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Campaign BTS: A New State of Mind inverts the tall poppy syndrome

12 May 2023

The brief was, politely, ambitious.

Prepared by South Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, it asked for a campaign with enough reach and resonance to change “perceptions of our state”.

After a competitive pitch process, Fuller was appointed – charged with overhauling the way interstate target audiences think about South Australia and precipitating a fresh willingness to relocate here.

In considering the challenge, the Fuller team tapped into something important about how perception and its shadow-double of identity work.

They recognised that neither identity nor perception can be manufactured. A clever tagline or compelling aesthetic can’t change the psychological associations snarled up with something as diverse, contested and complex as an entire state.

To be effective, their campaign needed to shift perceptions by drawing on a dormant truth. It was a process of reminding and reshaping, not of invention.

“[It started out as] trying to identify the people that are doing great things, then really linking together those game changers and world leaders and innovators, eco warriors, and all those people who we have here,” says Fuller creative director Michael Gagliardi.

“Then project that to the Eastern states, showing that you can have a world-class career in South Australia – that was kind of where it kicked off.”

This thinking, says Gagliardi, flowed from a combination of cross-disciplinary strategic discussions with Fuller’s integrated team and the quiet moments every creative also needs to allow ideas to develop.

“I like to read the brief, sort of stare at the brief, and then not really think about it too much,” says Michael. “The first few moments with the brief are really the exciting part and also the scary part.”

Hitting on the truth that would sit at the centre of A New State of Mind was only the very start for an integrated campaign that needed to straddle a huge array of channels while remaining cohesive.

A New State of Mind can be seen everywhere from social media, to articles on The Guardian, print and outdoor ad spots, as sponsors of the first ever AFLW showdown, and in countless other placements.

To create something that was both inherently flexible and immediately recognisable, the Fuller team built a campaign architecture around the underlying themes that tied together the changemakers they wanted to hero. Soon, they were positioning them as a generation of purposeful world-leaders who also understood the importance of lifestyle.

“You stretch and test all those things when you're in that creative process,” says Michael. “You go through all the ideas and flesh them all out… but [it’s about] making sure they get home to those key messaging pillars.

“For us in the campaign, it was about purpose, career and lifestyle. Making sure it always came back to that in some way and if we knew we could speak to those from a strategic point of view, we knew we were on a good thing.”

It was important to Fuller that the execution of the campaign aligned with its messages, so it was produced – from video spots to photography, design, copy – by an entirely South Australian crew.

Launched late last year, the campaign has quickly yielded results.

“We've already seen it change and increase the openness to move to the state,” says Michael. “This has all come from research – we're now ranked fourth for preferred destinations to live.”

The current results are based on Quarter One research and track a 7 per cent uptick in interest in moving to SA among the target market, as well as seeing South Australia shift from eighth preferred destination to live to fourth.

“I definitely think it has shifted the dial and the conversation,” says Michael.


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