The innovative, unconventional and inspiring work of Droga5

Ahead of David Droga’s talk at Design Indaba 2019, we take a look at some of the more impactful work from his agency.

Droga5

In early 2018, a trailer for what appeared to be a fourth Crocodile Dundee film appeared online. Featuring actor Danny McBride as the son of the original Michael "Crocodile" Dundee, alongside iconic Australian actors including Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Margot Robbie, the clip left many on the internet scratching their heads at the seeming resurgence of the three decade old franchise. Beloved as the reptile-wrangling character may be, a 2018 reboot felt entirely out of left field.

In fact, Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home turned out not to be a real film; the entire production was actually an elaborate tourism campaign for Australia, masterminded by the man behind the world’s top creative agency, David Droga. Part of Tourism Australia’s $27m global ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ master brand campaign, it ingeniously utilised one of the country’s top entertainment exports as a tool for attracting American visitors.

“You ask anyone about Australia, and they go to Crocodile Dundee,” Droga explained. “There has been no better ad for Australia than that movie.”

The founder of Droga5 and very first speaker announced for Design Indaba 2019, Droga has spent the past eleven years at the head of his agency, working with high profile clients and delivering outstanding creative work. Here, we highlight some of the more memorable and innovative campaigns that have sprung from the mind of the most awarded individual in the history of the Cannes Lion Festival.

Under Armour

When athletic brand Under Armour realised it was missing out on a huge chunk of its potential market – namely women – due to perception of the brand as ‘hypermasculine’, the company turned to Droga5 to help rebrand itself. By recruiting supermodel Gisele Bündchen and American ballet dancer Misty Copeland as brand ambassadors, the agency was able to produce a high-quality online video, TV and out-of-home content campaign that depicts female athletes using their willpower to tune out society’s standards on the path to achieving their dreams.

In her nearly 2-minute long film, Copeland performs a masterful routine set to the reading of a ballet-school rejection letter, communicating an engaging message of how inner strength can drive our destiny.

Bing Decode Jay-Z

Seeking to increase their relevance with younger audiences, 2010 saw Microsoft’s Bing teamed up with Droga5 and iconic rapper Jay-Z for the creation of a campaign that served the interests of both the search engine and the artist.

By hosting a lengthy scavenger hunt built around Jay-Z’s Decoded memoir – which combines lyrics, their explanations, anecdotes, reflections, and autobiographical details – fans were encouraged to utilise Bing maps to find locations and real life places where text from the book was blown up, and whoever decoded all 200 clues received The Jay-Z Lifetime Pass – a ‘golden ticket’ to any show the rapper performs at. The campaign increased Bing’s market share to the highest it had been since its 2009 launch and saw Decoded remain on the best-seller list for 19 weeks.

The Great Schlep

In the 2008 US Presidential election, Barack Obama needed to win key swing states, including Florida – a state his team was concerned about due to false perceptions that elderly Jewish voters held regarding Obama and his campaign.

In collaboration with the Jewish Council for Education and Research, Droga5 created an online video campaign that starred comedian Sarah Silverman and urged young Jewish voters to make the "great schlep" to Florida to persuade their grandparents to vote for Obama. The video went viral and, ultimately, Obama won Florida by 170,000 votes (51 per cent vs. 49 per cent) and received the highest elderly Jewish vote in 30 years.

Role Models | Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential Campaign

Ahead of the 2016 US Presidential debates, Droga5 created a television spot for the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign that forced viewers to grapple with the kind of example a Trump presidency would set for the nation’s children.

Using audio clips and video footage of Trump’s numerous disparaging comments toward reporters, Mexican immigrants, women and other minorities, these are juxtaposed against the eyes of a diverse cast of children gazing at the TV and digesting these words. Ending with the tagline, ‘Our children are watching. What example will we set for them?’, the video is powerful in its simplicity and straightforward in its messaging.

Mailchimp

Called 'Did You Mean MailChimp?', the Droga5 campaign for email marketing service Mailchimp eschewed traditional brand campaign strategies, opting instead for having a bit of fun with its own name.

A reference to an episode of cult podcast series Serial in which people mispronounced MailChimp, Droga5 created nine different mini campaigns, all of which rhyme with the name MailChimp. There was MailShrimp, KaleLimp, and JailBlimp. Three surreal, short art films were created for each mini campaign and played before features in movie theaters across the US, while other campaigns were envisioned under equally silly sounding names. It was a light-hearted, jovial project, ideal for the brand’s first major advertising campaign.

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