UTS Library

Official Faces of Top Ryde City


Top Ryde City

PR Company: 

Professional Public Relations

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2010 C6 - 14



Executive Summary: 

The Beville Group invested $800 million on rebuilding the new Top Ryde City shopping centre.

Prior to the demolition of the original shopping centre, local residents were frustrated with its dilapidated state and subsequently the traffic caused by the construction.

The Beville Group recognised it was imperative that the stage one launch focused on rebuilding a positive relationship with locals.

PPR helped reach this goal by creating the ‘Official Faces of Top Ryde City’ campaign, a campaign featuring face mosaics using the faces of 400 locals. The successful campaign engaged with the target audience and drove them to visit the centre during stage one opening to see if they were included in the historical mural.

Situation Analysis: 

The Beville Group sought an engaging campaign to capture the attention of and help rebuild a positive affiliation with local residents in the Ryde catchment to draw them to the newly constructed Top Ryde Shopping Centre, now known as Top Ryde City. The original edifice had been there since 1957 and was in significant disrepair.

Prior to the demolition of the original shopping centre, local residents were frustrated with its dilapidated state and subsequent traffic issues caused by the construction.

PPR worked closely with Defined Developments, the marketing arm of the Beville Group, to reach out to the centre’s key demographic of residents, businesses and students that lived or worked within the 7km catchment.

Importantly, as well as reaching all local residents, Top Ryde City was keen to represent the area’s four distinct demographics:

(a) Affluent and 40+ year olds

(b) Low-middle income young families and renters

(c) Chinese and Korean ethnicities

(d) Transient student and corporate population

PPR recommended a creative, all inclusive community project centred around Top Ryde City that provided the centre with an opportunity for further dialogue with shoppers.


PPR interviewed local residents from within the 7km catchment and drew special attention to residents who lived closest to the centre, from the suburbs of Ryde and Concord.

PPR researched where the residents shopped for essential and non-essential items, if and why they shopped at rival centres, Macquarie Centre and Rhodes; and what would make them come back to Top Ryde City.

It was clear from the research that Top Ryde City had special significance for former shoppers as it was a place for the community to meet and spend time for leisure or shopping requirements.

Based on this feedback, it was clear that Top Ryde City had to market itself as a modern shopping centre that still catered to the needs and wants of the local Ryde community.

Target Policies: 

For the face mosaic campaign, Top Ryde City focused on the following target audiences spanning various age groups:

Primary (within Top Ryde City’s 7km catchment):

•        Affluent and 40+ year olds

•        Low-middle income young families and renters

•        Chinese and Korean ethnicities

•        Transient student and corporate population


•        All residents within Top Ryde City’s 7km catchment

Communication Strategy: 

To help promote the face mosaic campaign, PPR engaged local print publications, radio and ethnic publications. PPR partnered with these media outlets to ensure they called out to local residents informing them of how they could participate in the face mosaic campaign.

FaceBook and Twitter were also implemented to ensure friends and followers of Top Ryde City’s social media pages were aware of the campaign and the photographer’s whereabouts, in order for them to be included in the milestone campaign.

Once the winners of stage one’s Official Faces of Top Ryde City campaign were announced, they were offered for interview to the local newspapers where they were profiled about their historical inclusion in the new shopping centre. Included in those profile pieces, other members of the community were encouraged to head in to the centre to find their face within the murals - creating further buzz and excitement among locals.

The winners were also invited to attend Top Ryde City’s official opening ceremony for stage one, where they were publically presented with miniature replicas of their face mosaic by John Beville of the Beville Group.

In-centre promotion included a public display of the four large murals featuring the central faces, which placed around the shopping centre for visitors to view.


PPR developed a campaign which would:

•        make the local community feel part of the redevelopment

•        be a visual reminder of the importance of the shopping centre within the community

•        helped maintain the centre’s state-of-the art new image

•        illustrate the many cultures and interests that Top Ryde City served

PPR aimed to achieve this through a large mosaic using the faces of hundreds of local residents.

As a starter, PPR met with a preferred photographer to discuss the feasibility of capturing hundreds of local residents’ images within a short time frame, the legality of capturing people’s data and photography locations.

Following the discussion, it was agreed that 400 faces would be shot over a three week period at various locations around the centre, including train stations, parks, community festivals, restaurants, cafes and bars within the 7km catchment.

For three weeks, the photographer and his assistant roamed the streets of Ryde and surrounding suburbs to capture images for the mosaic. To kick-start the campaign, they attended the Ryde Aquatic Festival which resulted in 100 faces being photographed on the day.

To capture the details of the willing and supportive participants, the photography assistant captured a name, address and signature from everyone, which was later provided to PPR for identification and consent. For those aged 16 years old or under, a signature from a parent was required for their consent form.

Once the 400 photos were taken, the shots were sent to PPR’s art studio where the mosaics were designed. Collaborating with the Top Ryde City team, four faces representing the centre’s key demographics (a) Affluent and 40+ year olds (b) Low-middle income young families and renters (c) Chinese and Korean ethnicities and (d) Transient student and corporate population - were chosen to become the larger ‘Faces of Top Ryde City.’

The mosaics were then displayed at various locations throughout the centre from launch day in November 2009 and proved a hit with locals, who closely examined the murals to see if they had made it into Top Ryde City’s history books.


Over the three week course of photographing members of the community, 400 local residents participated in the shoot and were featured in the face mosaic, which was displayed throughout the centre from launch date.

Awareness of the face mosaic campaign was heightened by the extensive coverage in Top Ryde City’s two local newspapers, the Northern District Times and The Weekly Times.

The Northern District Times alone, promoted the campaign three times, including a story encouraging local residents to look out for the roving photographer, an announcement of the mosaic being unveiled on launch date and a profile on the four local residents, who were chosen as the central faces.

To date, more than 600 local residents have participated and featured in the face mosaic campaign, a testament to the campaign’s successful community engagement.


As a result of the overwhelming support and participation in the mosaic by local residents, PPR and The Beville Group believe that it lead to positive results. Reduced complaints, increased positive media coverage in the lead up to, during and post stage one launch, and higher than expected patronage during open week ensued.

Defined Developments and the Beville Group were so pleased with the success of the event that the face mosaic campaign was rolled out for the launch of Top Ryde City’s second stage in February 2010 and final stage launch will be rolled out in August 2010 when the shopping centre celebrates its historic official grand opening.