Inside the new QMS City of Sydney network

Jemma Enright and Mark Fairhurst.

QMS’ new street furniture network for the City of Sydney has officially launched, becoming the most comprehensive digital street furniture offering in the country.

With the City of Sydney now able to be bought as one 26 square kilometer powerhouse, this gives brands increased impact while offering advertisers the ability to tailor, optimize and activate campaigns at scale.

adnews spoke to Jemma Enright, QMS’ general manager for City of Sydney, and Mark Fairhurst, QMS chief customer officer, about the partnerships underpinning the network, the benefits that come from digitization for advertisers and the sustainability credentials at the forefront of the project.

The eight launch partners that took part in utilizing the network, before campaign-based selling rolls out on 29 August, comprised Stan Entertainment, Diageo; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, SCA, American Express, Optus, Uber and Paramount.

Enright said that when QMS built the City of Sydney offer, and the corresponding rate card and pricing structure around it, they very much had their eye on partnership.

“As we move into that post-launch phase, we already have a number of other partners that we’ve secured that will be ongoing for the next 12 months, plus we’re in partnership conversations all the time.

“The way the structure of the rate card works is it really does incentivise partnership and opens up a whole lot of efficiencies in the way that you buy, as well as present special opportunities to access features of the network.”

Fairhurst said that while some of the partners for launch are new brands and categories to QMS, others are pre-existing clients that have utilized other formats.

“The way we’ve structured the rate card is to recognize that it’s about commitment. We reward clients who want a relationship with us and who want to grow with us. It’s about finding the right solution for the right campaign.

“This City of Sydney network has certainly opened up a broad range of new categories of clients that typically are not large format buyers.”

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Enright: “I think the exciting thing about the partnerships and the long term relationships that we broker is that we can work with those brands more deeply and start to look at innovative ways to use the network.

“We’re already in conversations with a number of them about how they would like to use the network. We can also then embed in those partnerships opportunities for research and providing the effectiveness of their campaigns in the City of Sydney as well and that all comes from deeper, longer-term relationships.”

Enright said that the industry has a strong desire for digital platforms and mediums and that from digitization comes the opportunity to use data in interesting ways.

“If you think about in a campaign context, being able to react and respond to the changing environment around your campaign, to use dynamic creative, to look at how audiences might change and how communication needs to change throughout a week is incredibly valuable.”

Fairhurst: “If you think about the scale of the City of Sydney, 2.6 million visit here every week and two thirds of those don’t live in this geography.

“If you’ve got digital and data capability right through that geography, then with the right data set and the right approach to campaign planning, you can really tell an evolving story for the target audience throughout the day and the week.

“Previously, you couldn’t do that because the surrounding suburbs were largely static in nature.”

Enright: “Within the network itself, we’ve also got something called a digital panel dominance pack. It’s an add on pack where you can own a digital panel 100% share of time.

“That’s your opportunity, as Mark says, to do different things throughout the day, react to the environment, maybe showcase a portfolio of brands. There’s a lot of opportunity here as a result of just the digital footprint that we have.”

Enright said that QMS is very happy with the timing of launching the network because of the bounce-back they’ve seen of people coming to the city.

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“We use our own mobility data to show what’s happening, especially in the CBD, where I think people are looking for insight about that bounce-back.

“In the period between May and August of this year, we’re seeing the audience reach return to about 90% when compared to pre-COVID numbers, which is pretty cool.

“We know that there are some changes around working habits, but the CBD is a powerhouse in terms of audience delivery, and at 90%, the numbers are enormous.

“Interestingly, the City of Sydney has had a fantastic strategy to drive that bounce back as well. If you walk around the streets in the CBD, there’s big spaces that have been carved out for people to enjoy hospitality within the city and those strategies are staying in place.

“It just has the effect of creating vibrancy and an energy in the city that I think is all contributing to that bounce-back.”

Powered by 100% GreenPower energy, Enright said that the City of Sydney is arguably one of the global leaders in sustainability.

“They set a pretty stringent framework for sustainability and our network has to comply very closely to that framework and is independently, third-party assessed.

“Some of those credentials include the materials in the new network being responsibly sourced at the end of their life cycle, the smart utilization of energy through LED lighting and other energy saving features and the smart utilization of water, like our automated public toilets being fully self-cleaning.”

QMS more broadly is undertaking a number of initiatives in the sustainability area, including carbon offsetting, with Fairhurst saying that apart from being the right thing to do, it resonates with the broader team.

“It’s about demonstrating progress we innovate, replace or develop over the course of the contract. We need to demonstrate that we are making improvements around sustainability.”

Enright: “Almost any business at the moment, they’re on the journey. There’s always more to do, and I think we’re acknowledging that we’ve got a really good start, but there will be more in the upcoming months and years.”

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