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Drawing people back to the city
Drawing people back to the city

CERA needed a long-term campaign that showcased the desirability of Christchurch’s inner city living to potential investors, buyers and tenants.

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan’s vision for a vibrant central city requires inner city living as a crucial contributor to that objective. The city was ready to encourage people to consider the benefits and start to dream.

The Brief

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan sets out a vision for a green, strong, compact, vibrant and accessible central city – all attributes that should engage people back into the city centre. Following extensive research, CERA briefed us to develop a long-term campaign that showcases the desirability of Christchurch’s inner city living to potential investors, buyers and tenants.

The Solution

Our insight from the research was that the three primary audiences all saw inner city living as a vehicle for a more active, exciting and fulfilling life. Campaign success was therefore not about physical location or central city attractions but about people’s lifestyle aspirations.

The rollout strategy was broken down into three parts: ‘sell the dream’, ‘make it real’, 'promote the opportunity’. So far, we’ve completed the ‘sell the dream’, and started the ‘make it real’ phases.

To encourage strong personal alignment, we built the design concept around the question: What’s central to you?

This is about the city as an expression of the individual, living the life that is important to you and living in the centre of what’s happening. A blank canvas, a core aspect of the design execution, provides the vehicle for telling stories of life in the city. It also suggests the opportunity to be amongst the first, and to shape the inner city you want. This pioneer/first-mover spirit is further expressed in direct ‘experience the new’ and ‘make your move’ messaging.

The creative focused on real people talking about the benefits and excitement of city living. They enjoy walking to work, adventures by the river, trying out the latest restaurant or attending the latest show. Their lifestyles help audiences picture themselves living fuller lives and as the city changes, experiencing the new everyday.

The energy, vibrancy and convenience of inner city living are implicitly woven into the design and messaging.

The Results

The campaign attracted significant interest from the private sector developers, who were invited to become part of it by showcasing their developments. The campaign’s real-life stories attracted more people who wanted to share their stories and local businesspeople offered their support by encouraging their peers to show their commitment to the city.

Awareness in the campaign developed as a result of clever placement and media attention, resulting from the controversial approach of using real people to define the target audience. The next campaign phase is about to begin.

See also: Christchurch Earthquake Memorial Competition, The Amazing Place - Integrated Communications Campaign, CERA 'Coming Up' Campaign