It was not so long ago that running a PR campaign meant sending out a release to a few favoured contacts and waiting for coverage. In 2018, a time of innumerable methods of storytelling and consumer engagement, this seems almost archaic.
Campaigns centered around live events have also had to adapt — and Mango Sydney’s new head of experiential, Belle Sparavec, believes that collaboration is the key to cutting through the noise.
“A campaign was either experiential or public relations, but now there is a bridging of the gap because clients are starting to see that together they are incredibly powerful.”
Sparavec has worked in the luxury sector for more than a decade, delivering major campaigns for a string of high-end brands. She has always sought to push boundaries, she explains, and works best with clients who want to be “leaders, not followers”. Take the 2010 opening of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, for example, which saw a catwalk built atop the resort’s Venetian-style canal for a fashion show.
Other career highlights include bringing Amber Lounge, the luxury lifestyle experience hosted by Formula 1, to Monaco, Texas and Singapore. Delivering one project across numerous markets was challenging but enjoyable, she explains. “Because each country is different you have to learn on your feet, while ensuring the connective thread is the same throughout.”
Today, Sparavec is determined to use her knowledge to bring similarly ambitious campaigns to Australia. For this to happen, she says, brands need to be daring.
“There’s a fear around how much brands want to invest and around the return on that investment. Mango is doing something special by taking PR and experiential and marrying them, because that’s how these campaigns are going to take off. I’d like to see more of that kind of collaboration.”
Sparavec’s new year brings a loaded to-do list, with campaigns for the likes of Wella and Volkswagen. Keeping events within realistic financial boundaries, even as the experiential industry continues to thrive, will be her biggest challenge, she says.
“We all have these grandiose ideas but we are governed by budget. It’s about finding an idea that might seem impossible at first, then scaling it back until it becomes workable. That’s something we’ll see a little more of in the next few years.”