UTS Library

Australia Day - Celebrate What's Great


National Australia Day Council

PR Company: 

The National Australia Day Council Communications and Marketing Team

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2003 B 7



Executive Summary: 

Australia Day is the biggest national event on the calendar. Yet, with all the revelry and celebration that goes into the event, the question arises - what are we actually celebrating on Australia Day?

For Australia Day 2003, the National Australia Day Council (NADC) developed an unprecedented, comprehensive campaign to enhance the meaning of Australia Day, to encourage Australians to celebrate whats great about <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia and to enjoy January 26 with more purpose and national pride than ever before.

Upon completion of the campaign Australia Day was viewed as more than a public holiday by 84 per cent of people, a result which meant that for most Australians Australia Day had significant purpose and meaning. This was achieved through an integrated campaign involving print media, television, radio and the Internet.

Key listing: Australia Day, comprehensive campaign, communications, national pride, celebrate, events, public holiday

Situation Analysis: 

The challenge the NADC and its network faced was that for many Australians, Australia Day was just a public holiday or a day to attend free events. The situation, politically, socially and within the network itself, was also challenging. In particular:

  • Pre-existing negative issueswhat is Australia Day and why do we celebrate?; the date and indigenous issues; relevance of  the date to multicultural Australians and contemporary <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia.
  • A target audience of over 19 million Australians and a small budget with which to create attitudinal change.
  • No national brand or even a consistent look for Australia Day.
  • 800 local Australia Day committees and eight state and territory Australia Day councils (ADCs) who are autonomous bodies and who promote different messages resulting in confusion of meaning about what we celebrate.

A SWOT analysis and anecdotal research was undertaken to identify the specific internal and external issues that may impact upon the national communication strategy. (SWOT at Attachment A1.)


Developmental research:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

In developing the strategy the NADC:

  • Analysed articles, speeches and reports on national identity by social commentators.
  • Consulted with government and non-government organisations, the ADCs and leaders in the community.
  • Examined newspaper editorial to determine existing issues.
  • Examined Australian Citizenship for a New Century by the Australian Citizenship Council for information on shared Australian values.
  • Examined qualitative research from the National Council for the Centenary of Federation.

The research revealed that media commentators were debating the question: what are we celebrating on Australia Day?.

Attitudinal research:

To determine the Australian publics existing views of Australia Day and levels of national pride, the NADC commissioned focus groups on 29 July 2002 and a Newspoll survey on 911 August 2002. (Report at Attachment A2.)

Evaluation research:

To determine cut-through of the strategy key message and attitudes towards the meaning of Australia Day, a Newspoll survey was conducted on 31 January2 February 2003. (Report at Attachment A2.)

An in-house survey was conducted with local Australia Day committees to determine use and knowledge of logo, resource kit and national campaign themes. (Key findings at Attachment A3 and A4.)


Target Policies: 

Target Publics<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Target publics for the campaign were:

  • Australian public; and
  • Media.

Communication Strategy: 

With a limited budget, the NADC developed a three-pronged strategy to reach the target public and achieve the objectives:

  1. Tools of mass communication to engage the Australian public;
  2. Media strategy and materials to engage the media;
  3. The ADCs and local Australia Day committees to promote key messages, distribute campaign materials and support a consistent brand for Australia Day.

The strategy was driven by the theme Celebrate whats great. This theme was answer to the question what are we celebrating on Australia Day? The supporting key messages were:

  • On Australia Day we celebrate what is great about <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia.
  • Lets celebrate all the great things about Australia, for example: the people, the land, diversity, a fair go for all, indigenous cultures, freedom and democracy.
  • These are a starting point for you to think about what is great about Australia and being Australian.
  • Lets recommit to making Australia an even better place for the future.

To communicate the key messages the strategy used images and words that represented what was great about Australia and being Australianimages that all Australians invest in emotionally and that tug at our heartstrings.


The communication material answered the question what are we celebrating on Australia Day? with on Australia Day we celebrate whats great. The material also outlined examples of the values that unite us as Australians and the things that we celebrate. The target public was encouraged to think about these suggestions when determining for themselves what is great about <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia and being Australian.

Online resource kit for local Australia Day committees<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


  • Australia Day logo and style sheet, media release proforma with campaign messages, the values we celebrate on Australia Day, celebrate whats great colouring-in images, and other resources. (Promotional flyer at Attachment A5.)


  • To maximise brand awareness and use at local level.
  • To maximise use of campaign theme in local Australia Day events.
  • To maximise use of campaign key messages in regional and suburban Australia Day media coverage.

TV Community Service Announcement


  • Profiles the Australian Citizenship Pledge and uses key messages and engaging images of real Australians. (CSA at Attachment A6.)


  • To inspire pride and provide the meaning of what we celebrate on Australia Day to the Australian public through a mass media channel.
  • To promote celebrate whats great, national logo and the web site.

AM and FM radio series


  • Through tailoring material to create relevance for a sponsor, we were able to produce two national radio seriesone for FM (Funny About Australia) and one for AM (Celebrate whats great).
  • FM series: comedians using Australian-based humour.
  • AM series: testimonials from Australian personalities and previous Australians of the Year on what they think is great about Australia. (CDs of both series at Attachment A7.)


