Macleay Students Tackle The Light Rail Project

Macleay’s Content Guru Guest Lecturers for Digital Marketing Strategy Class. 

This week, I gave a guest lecture to Digital Marketing Strategy students. Inspired by Ogilvy’s recent appointment as creative agency of Transport for NSW, I posed a challenge to the class. Could they create cross-platform content to trigger positive brand recall for Sydney’s Light Rail project? In the wake of considerable delays and blown-out budgets, the Road Safety portfolio will be no easy feat for Ogilvy – or our students.



Digital Marketing Strategy student Maddy poses with Transport NSW staff. 


To prepare for the challenge, we spoke about what constitutes good content. Comparing case studies, the class first examined Kendal Jenner’s infamous Pepsi commercial and Heineken’s Worlds Apart campaign. These videos are examples of content that leverages politics to drive brand awareness. Being ‘relevant’ is crucial to the success of any campaign. So, it makes sense for corporations to jump onboard with social movements.




Earlier this year, Gillette’s The Best Men Can Be commercial was spotlighted for aligning brand identity with social messaging. As was the case in this campaign, the USP must align with ideas being leveraged. This is where Pepsi went wrong. The famous coke-rival failed to prove the relevance of soft-drink to activism and their appropriation of the Black Lives Matter Movement was deemed tone deaf, resulting in commercial failure.

However, Heineken’s message of coming together over beer attracted 40 million online views for the right reasons.  After all, people from all walks of life crack open the bottle to unwind and have a yarn.


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Next, we looked at influencer marketing and native content. The consensus was: successful influencer content aligns personalities with brands that fit their tone of voice. Similarly, content that reads as commercial will attract less engagement than native pieces offering consumer value.

Students were impressed by the Netflix-VICE collaboration that promoted Narcos starting in 2016. Two months before the series’ premiere, VICE released a documentary about the legacy of Pablo Escobar. The film was followed by subsequent video and editorial content until the end of 2018, when the series concluded. The Netflix-VICE partnership worked well, with the first video garnering over 2 million views.

The group then analysed Instagram’s original creation: the flatlay. Composition and story are the most important features of a flatlay, though the class were divided when it came to picking a winner between our Book Otter and Lavazza case studies. A discussion about photography ensued, with students affirming that candid shots are the most likely to get social media engagement.


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Armed with newfound knowledge on cross-platform content creation, the class was divided into three teams. Each was tasked with producing content for the Sydney Lightrail project in a different format. One group was assigned video, another photography and the third editorial. With 30 minutes to generate their content, students raced to the Surry Hills tram construction site.

The class was divided into three teams, each tasked with producing content in a different format.   Maddy Bockett shot a number of documentary-style iPhone clips, in which she spoke with construction workers and café owners. “We went around and interviewed local people around the light-rail to hear their opinion on the development and how it’s going to help them once it’s done,” she says.



Macleay student Latika chats with staff at Two Skinny Pickles. 


Another group wrote a news bulletin and campaign slogans. “No more traffic tantrums in your uber; no more migraine-inducing cab meters; no more struggling to stand-up on the bus and no more packed, smelly people on the train,” they pitched. “We’re curious to see what Ogilvy come up.”



Entrepreneurship student Tanuj practices his slogans for the Light Rail challenge.


Lecturer Florence Dobbie said her class enjoyed the lecture – testament to Macleay’s hands-on approach to learning. “We will have to chat next trimester and see what workshop we can organise next,” she said.


Why study Digital & Social Media Marketing?

Technology is integrated into our lives more than ever before. With so many people online these days, it’s essential for businesses to communicate with their customers using digital and social media.

With Macleay College’s accredited Diploma of Digital and Social Media Marketing, you can now turn your passion for being online into an exciting and dynamic career.

Designed to take you from beginner to expert, this specialised 8-unit Diploma will give you a competitive edge and only takes seven months to complete.

The Diploma of Digital and Social Media Marketing is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills in marketing, design, creative thinking, copywriting and the production of assets for digital and social activities and campaigns.

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