Like many arts events globally, plans for 14th annual Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) in 2020 were thrown into doubt following COVID-19 border closures and the introduction of social distancing measures. However, seeing these unprecedented times as a unique opportunity to reach an even broader Australian and international audience through digital channels, DAAF organisers quickly pivoted to launch an online fair for the first time ever.
Bastion Effect and the DAAF team worked closely together to adapt our original communications strategy – which had been developed based on the delivery of a physical art fair in Darwin – to take the fair in a completely new direction. And all while in lockdown!
The campaign involved media pitching to local and international targets, an influencer engagement program with product seeding to 12 influencers across the country to generate socials activity, a digital Google Ads campaign driving traffic towards the fair’s website, stakeholder engagement and key partnerships facilitation.
Bastion Effect worked with local, national and international media across TV, radio, online, print and social media platforms to present DAAF as the premier Indigenous art event in Australia. We also highlighted the move to an online format as an accessible way for anyone, anywhere, to ethically purchase authentic Aboriginal art. To do this we profiled the artists, designers, art centres and DAAF executive team as key spokespeople and experts in the field. Of course, having stunning imagery to work with also helped!
DAAF opened its virtual doors to the first ever online fair on Thursday 6 August 2020. The program was officially launched the day prior via the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFAs) which were livestreamed on NITV broadcast. So successful was the online art fair, it was extended by an extra weekend!
In total, Bastion Effect achieved 310 media hits for DAAF and NIFAs, generating exposure among more than 112,295,450 people worldwide. This included 85 hits in international media including the Boston Herald, Daily Herald, the Epoch Times and MSN News.
Our outreach hit all of our top tier media targets across print including Herald Sun, The Australian, The Age, Australian Financial Review, Vogue, Good Weekend, Marie Claire and the list goes on! The team also managed to land broadcast opportunities with ABC National 7pm evening news, ABC Weekend Breakfast, NITV and Triple J (and more). Lastly, all lifestyle and fashion online touchpoints were covered including RUSSH, Vogue, Vogue Living, The Design Files, GQ, The Urban List, Fashion Journal, WWD, and Fashion newspaper editorials for The Age, Herald Sun and The Australian.
The digital campaign drove 76,000 new visitors to the DAAF website, with traffic up 400 per cent.