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Inaugural Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Awards

Inaugural Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Awards
December 15, 2016

Across the leisure industry and its various sectors there are numerous awards recognising industry excellence.

However, until now, none recognised the best in leisure communications and marketing (with mainstream marketing and communications awards also overlooking the industry).

Yet the leisure industry can demonstrate a range of examples of communications and marketing excellence, getting across the key messages of how the different parts of this industry entertains, enriches and improves quality of life.

Introducing the inaugural Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Awards, which are being presented to the recipients face-to-face over the coming week, Australasian Leisure Management Publisher Nigel Benton explains “when done well, marketing and communications build a brands reputation and add to the bottom line of any business.

“At the same time, communications and marketing are also about dealing with crisis and standing up to scrutiny, something that several of our winners have had to face in the past year.

“As such, these awards recognise this excellence among individuals, organisations, businesses and government. 

“The awards recognise a cross section of activities from international businesses to start-ups, industry icons and national organisations to small operators, showing that effective communications and marketing is not just for big operators, and is more about a commitment to sharing what an organisation excels at.”

Following these inaugural awards, the 2017 program will be presented at a major industry summit on leisure industry marketing and communications in the second half of 2017.

Award winners

Industry Association/Peak Body Award: New Zealand Recreation Association

Industry Supplier Award: Debitsuccess – team headed by Joanna Redfern

Not-for-Profit Award: YMCA Australia

Business Award: Plus Fitness 24/7

Local Government Award: Hamilton City Council

Government Department/Agency Award: VenuesWest 

Ministerial Award: Stuart Ayres MP, NSW Minister for Sport and Minister for Tourism

National Organisation Award: Tennis Australia – team headed by Prue Ryan

Public Relations Agency Award: Articulate – team headed by Kym Elphinstone

Communications Executive Award (Industry): Arthur Stanley, VenuesLive/ANZ Stadium

Communications Executive Award (Agency): Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications/Javelin Australia

Social Media Award: Blair Hughes

Campaign Award: ICC Sydney – team headed by Samantha Glass

Crisis Communications Award: Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust – team headed by Phil Heads

Award winner citations
The following summaries describe the criteria that led to the presentations.

Industry Association/Peak Body Award: New Zealand Recreation Association

The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) works at an agency, industry and professional level to build capability, develop partnerships, and equip individuals and organisations with the skills they need to deliver high quality recreation experiences that engage participants. Its vision is that in 2020 New Zealand has a strong recreation industry that meets the needs of current and future participants, so that through recreation, New Zealanders are active, healthy, and connected.

The receipt of this award acknowledges the NZRA’s communication of its events, initiatives and activities to media, industry stakeholders, investors and government, raising the profile of its members and the industry.

Industry Supplier Award: Debitsuccess 

Joanna Redfern of Debitsuccess 
Based in New Zealand and owned by the Transaction Services Group (TSG), Debitsuccess is a global direct debit billing service business with offices in Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth.

In March this year, Debitsuccess Australasia Chief Executive Davin Miller took on the newly created role of TSG Chief Executive Australasia, making him responsible for both Debitsuccess and PaySmart businesses across Australia and New Zealand. 

Over a number of years, Debitsuccess communications team has effectively communicated the businesses’ achievements while also staging sales and marketing masterclass events at the NZ Fitness Expo.

Not-for-Profit Award: YMCA Australia

YMCA Swimathon
YMCA Australia is made up of 24 member associations supporting over 741 communities in the areas of healthy living, empowering young people and social impact. 

YMCA’s facilities and programs record 30 million participations each year including with 20 million fitness clubs visits and 4.3 million swimming lessons.

In addition to promoting healthy living, YMCA Australia has also had to deal with scrutiny as part of the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, during which the YMCA has been the subject of investigations. Facing up to this challenge, YMCA Australia has issued a public apology to “anyone who has experienced sexual abuse as a child in the care of the YMCA.” 

Business Award: Plus Fitness 24/7

Plus Fitness is an Australian owned franchised chain of 24/7 gyms offering affordable and flexible memberships at over 180 locations across Australia and New Zealand.

The group is notable for its regular and consistent messages of new club openings, significant activities, events, member achievements and its sponsorships, principally in Supercars.

Local Government Award: Hamilton City Council

Managing New Zealand's fourth most-populous city, Hamilton City Council issues informative and valuable communications on all aspects of the City’s activities. In leisure this includes regular updates on the City managed FMG Stadium Waikato, its parks, recreation, tourism and entertainment facilities.

In a year that has seen Hamilton Gardens (pictured above) named New Zealand’s Outstanding Park, the City has faced challenges in deciding the future of its Founders Theatre, closed as a result of uncertainty over its seismic strength; and a court case into the 2015 death of zookeeper Samantha Kudeweh at Hamilton Zoo, to which the Council pled guilty to a health and safety charge laid by WorkSafe.

Throughout, the Council’s communication team has consistently delivered clear and professional content.

