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Champagne, croissants and culture: Learnings from the 2015 Brisbane French Festival

The Brisbane French Festival’s three days of berets, baguettes, and camembert may be over, but the city’s love of French culture remains as strong as ever.

Now in its fifth year, the Festival delivers an unmatched opportunity for anyone searching for their own slice of France. It’s grown from a humble one-day event to become the country’s largest French festival, which this year saw nearly 50,000 through the gate.

To promote this year’s Festival, BBS developed a three-month media strategy to build awareness, excitement and attendance.  In implementing the strategy, we relied on the following five strategies to generating great publicity:

1. A picture paints a thousand words
A photo can make or break a story opportunity, so it is important to have a potential photo in mind when trying to capture the attention of journalists and the general public. BBS worked alongside several journalists to coordinate photoshoots in the lead up to the Festival, drawing on French fashion, food and culture for each photoshoot.

2. Harness new media such as bloggers
It is crucial not to overlook blogs and social media accounts when developing a strategy for media coverage. Bloggers typically capture niche interest groups and often have readership figures equivalent to some local publications.  They’re often followed by journalists too, further helping other media tactics.

3. Develop a media plan with deadlines
Pre-planning and developing a specific set of media milestones prior to the event is key to achieving certain goals and expectations within a realistic and news-appropriate timeframe.

4. Create new and exciting content
For a recurring event such as the Brisbane French Festival, it is important to communicate the new and exciting features of this year’s event so as to entice not only renewed media interest, but also repeat visitors.

5. Facts and figures are your friends
Applying statistics, such as the number of attendees or amount of food and wine consumed, communicates the scale of the Festival to journalists, helping to elevate its newsworthiness.

The Outcome

  • Nearly 100 media stories on the festival, generating more than $690,000 in equivalent advertising value (EAV)
  • Two live television crosses on Channel 9 News
  • ABC 612 Breakfast Radio interview with Brisbane French Festival Director Betty Moinet
  • Substantial coverage in the Courier-Mail and City South News
  • National media coverage in the Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
  • Several stories in glossy magazines including Brisbane News, bMag, Style Magazine, Indulge and West End Magazine
  • Extensive coverage from local food, lifestyle and fashion bloggers

Most importantly, despite some wet weather the Brisbane French Festival attracted record crowds, with more than 45,000 general admission tickets sold. As a result more than 2,000 bottles of champagne and wine, as well as 1.3 tonnes of cheese were consumed during the three day event.