Melbourne is enduring the longest, harshest COVID-19 lockdown in the world. Most of the city’s five million residents have been confined to their homes for 22 hours a day, only allowed out to exercise or go to supermarkets to buy food.
Businesses are shuttered. Families are being kept apart.
It has been a shattering blow for a global city that is usually a hive of activity in spring. But Melburnians are a resilient people. They love their city, which so often is voted the best place in the world to live.
The Herald Sun celebrated its 30th birthday in October, which is the anniversary of when two much older newspapers (the Herald, 1840, and The Sun News-Pictorial, 1922) merged. This event offered an opportunity to celebrate our city and help rebuild its spirit.
What better way to do that than to let our readers and residents do so in their own words? With that idea in mind, the Herald Sun’s 30 Words campaign was born, featuring love letters in 30 words to the city and state.
30 years, 30 days, 30 words
For 30 days beginning October 8, the campaign is being featured in the newspaper, across the Herald Sun’s large and rapidly growing digital footprint, and in outdoor advertising and social media.
High-profile Victorians — from big sporting names to entertainment icons — penned their own letters for a 12-page newspaper wrap and billboards at six much-loved Melbourne locations.
News Corp’s Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Chief Executive Robert Thomson, both proudly Victorian-born, contributed their own 30 words from New York.
Herald and Weekly Times chairman Penny Fowler said: “The use of the digital billboards at landmark CBD locations for launch week reflects the newspaper sellers on street corners of yesteryear.”
The campaign came during a year like no other in the Herald Sun’s three decades of covering all sorts of highs and lows.
“This year has highlighted how Victorians have found a strength in unity, hardened by testing times and fuelled by the inspirational among us, and we wanted to build on that momentum,” Fowler said.
“So we intend to deliver 30 days of optimistic, upbeat and inspiring coverage that continues to unite our audience in tough times.”
Recapping the past
Other content plans included 30 days of coverage featuring “30” lists — the most epic moments in 30 years, most memorable sporting wins, most influential characters, most iconic restaurants, most notorious villains and more, as judged by the Herald Sun’s expert writers across sport, business, crime, and community.
The social media campaign via the Herald Sun’s various social channels has already been seen by 300,000 people. The campaign has also received an honourable mention (runner up) in a worldwide field on Best Ads on TV for Outdoor.
But best of all, readers were swift to contribute their own words and a selection will be included on city billboards at the end of the campaign. Many of those letters have been inspiring.
As Leigh Davies of Frankston wrote: “Masks may hide emotions, and we’ve been here a while, but keep doing you and be the reason others smile.”