The Abacus

ACBC "We Stand with China" Campaign Wins GOV Design Award

By: ACBC National

ACBC's "We Stand with China" Campaign has won GOLD in the GOV Design Awards. 

In response to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the Australia China Business Council launched a national campaign in The Australian newspaper.

“Australia and China have both experienced a tragic start to the new year. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of Australian and Chinese companies offering donations and support to both countries. It’s a great testimony to the strong bonds between our two countries.” said ACBC National CEO, Helen Sawczak.

The campaign was projected at Australian landmarks such as Federation Square and Melbourne Airport and posted on Australian and Chinese social media platforms.

The campaign was designed by R-Co Brand in conjunction with ACBC. 

Creative Director: Richard Henderson
Design Director: Michael Canturi
Designer: Peter Nedanovski
Copywriting: Vicki Boerema
Project Management: Karen Liang

Project Brief

“In the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus, we have worked closely with our members and stakeholders by providing information and support, and we have also been guiding people how to donate towards relief efforts. But we also wanted to send a strong message of support to our Chinese friends, that we stand with them during this crisis – that’s what friends do.” said ACBC National CEO, Helen Sawczak.

Briefed over the telephone, R-Co Brand had two days to create the idea, the headline, message and the visual, get it approved and with artwork ready for newspaper.

Project Innovation/Need

At heart of good communication is the “idea” and the imagination and quality of the execution.

The creative solution, with it’s single minded idea of support, uses cliché national icons of the Australian Koala and Chinese Panda to express a universal sentiment in the headline “Supporting each other. It’s what friends do”

Advertising in the press requires impact. The use of black & white graphic imagery and white space is, in this press medium, innovative.

The unique bipartisan support of State and Federal Governments has contributed to the effectiveness of the campaign message.

The advertisement design attracted huge interest from the corporate community, and the Chinese community was eager to express its support for the initiative.

Design Challenge

Campaign advertising in press is challenging, as it’s a crowded environment with many competing messages.

Our approach was to focus the intent of the communication i.e. support for China – in a way that stood apart through it’s visual distinction, rather than it’s full page impression. Talking to both English and Chinese speaking audiences means the picture had to be worth many words.

Having only 2 days to turn the project around had its own set of challenges!


Email comments from our client Helen Sawczak, National CEO Australia:

“So the Melbourne Airport has fallen crazily in love with your design. Crazy.”

“They are just waiting for the CEO to finish a Board meeting to get his final approval. They want to project it on all their welcome screens as part of their welcome pack. For a long time from 1 March. This Saturday.”

“I’m negotiating having your design projected onto the Sydney Opera House – watch this space…”

“Thank you for your support. The response has been incredibly positive and late breaking news is that Austrade has also come on board.”

“The campaign will feature on page 5 of The Australian on Friday 28 February.”

The campaign creative and message encourage major corporates to sponsor the advertising. A significant collaboration was achieved with State and Federal Governments lending their support to the campaign.

Due to positive response, the text was translated into Chinese.

The award was won in the Marketing - Print category and celebrates creative and innovative design for visual communication intended to engage and inform an audience about products, ideas or services. Consideration given to the technical, conceptual and aesthetic elements, audience engagement and message delivery.

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