How to get better when you’re already the best

The past four years has seen Imagination's role as the Creative Team for Sydney New Year’s Eve grow as the event has morphed with new partners joining the family to help bring the event to even more people. The big question we ask ourselves at the start of each year is how do we improve an event that is already the best NYE spectacle in the world? The reality of my role as Creative Director is that many of the deliverables remain the same, as does the year-on-year budget… and the bigger picture is that it’s a near perfect event as it is, so why mess with it? So, each year we work with the City of Sydney to create new elements for the event, and then seek new partners to help make those ideas a reality. 

We start by looking for insight into what else can make the Sydney New Year’s Eve experience better for the audience around the harbour, or how we can meaningfully engage with even more people around the country, and the world. Those ideas then need to be brought to life in a way that creates value for a brand, so we can start a conversation with them about being a meaningful part of the event. The secret to getting this right is to develop an idea with the audience at the heart – if it becomes valuable to them, then both, the event itself and the brand who has delivered it, will in turn be hugely valued. 

A great example of this was the partnership with the City of Sydney and Telstra, with Imagination working alongside both to create the official Sydney New Year’s Eve YouTube Broadcast. Apart from having great music bands like the Temper Trap and Art vs Science, we had some of YouTube’s most popular content creators host the show, ensuring a mass global audience from the outset. The show is the only live online broadcast of Sydney New Year’s Eve, and this year took the event to 195 countries in real time. Telstra also delivered a world first, when a drone rigged with a 360° camera flew through the fireworks at 9pm and midnight, with the footage available through the Official Sydney New Year’s Eve app, and viewable on Google Cardboard as a virtual reality experience. We also brought Ford on as a key partner for the first time.

Ford delivered a live experience for thousands of audience members waiting patiently for the fireworks, with bands and live content being played for the hours leading up to the show. They also supported the addition of speakers to key live sites around the harbour, ensuring the all-important fireworks soundtrack could be brought to the masses.

These partnerships and event additions resulted in deep and meaningful engagement with the audience for the brands, and meant we are able to continue adding to and keeping Sydney New Year’s Eve relevant for live and global audiences.

Heath Campanaro is Creative Director at Imagination Sydney. This is a version of an article that has been published on the Imagination website

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