In the midst of a pandemic, we hit the road to capture a taste of ‘The Ekka’ and present it online.
Agriculture / Events
What happened around the world in early 2020 needs no repeating. But this is the story of what happened to Queensland’s largest event, our beloved Royal Queensland Show, aka ‘The Ekka.’ As was the case with most live events, in 2020 the Ekka almost became Queensland’s biggest ‘non-event.’ Of course, cancelling the Ekka because of pandemic was not without precedent – the 1919 show was canned by the Spanish Flu, with the Showgrounds used as an open air hospital. A century later, history looked to be repeating, and the Qld Government earmarked the expansive conference rooms of Brisbane Showgrounds as makeshift hospitals to handle the expected overflow of Covid patients. By mid-April it became clear that the RNA had little option but to cancel the 2020 event.
But farmers are bloody adaptable… and the RNA team are too.
To us, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the Ekka online, and do our best to engage the community of Ekka loyalists, generate value for sponsors, and most importantly, help out their community of farmers who could now add ‘pandemic’ to the list of droughts, floods and bushfires they've had to deal with in recent years. With literally zero budget, but faith that it would be embraced by sponsors, Creature took a big leap of faith and created the actual platform as proof of concept, using our no-code know-how to get up and running fast.
in a matter of days fast.
Building it for real also meant it felt ‘real’ – like it was happening with or without sponsors, so they'd better get on board. And shortly after, they did. With the support of RNA and its councillors, pledges began to roll in, and the project got the green light.
The idea was an extension of our successful ‘Meet A Farmer’ campaign. We’d hit the road with a film crew and Sammie O’Brien of Channel Seven, meet some farmers, and bring their stories back from the bush.
The site is divided up into several ‘channels’ dedicated to different facets of the regular Ekka. Plus Things like dogs, cats, animal nursery, cooking, baking, horses… all the stuff people would usually hang out for each Ekka. Each channel was created with a specific regular sponsor in mind… it made perfect sense for Blackhawk Pet Food to sponsor the Paws ‘n’ Claws channel. So too Woolworths, who have kindly sponsored the ‘Meet a Farmer’ channel in which Sammie O’Brien shows us where our fresh food comes from. This makes for somewhat of an ‘organic’ product placement (as in, less forced, not pesticide free).
Creature’s founder and resident photographer Simon hit the road accompanied by regular film collaborators PixelFrame and Sammie O’Brien of Channel Seven, visiting 10 farm in 10 days. Back in the studio, the ekkaonline.com website continues to evolve in the lead up to the digital event, and as extra requirements emerge we’ve been able to adapt on the fly. Like adding a last minute CMS to house a marketplace of vendors who sadly miss out on the show this year – something that simply would not have been possible without a versatile web platform.
In the first 48 hours, the site had over 25,000 unique visitors, with an 8% email opt-in rate (a great result considering the benchmark is 1.95%). After 10 days of Ekka online, some 100,000 unique visitors had checked out the site, and the Ekka spirit was alive and well. Now, it can live on year round, with the 'Meet a Farmer' series available to stream via 7plus.
The video below provides a glimpse of the whole experience. Enjoy.
- Marketing Collateral
- Email Templates
- Social Assets