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Winter campaign helps breathe life into city centre

12 August 2019

This winter, let’s explore the city centre together.

This was the message to Christchurch residents from June 17 – we’ve got an amazing CBD and it’s time you rediscovered it and made it your own.

The Baby Come Back campaign, delivered by ChristchurchNZ with support from Christchurch City Council and Ōtakaro Ltd, was designed to bring people back within the four avenues, change perceptions of the city centre, and make residents the city’s biggest ambassadors.

It comes a year after ChristchurchNZ’s 2018 city centre campaign, Explore, which solidified the City of Exploration narrative and encouraged residents to re-explore their urban centre. This time the idea was to make people laugh, not take themselves too seriously, and create a conversation about our central city.

So far so good. Baby Come Back was widely accepted by central-city businesses, keen to engage and champion the exploration message. Retailers created Baby Come Back-themed events and products. The city streets were busier and central city businesses experienced a less-drastic winter downturn.

Spending in the central city core was up 11 per cent on June last year. More specifically, spending on apparel increased 24 per cent, hospitality spending increased 21 per cent, and accommodation spending increased 7 per cent. These are big wins for the central city, and reason to celebrate.

ChristchurchNZ led the creative and marketing aspects of Baby Come Back, and local company Belmont Productions Ltd produced the visual assets. These included a hero video and a suite of shorter videos, focused on city themes like shopping and retail, restaurants and hospitality, movies, and the SALT District. The assets also included a range of static visuals, also produced in-house.

The assets were presented to the local business community at a public event at Sixty6 on Peterborough on June 17, which was attended by at least 250 business and community leaders, including several City Councillors.

ChristchurchNZ’s aim with the campaign was for it to be picked up by retailers and central city businesses and distributed organically through them. While ChristchurchNZ delivered the campaign, it was the businesses’ to own and champion.

The campaign was launched in various media formats, including full page ads in The Press newspaper, radio segments, billboard advertising and OnDemand TV. ChristchurchNZ engaged OMD Media to assist with effective media distribution.

The biggest push came on ChristchurchNZ’s social channels. Christchurch & Canterbury NZ Facebook page has more than 70,000 followers, and the Pockets of Awesome Facebook page has more than 30,000 followers, an important audience to capitalise on.

ChristchurchNZ’s marketing team created innovative posts and unique central-city giveaways to engage the public with the campaign. The giveaways, which included dining, entertainment and hotel stays, igniting significant interest with thousands of comments and shares.

Within the first two weeks, the campaign garnered more than 350,000 ad impressions, and it reached more than 213,000 users. Through social posts and across other digital advertising channels, there were 4,200 clicks through to the website, with a clickthrough rate of 1.18 per cent.

Plans are in place for further Baby Come Back activations, in both Christchurch and Wellington, and further videos will continue to showcase the central city in a new light.

ChristchurchNZ plans to continually track the success of Baby Come Back through foot traffic data, analysis of electronic spending in the city centre, and the more complicated task of assessing people’s perception of their city.

You’re running out of excuses to not have been into the CBD recently, so get involved, park up, and experience our city centre. It’s all here waiting for you, and only getting better by the day!