UTS Library

Assitej 2008


Arts Projects Australia

PR Company: 

Gray Management Group

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2009 C13 - 03



Executive Summary: 

1.1 The 16th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival for Young People were hosted in Adelaide from May 9-18, 2008. ASSITEJ showcases the best theatre for children and young people from around the globe and is the world’s most significant cultural event for children, young people and their families.

1.2 The publicity campaign executed by Gray Management Group (GMG) ran from September 2007 to May 2008 targeting local and national media. Publicity needed to create awareness and hype around the ASSITEJ festival in order to drive ticket sales. Securing media partnerships were key to raising awareness and driving the event locally, including coverage of the World Congress as well as the festival. Publicity opportunities were written into stakeholder and sponsorship contracts so these needed to be delivered, providing infiltration for these organizations into youth and family orientated markets.

1.3 GMG generated $465,000 worth of advertising value throughout the 8 month campaign. Of the 138 performances held over 10 days, 110 were sold out. The Performing Arts Festival and World Congress drew 2,200 delegates, including 500 international delegates and were attended by over 50,000 people. The key sponsors for ASSITEJ were National Pharmacies and BHP Billiton received over $65,000 worth of advertising value throughout print and online.

Situation Analysis: 

2.1 Established in 1965, ASSITEJ is an international network of theatre which links thousands of theatre professionals and organizations who produce and perform for children and young people world wide. The ASSITEJ Performing Arts Festival is held every three years and Adelaide had won the rights to host the event in 2008. The festival had previously been held here in 1987 (making Australia the only country to have held the festival twice).

2.2 The festival was competing with events held in Adelaide including Fringe, Womadelaide, Adelaide Cup and Clipsal 500, limiting the lead-up media coverage and challenging ticket sales. ASSITEJ required a local public relations organisation with exceptional local contacts to secure coverage and assist with media partnerships in the lead up to event. Considerable time was devoted to educating media on the cultural significance of the event and pronunciation of ASSITEJ (Azz-i-tesh), which proved problematic for radio and TV announcers

2.3 Budget restrictions for the program launch and sponsorship announcement needed to be considered because it limited the visuals and activity the organisation could afford to invest in. This resulted in GMG looking at alternative options to traditional media calls as there wasn’t the budget to set up enough visuals for TV and pictorials.

2.4 Other key considerations were the fact the client’s planning restrictions limited long lead opportunities around the festival as decisions relating to some key dates and events were made or changed at the last minute


4.1 Arts Projects Australia (APA) managed and coordinated the ASSITEJ Performing Arts Festival and Congress and had extensive knowledge of the arts industry. APA had previously conducted research into key target groups attending the festival. From this research it was determined that key target groups were primary schools and high and families.

4.2 Research conducted by APA also outlined government and corporate and community interest organisations who would be key contributors to the success of an exciting arts-based event. In particular John Hill, Minister Assisting the Premier in the Arts, Carclew Youth Arts, Come Out Festival, Young People and the Arts Australia (YPAA).

4.3 GMG worked closely with APA to identify key media and online targets in order to achieve ticket sale objectives. The advertising budget for ASSITEJ was minimal and the festival could not rely on it alone to sell the number of tickets necessary to be a financial success.

4.4 GMG developed background information including biographies on SIEC and Lynton V Harris by interviewing Lynton and his employees. GMG viewed footage on attractions based in the US which gave a good insight into how the attractions are driven with a combination of live elements (actors), sound effects, lighting and detailed sets. A Harvard Case Study was written on Lynton V Harris and SIEC in 1997 which provided an excellent insight into the history of SIEC, particularly the way in which Harris propelled one small idea developed on a napkin in Adelaide, to a show in Sydney, to a theme park in Madison Square Gardens in New York.

4.5 GMG researched all local, national and international performing arts companies participating in ASSITEJ to leverage long lead opportunities and identify suitable spokespeople for the event. From this GMG developed a fact sheet and synopsis of each of the performing arts companies and the show each company was presenting. Also developed was a fact sheet on the World Congress including a synopsis on each of the international presenters.

4.6 Research by GMG into how to best secure awareness for the event, identified that ASSITEJ would benefit from having a high profile ambassador who was respected within the arts industry. Hugh Jackman was identified as an individual within the arts who would best suit the role and through contacts within Carclew Youth Arts and the arts industry Hugh Jackman was secured as the event ambassador.



Target Policies: 

5.1 The ASSITEJ performing Arts Festival and Congress campaign was intended for a wide demographic of the general public. Research showed that key target groups were primary schools and high schools in both the private and public systems, throughout South Australia and potentially Victoria. Families, in particular Mum’s, who would see value in their children attending the festival and would be responsible for ticket purchasers.

