Last week, Melbourne was back to its magical, buzzing best. Covid lockdowns, curfews and Dan Andrews’ North Face jacket are seemingly distant memories, and the Toyota AFL Grand Final was back in front of 100,000 fans at the home of footy, the MCG.
After a tightly contested Finals Series, the “too old, too slow” Geelong Cats took home the ultimate premiership prize, breaking a few Sydney Swans fan’s hearts.
But while the dust is still settling around the MCG, Mad Monday celebrations have been completed and we’re already deep in the crazy fortnight that is the trade period, it is worth taking a moment to review some of the sponsorship highlights from the first Grand Final week in Melbourne in three years.
In the lead up to the big dance, the Virgin Australia Footy Festival returned to Yarra Park and featured more Corporate and Broadcast Partners activating than ever before. There was something for everyone, including the opportunity to rub shoulders with players, take part in footy skills and drills clinics, live music and entertainment, free massages, a Ferris wheel and lots of merchandise. But which brands did it best? Here are my highlights:
Toyota Good for Footy Clubhouse
I may be a little biased here… but to truly celebrate local footy through activation on a big stage, Toyota constructed a life-size replica of a local community club house in which fans could experience an elite finals footy environment at a local level.
The activation featured an honour wall, signing and photo sessions with AFLW and AFL players, a cameo from the Premiership Cup and a daily sausage sizzle to support the Ladder Foundation raising money to improve the lives of young people around Australia.
The activity culminated in Brian Taylor giving away the last two tickets to the Toyota AFL Grand Final just hours before the bounce. One Cats fan who had driven all the way from South Australia hoping to get a seat to watch his team fight it out against the Swans was the lucky recipient.
Chemist Warehouse Locker Room
In previous Grand Final weeks, Chemist Warehouse have focused on the in-stadium experience, placing branded seat cushions and goodie bags on every single seat within the MCG. This year, their attention turned to a bold activation within the Footy Festival, and they brought to life the ‘Locker Room’. Fans had the chance to grab a massage, take a photo in the club lockers of each of the 8 Finals Series teams and test out their commentary skills in the Shepmates Sharehouse Commentary Booth. Upon exiting the Locker Room, fans were given a Chemist Warehouse branded goodie bag.
Virgin Australia Flight Giveaway
Onto Grand Final Day. The sun was shining, and fans were streaming into the MCG in their thousands. The pregame entertainment featuring Robbie Williams and Delta Goodrem was amazing – perhaps the best we have ever seen. It was a tough gig for brands to activate following such a spectacle, but Virgin Australia gave it a go with a repeat of their flight giveaway to 500 lucky fans who best replicated the cabin crews’ on field, plane signalling dance moves.
AAMI Match Ball Delivery
AAMI persevered with their Clangers campaign and blurred the lines between pre-recorded vision and an on-field stunt. The vision featured a star-studded line up of past and present AFLW and AFL heroes and followed the official match Sherrin being passed around the country before landing at the MCG and being carried out onto the field by an AAMI woman in real time. The content was engaging for fans in the stadium as excitement built towards the first bounce and the transition from vision to live stunt was smoothly executed.