Optus – Social Good ROCKS!


How do you get youth spending four hours with a brand when they can barely watch 30 second advertisements?

Market perception of telecommunications providers in Australia is at an all-time low and Optus’ NPS scores reflected this. Its traditional retention strategies have lost their competitive edge as other players replicating the brand’s rewards schemes and sponsorships. Optus’ youth base is shrinking and its advocacy, integrity and knowledge brand engagement scores are low amongst youth customers. Pre-paid customers in particular feel they are less valued than other customers and believe that Telco’s don’t relate to them.

In order to engage and differentiate itself in the hearts of this audience it knew that it had to stop acting like a Telco with a typical “youth campaign” and instead do something truly authentic. In true youth rebellion the brand threw out its tried and tested youth marketing formula and set itself a mission to prove to youth that Optus cares about them and what they care about.


Optus’ youth audience thought they were being misrepresented as a “selfish” generation; a study by the Service to Youth Council determined that seven out of 10 articles written in Australia about youth were negative. Young Australians believe that they are generous and give their time to causes they care about. However, their giving is couched in self-advancement; they are happy to give, as long as they get something in return for it. They also feel that being “rich” is about more than just money; what they are seeking is inimitable experiences which provide them with social currency.

To truly understand this movement Starcom Mediavest Group invested in a qualitative online real time group of 18-24 years old Australian’s. The unique approach through co-creation versus traditional research looked at participants as authors, designers and creators, rather than respondents. Instead of just enlisting their opinion, co-creation seeks to enlist their creativity and skills, involving them from idea to implementation. Over the course of the study it gave them interesting and engaging activities to partake in from brainstorms, to video tasks.

The study undertook deep dive Millennial investigations, uncovering that they wanted their own creativity to be unleashed, Standing out is easy for them, mattering is not and not being connected was the very real fear of missing out. To communicate to this audience music was still a social connecter to them, but it plays a variety of different roles today – A constant companion, an emotional outlet, a creative canvas and importantly a source of personal identity. Combining music experiences and social good became the perfect communications opportunity to connect with this audience in a meaningful way.

Welcome to the stage Optus Rockcorp.


Optus delivered a hugely successful music volunteering experience which both empowered and rewarded youth by partnering with RockCorps. Optus RockCorps launched with the principle of “Give, Get Given” -  by giving four hours of their time at one of over 65 volunteering events over 10 weeks, volunteers were given a ticket to the exclusive concert on 11th April 2013 in Sydney featuring international headliners The Script & Tinie Tempah, as well as local favourites The Potbellez & Guy Sebastian.

The most influential people to the target is their peers so SMG made volunteers the stars of the campaign by featuring them in advertising, content and music partners – lucky participants saw their faces around Sydney on street posters and digital billboards, all over their favourite websites, on TV and even heard themselves on the radio promoting Optus RockCorps. As a result the proud volunteers generated huge WOM as they shared their 15 minutes of fame with their social circles. The star treatment didn’t end there – SMG used RFID technology to give them control of their volunteering and concert experiences as their wristbands allowed easy sharing of photos and even let them pick which songs they wanted to hear. After all the excitement of the concert, Optus had one more surprise in store as it thanked them for their amazing contribution by handing branded headphones and Spotify memberships – making sure the music won’t stop for a long time to come.


Optus set out to become the telco brand that youth will love by 2015, and in year one, it is leading the market.

The Sydney launch smashed all targets and cemented Optus RockCorps into the social calendar with 75% awareness of the initiative after the campaign. Not only was it a major local success - it generated more registrations on our first day than any other initiative did in their first two weeks.

The event left the crowd standing and shouting from the roof tops about their experience, so much so that it lifted the brand’s NPS score by 12 points.

More significantly the campaign provided over 20,000 hours of much needed volunteering services to local community groups (including agency charity partner - Cerebral Palsy Alliance) at 65+ volunteering events, carried out by an army of more than 5,000 youth volunteers who all attended one amazing concert featuring four major artists that was broadcast to over 100,000 TV viewers. Optus provided a life changing experience which not only inspired youth, it transformed the way they act with 78% stating that they will make time to give back again after having participated.

Luckily for them, Optus RockCorps will be back and bigger in 2014.

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February - June 2013
Starcom Mediavest
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