Government Department/Agency Award: VenuesWest

Communications in Government departments and agencies can often be an unforgiving task, Ministers delivering all the exciting messages while the department/agency has to handle the bad news and less high profile announcements.

Nonetheless, the communications team at VenuesWest deliver regular and informative communications on the workings of the VenuesWest portfolio of sports, recreation and entertainment venues that includes the Perth Arena (pictured above), nib Stadium, HBF Stadium, HBF Arena, WA Athletics Stadium, Bendat Basketball Centre, Midvale SpeedDome, Perth Motorplex, Champion Lakes Regatta Centre, WA Rugby Centre, State Netball Centre, the Western Australian Institute of Sport High Performance Service Centre and Perth Stadium - to be completed in 2018. 

Ministerial Award: Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and NSW Minister for Sport

Minister Ayres with members of Australia's Olympic Gold medal winning Rugby 7s team
Responsible for the leisure portfolios in the NSW Government, Stuart Ayres has had a high profile in driving the $1.6 billion investment in sport and entertainment infrastructure that will deliver state-of-the-art venues for Sydney over the next decade.

His commitment to this plan and the final decisions that were reached were shared in all communications issued by Minister Ayres and his team.

What is refreshing is Minister Ayres’ involvement in not only ‘big’ announcements but community level activities and that his communication activities have been delivered free from slogans, spin and political point-scoring throughout the year.

National Organisation Award: Tennis Australia

As well as promoting tennis and participation, Tennis Australia facilitates player development, stages local and international events, including the Australian Open, and invests in tennis facilities around the country.

Tennis Australia delivers imaginative and consistent marketing and communications activities across all media.

Public Relations Agency Award: Articulate

Articulate is Australia’s pre-eminent communications agency specialising in contemporary culture with specialist expertise within the fields of visual arts, performing arts, architecture and design.

Established in 2009, Articulate has worked with some of the most respected names in the cultural sector both within Australia and beyond, including the Biennale of Sydney, Art Basel Hong Kong, Carriageworks, Kaldor Public Arts Projects, Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, MPavilion, the Australian Ballet, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne Art Foundation, Sydney Festival and the Australia Council for the Arts, Powerhouse Museum, Art Month Sydney, the British Council and the National Art School.

Communications Executive Award (Industry): Arthur Stanley, VenuesLive/ANZ Stadium

Arthur Stanley has spent 39 years in mainstream media and corporate communications roles.

As General Manager Media & Communications at VenuesLive Management Services, the company that manages Sydney's ANZ Stadium and the new Perth Stadium, he is responsible for devising strategy, organising events, promoting a dynamic events schedule, facilitating media visits and enquiries, managing daily news and information for the Stadium website and social media channels, and providing extensive communications support for the various Stadium departments. 

He also oversees the Stadium’s Ambassador Program and Charity Program, and produces and edits STADIUM magazine – a tri-yearly publication for ANZ Stadium Members and corporate guests.

Communications Executive Award (Agency): Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications/Javelin Australia

Over 25 years as Media Director of Javelin Australia and since January this year as Managing Director of PRISM Strategic Communications, Greg Campbell has created and managed major public relations and marketing communications programs and campaigns on behalf of leading sport and corporate clients including Telstra, Telstra Country Wide, Australia Post, Carlton & United, Australian Olympic Committee, Football Federation Australia, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organising Corporation, SCG Trust, Australian Rugby, V8 Supercars, Rugby World Cup 2003, Australian Paralympic Committee, NSW Rugby and Cricket NSW.

At PRISM, Campbell has set about bringing stories to life through ideation, detailed planning, thorough execution and a personal commitment to excellence meeting client needs, objectives, timelines and budgets.

Social Media Award: Blair Hughes

Head of Operations for audioBoom in Australia and New Zealand and with a large passion and focus on fan engagement in the sports and entertainment fields, Blair Hughes is a creative and ambitious storyteller who uses digital and social media to share his knowledge and learnings.

Campaign Award: ICC Sydney
The award recognises the International Convention Centre Sydney and its communications partner History Will Kind, for providing regular, clear and consistent information materials of high quality in advance and lead up to the opening of on one of the world’s largest and most hotly anticipated venues.

Crisis Communications Award: Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust

Tribute to Phillip Hughes at the SCG
The Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust had to deal with high levels of scrutiny following the injury to cricketer Phillip Hughes while playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November last year, and his subsequent tragic death.

The SCG Trust’s media team dealt with this scrutiny while respecting the privacy and interests of Phillip Hughes’ family.

Main image: ICC Sydney Communications team members, April Rose, Account Manager at History Will Be Kind and Samantha Glass, Director of Communications, International Convention Centre Sydney

Trophies were supplied by JD Trophies of Narrabeen, NSW -

Related Articles

5th August 2015 - How Invercargill’s Splash Palace handled the media during its ‘Code Brown’ crisis

18th September 2013 - Australasian Leisure Management to mark 100 issues

21st November 2012 - Connecting Suppliers with Buyers, the Australasian Leisure Management Suppliers Directory

29th August 2012 - Cybex launches PR guide for fitness businesses

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