5.2 School Teachers (primary and high school) The ASSITEJ program was designed for children and young people aged from 1-18years. It was anticipated the majority of bookings for shows would come from school groups so it was essential the publicity engaged with school teachers. Teachers across the state were targeted through a teachers launch held 5months before the festival. The event was extremely well attended by a board cross section of teachers from local and regional school in both the public and private systems.

5.3 Families with children and young people aged 1-18years

Families, in particular mums, were targeted through TV, print and radio presence. Local long lead glossy magazines were ideal for promoting the festival to mums, through profiles on performances for children and babies as well as those aimed at tweens and teens. Breakfast radio also played an important role in the week leading up to the festival. Interviews were strategically conducted in key time slots where mums would be in the cars dropping children to school.

Communication Strategy: 

6.1 There were a number of considerations made with regards to how the communications strategy rolled out.

6.2 Due to the wide and varied age demographics being targeted, and the reliance on publicity to drive ticket sales; GMG were aware that the communication strategy had to extensively utilise all media across TV, radio, print and online.

6.3 As with many festivals, securing publicity 5 months out can be challenging. ASSITEJ artistic director Jason Cross was identified as an exceptional spokesperson and talent for publicity opportunities. His experience within the field of theatre for young people and his passion for the craft made him exciting for media to engage with and GMG were able to leverage a number of exclusive opportunities through him.

6.4 The three key events were strategically placed from October 2007-April 2008 to ensure that there were aspects of the festival being launched so as to ensure publicity had something to leverage in the earlier part of the campaign.

6.5 Due to the fact the event was an international festival there was the opportunity for national coverage. Interstate performing arts companies were used to leverage publicity interstate and national media were targeted to extend the reach of the festival.


The campaign was based around key dates from October 2007 – May 2008.

7.1 October

• Sponsorship Announcement Friday 12 October, 2007 at the Adelaide Festival Theatre. Media alert send to key media regarding sponsorship announcement. Media Release to follow the day of the launch, announcing National Pharmacies, BHP and IGA as corporate partners. Due to budget restrictions, ASSITEJ did not have the money to spend on creating a visual opportunities for media, GMG engage circus performers from Carclew Youth Arts at no charge to stage a one off performance for TV, print and online. National Pharmacies secured coverage across print and online for its support of the festival.

• Meetings with key media (The Advertiser, Channel 10, Mix102.3) to gauge initial interest in providing additional support for the event through coverage.

7.2 November

(a) All media (The Advertiser, Channel 10) additional publicity commitments are confirmed.

(b) Teachers Launch held Friday 16 November, 2007 at Capri Theatre. Due to the timing of the event at 5pm, GMG organised media call earlier in the day with performers and a live goat (representative of the ASSITEJ logo). Secured coverage across Print, TV and radio on an extremely busy news day as the Prime Minster had arrived in Adelaide unannounced.

(c) Interviews for long lead opportunities with magazine conducted – SA Life, Adelaide Magazine, Adelaide Matters (March/ April Issues).

7.3 December


(a) Early December was aimed at securing any publicity opportunities aimed at teachers before school broke for Christmas holidays.

(b) Media release sent to key media announcing ASSITEJ ticket sales reaching 10,000. Designed around a call to action plan, prompting teachers to secure tickets as quickly as possible as shows were selling out.




9.1 The campaign successfully raised awareness for ASSIETJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival through a combination of coverage on television, print, radio and online.

9.2 The most effective achievements:

(g) Exclusive feature on TTN children’s program (Network 10) outlining the festival and interviews with performers, children and the Artist Director.




10.1 (Objective 3.2(a) above) Ticket sales exceeded expectations selling-out 85% of its performances.

10.2 (Objective 3.2(b) above) The World Congress which attracted delegates from the World over received significant media coverage, including TV.

10.3 (Objective 3.2(c) above) Media Partnerships with The Advertiser and Network 10 were extremely successful, providing excellent publicity and branding opportunities for ASSITEJ. Both The Advertiser and Network Ten signed on as official media partners for the Come Out ’09 festival following the success of ASSTEJ in 2008.

10.4 (Objective 3.2(d) above) National Pharmacies, IGA and BHP Billiton all received coverage in regards to their individual support of the ASSITEJ festival.

10.5 (Objective 3.2(e) above) TTN (Network Ten) profiled an exclusive behind the scenes look at ASSITEJ 2008, highlighting 5 of the stand out performance of the festival. The program screened nationally.

10.6 (Objective 3.2(f) above) Exclusive media opportunities were developed and worked up across print, radio, TV and online media including interstate, local and national press.

10.7 ASSITEJ Performing Arts Festival was a huge success for all involved – it was a professional and financial success for ASSITEJ; a branding success for The Advertiser and Network Ten; a success for the corporate sponsors National Pharmacies, IGA and BHP Billiton.

1 Refer to APPENDIX A, 1

2 Refer to APPENDIX A, 2

3 Refer to APPENDIX A,3

4 Refer to APPENDIX A, 4