Telstra’s Sydney New Year’s Lightshow & Messaging App

Telstra brought its brand ‘connecting friends and family’ promise alive through its sponsorship of the 2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations which included a smartphone app enabled users to interact with the fireworks and share midnight messages.


Working in partnership with event producer  City Of Sydney, the telecoms brand set out with the objective of lighting up Sydney like never before by enabling phone users to take part in what was perhaps the world’s largest interactive New Year’s Eve light show.


The free Telstra interactive app’s key features included Midnight Messages On NYE, Message The Bridge and Colour Moments.



The first of these offered all users a chance to send 50 free SMS messages at midnight by pre-entering them via the app before 6pm Sydney time. The idea being that this frees up consumers from  worrying about sending multiple messages at midnight and enabling them to get on with enjoying the party.


The ‘Message The Bridge’ element, offered users a chance to write one of 1,600 messages that are projected by Telstra onto the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge during the night. App users simply had to submit a message and keep an eye on the bridge to see if their message was chosen.


While an even more interactive strand of the campaign saw the brand help create an interactive light show through its ‘Telstra Colour Moments’ project which took place in the lead-up to midnight.


To join in the show, those who downloaded the app simply tapped on the ‘Colour Moments’ tab and at four points during the night – 10:15pm, 11:00pm, 11:30pm, and 11:45pm, each smartphone automatically synched with a colourful light and fireworks show around the harbour.


Participants on the Sydney foreshore for New Year’s Eve were encouraged to hold their phones above their heads to be part of a dazzling sea of colour.


Furthermore, the free app also provided a range of other event information snippets from venue capacity updates and other safety advice for people attending the event, to maps of where to watch the show around the harbour, and a timeline of behind the scenes films, messages from celebs, Instagram photos and lots of other interesting content.


To round off the sponsorship and complete the enhanced experienced, Telstra also live-streamed the Sydney New Year s Eve celebrations on its own Telstra YouTube channel – thus ensuring the show gain reach a global audience. The telecoms outfit used six cameras to capture all the action from 8pm until after the midnight fireworks.


Accompanying the live stream will be an original piece of music by NYE12 Musical Directors Davide Carbone and Josh Abrahams, choreographed in time with the fireworks display.


The app was promoted initially via an internal Telstra communications push, which was then followed by a Facebook campaign across Australia which encouraged people to download the app and then send a message of ‘Embrace’ (the event theme) to Telstra to be in with a chance to have it projected onto the Harbour Bridge pylons on the night.


Telstra also used Sydney street teams to hand out lanyards with info about the app and a map of the harbour.


There was also a full-on campaign that included TVC, press and radio work, the front-page of Telstra catalogues, Google Display Networks and a PR drive.


Sydney’s spectacular New Year is a world-leading event watched by more than one billion people across the globe. Furthermore, according to the city’s mayor, it contributes $156m per annum to the local economy. And this year’s show also benefited from the creative input of Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue.




Delivering new, participatory experiences lies at the heart of so much good contemporary sponsorship and this initiative both delivers a number of new experiences – (both useful and fun).


By placing the sponsor’s natural consumer tool, the smartphone, at the heart of the experience, the brand is connecting people to one another on a personal basis and to the sponsored event itself on a mass, participatory whole.
New Year s Eve is a time for resolutions, celebrations and sharing messages of good will and love with friends and family. By making this easier than ever (regardless of the network), Telstra is providing a useful, emotionally valued service.


It also meant users could keep their ‘head-up’ to watch and participate the fireworks and light show, rather than have their ‘head-down’ looking at their phones while sending New Year greetings.


Plus, it turned the experience from a passive one, into an active, participatory event.


The results are certainly impressive.


Users spent a total of 1 million minutes of accumulated time on the app itself, with 200,000 pre-loaded messages sent, 30,000 people sending messages to the bridge. 33,000 people joining in with the Telstra Colour Moments lightshow and more than 1.5 million views of Telstra New Year’s Eve films on YouTube




Telstra NY 2012 App Video YouTube



Telstra NY 2012 Fireworks Website



iPhone App Download



Android App Download



Sydney NY’s Eve Website




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