  • FMto use humour to appeal to FM listeners and promote theme.
  • AMto use testimonials from Australian role models to provoke thoughts on whats great about Australia and promote theme.

Web site portal (www.australiaday.gov.au)


  • Inviting home page with logo and strategy theme, key messages in description of Australia Day, resource kit and logo files, media centre, education centre, testimonials from Australians of the Year, Your Say section inviting comments on whats great about Australia. (Web site home page at Attachment A8.)


  • To provide the meaning of Australia Day and what we celebrate to the target public.
  • To make the resource kit and Australia Day logo available to local committees.
  • To provide media with access to media materials.

Media strategy and media kit


  • National pride media release in November 2002 to major regional and metropolitan print and radio.
  • Media kit to key print and radio journalists containing campaign materials.
  • Australia Day media release and backgrounder to metropolitan and major regional press, metropolitan radio and talkback radio on 6 January 2003. (Media kit at Attachment A9.)


  • To set the agenda for Australia Day, creating discussion in the media based on the strategy themes.



There was an 18 per cent correct response rate to the question what was the theme/message of this years Australia Day? in the Newspoll evaluation research.

The strategy tools achieved the following results:

  • Online resource kit for local Australia Day committees.
    • Logo was accessed by 146 committees.
    • Resource viewed positively by Australia Day network, based on anecdotal feedback and an in-house survey. (Findings at Attachment A3.)
    • 5,133 images downloaded from the resource kit from launch date to end of January 2003. (Details at Attachment A10.)
  • TV Community Service Announcement
    • The TV CSA was played nationally across the three major commercial networks.
    • The total airtime value of the free placement was $413,800. (Details at Attachment A11.)
    • Television was the most successful of the campaign toolsof those who recognised celebrate whats great, 43 per cent said television was their source of information.
  • Radio series AM and FM
    •  The take up rate by radio stations for the AM series exceeded the previous years series with 106 stations in 2003 compared to 85 in 2002.
    • The FM series was new for 2003 and was picked up by 110 stations. (Station lists at Attachment A12.)
  • Web site
    • The new web site was received favourably, with many requests generated for information and merchandise.
    • 6,032 page views on Australia Day and 25,670 over the week prior to Australia Day.
    • 80,350 page views during January. (Web site reports at Attachment A10.)
  • Media strategy and media kit
    • Media kit resulted in calls from many journalists for interviews and information.
    • Media release in November 2002 generated early media interest, resulting in five interviews and 10 radio pieces/press articles.
    • 35 per cent of newspaper articles that discussed the meaning of Australia Day carried campaign messages.
    • 72 media mentions of celebrate whats great and a further 19 mentions of NADC supplied material. (Media clip research at Attachment A13.)
  • Additional activities that arose during the implementation of the strategy that were successful and increased the cut-through of messages.
    • Key messages included in the Commonwealth Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Ambassadors speeches for Citizenship ceremonies across the nation on Australia Day.
    • Letter to federal MPs and Senators inviting them to promote the theme.
    • Key themes were included in the Prime Ministers Australia Day messages.


Objective: To raise peoples knowledge and understanding of what we celebrate on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia Day by providing them with information on the people, values, ideals, achievements and qualities that make Australia great.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

This objective was ACHIEVED by the uniformed use of campaign key messages in all information that was disseminated and available to the public. We produced the necessary items to enable education to have occurred, demonstrated through the public recognition of the campaign theme, the increased media clips, and the range of other materials produced for the campaign.

Without the funds to conduct research into peoples knowledge and understanding of what we celebrate it is difficult to be entirely clear about the degree of education that may have occurred.

Objective: To create a brand for Australia Day and build brand awareness and loyalty among the target public by encouraging an emotional connection to the brand through the use of consistent key messages, emotive images and humour.

An Australia Day brand was created using nationally consistent messages and the Australia Day logo in all materials.

The logo was used by the majority of ADCs in 2003. The awareness of the logo among local Australia Day committees was 95 per cent. Two-thirds of committees used the logo in 2003. The 2004 campaign will also use the theme and logo to continue building the brand, with an expected increase to 80 per cent of committees using the logo in 2004. (Findings at Attachment A4.)

Objective: To unite all Australia Day activities by encouraging the state and territory Australia Day councils and local committees to promote the shared messages and use the new promotional materials.

The key messages were used by the majority of the ADCs (five out of eight) in their Australia Day promotions and events. Virtually all local committees who were aware of the themes in 2003 used them in their promotions, and the majority of committees expect to use the theme in 2004. (Findings at Attachment A4.)

Objective: Ensure timely, up-to-date and accessible information was available.

All materials were released prior to 26 January, 2003 and were up-to-date and accessible to the target public. All media queries were responded to within the timelines required by journalists.

Objective: To achieve at least 10 per cent of correct answers from post 26 January research to the question what was the theme/message of this years Australia Day?

This objective was ACHIEVED. The strategy resulted in 18 per cent of people recognising celebrate whats great as the theme for 2003.

Objective: To achieve 40 per cent of key messages appearing in newspaper editorial.

The media strategy produced 35 per cent of editorial containing key messages therefore this objective was NOT ACHIEVED:

  • 135 clips included reference to the meaning of Australia Day 47 contained key messages.

However, it should be noted that as a new campaign, there was no basis on which to create this objective.