Destination NSW which showcases the region’s stunning landscapes and local community spirit through the lens of a road trip. The series stars Australian TV and radio personality Ash London as she hits the roads with some of the country’s biggest music artists, including the likes of Amy Shark, Guy Sebastian, and Polish Club (UMG).
Here, Francis, General Manager of Havas Sports & Entertainment Australia (and Executive Producer of this project), explores how ‘The Long Road’ will encourage people to travel to the region once again and boost local communities impacted by the reality of climate change and the pandemic.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for this campaign and what it aimed to achieve?
The Long Road content series formed part of the wider Road Trips campaign for our client Destination NSW. After the strategy team unearthed strong insights around the power of music and its relationship to going on a road trip, I was tasked to come up with a creative approach to connect music, road trips and at the same time unearth the wonderful locations across New South Wales that many people may not have been familiar with. The Long Road series is focused on raising awareness about these locations in order to help local regional communities get back on their feet after the devastating impact of droughts, bushfires, floods and Covid.
The series features some of Australia’s biggest artists and is a shining example of the collaborative power of Vivendi. How does working together elevate our creativity?
I’ve been a band manager in my past life for over ten years, working with some of the country’s biggest acts and I had built up strong working relationships with all the artist management companies, indie and major records labels and the wonderful team at Universal Music, under the stewardship of my good friend George Ash. Sadly, many of the UMG artists were locked down in other states due to Covid travel restrictions during our shooting period, however we did manage to secure the wonderful Polish Club band signed to UMG. The lads were fantastic to work with on such a meaningful project. I am always elevated when I work with musicians as they understand the true meaning of collaboration to secure the best creative outcome. The Polish Club episode will land on Feb 22. It is a cracking episode and I can’t wait to share it.
What were some of the series’ biggest challenges?
We were faced with incredible variations in weather due to climate change and we were forced to move multiple shoots several times due to inclement conditions. We travelled thousands of kilometres across New South Wales and worked very long days, but the output made the intensity of filming the series all the more rewarding when the first episode was finally released.
This project shines a light on NSW businesses and communities who have really struggled with a lot this year, what are some of the series highlights for you?
Witnessing the catastrophic impact on tourism firsthand was very confronting but the biggest highlight for me was the resilience shown by small business owners, who have been through so much in the past six months. On multiple occasions people came up to me and the crew and thanked us all for travelling such vast distances to film in and around their communities to help shine a light on the places they call home.
Where does the series live?
The Long Road is a short form six part digital first series. The Australian Havas Media team have done a fantastic job in a short space of time to build out a highly integrated digital distribution approach across IGTV, Facebook and Youtube, targeting a wide and diverse audience that ranges from 18-70 year old male and females, who are keen to travel again as Covid restrictions relax.
How does this campaign emulate our meaningful positioning?
This is one of the most meaningful pieces of content I have ever been involved in over the last five years at Havas. It is a rare situation to be in when the series you have created may have a direct positive impact on communities that have been struggling so badly during the Covid lockdown. Showcasing some of the most important first nations stories of the land and presenting a diverse multi-ethnic lineup of Australian entertainment talent is also perfectly aligned with what Havas stands for when creating meaningful work.