How to speak to a Melbourne audience with animation

Blog, On Animation
February 16, 2017


Whether it’s dodging the crowds at the night noodle markets, putting your hand on the water wall at the art gallery, or practicing your contained look of disgust for next time you have to travel to Sydney, there are a whole host of cultural phenomena that draw Melbourne-dwellers together. (Melbournians? Melbournites? Melbunnies? Yeah… let’s go with Melbournites.)

If you’re looking to create video content for your brand and you want to target a Melbourne audience, you’ll need to dive deep into the lifestyle and aesthetic of your viewership. After all, being one of the most liveable cities in the world, the sporting capital of the world, and the second-most fun city in the world (who knew, right?) takes a strong sense of ideals and standards.

Today we’ve got just the thing to get you started: we’re looking at three of the major social factors in the Melbournite way of life, and how we can use these things to better communicate with a Melbourne audience using animated video.

1) Melbournites like to be in-the-know

You didn’t hear it from me, but secret spots are totally a thing in Melbourne. From hidden cafes to laneway street art to secret bars with secret staircases that you reveal by pulling a secret book out of a bookcase leading to another secret bar, Melbourne is seemingly chock-full of hidden gems.

This distinctly Melbourne phenomenon reflects a cultural desire amongst Melbournites for exclusivity. It’s not about being upmarket or even fashionable, and it’s certainly not about being popular—in fact, the more niche, the better. It’s about the desire for a genuine, individual experience (or at least something that feels like it).

In some ways this is one of the strongest cultural differences you’ll find between Sydney and Melbourne, and perhaps this reason is why Melbournites hold so strongly to these ideals. Capital city life can become suffocating and difficult to navigate, and while Sydney is about urban trend and adapting yourself to a city whose cultural identity is bigger than you, Melbourne goes the other way, celebrating individual experience and creating spaces which encourage this kind of experience.

So how can we use this information to speak to a Melbourne audience? Use both the language and visual style of your corporate video to craft a unique experience for your Melbourne viewers. Structure the language of an explainer video around the idea of this being exclusive information, use rhetoric that speaks directly to the viewer, and don’t be afraid to play around with the idea of mystery. Use a strong visual style that focusses on aesthetic and mood, rather than pure functionality, to create an affecting experience for the viewer.

2) Melbournites embrace difference

Much like Brisbane, each suburb of Melbourne has its own unique flavour. But while Brisbane struggles with its near-uncrossable Northside vs Southside cultural divide, Melbourne’s own Eastside vs Westside mentality isn’t nearly as debilitating. Thanks to a comparatively reliable and affordable public transport system people aren’t put off by the idea of crossing multiple suburb lines.

And much in line with secret spots, exploration is encouraged. Different areas of the city host unique attractions and hang-out spots, so ‘difference’ comes to be associated not with competition, but with adventure, experience and excitement.

In line with this ethos, don’t be afraid to be bold with your narration and lesser-used animation techniques with this audience. If your brand has a story to tell, tell it like a story. Let your audience engage with the ‘world’ of your brand, the emotional ride, or the bigger idea behind the company. Employ the visual style of traditional, rare, or even kitsch animation techniques to tie the experience of adventure together.

3) Melbournites have a strong and detailed bond with culture

Last article I spoke about the versatility of Brisbane’s culture, which stands in stark opposition to the strong and specific attachment Melbourne has with its own culture. We’ve all heard the endless, dated jokes about Melbourne hipsters, the memes about hipsters on the tram, and the comedy sketches about hipsters that would’ve more closely hit the mark had they been released 5-10 years ago. The delicate truth is that hipster culture has become a sore point in Melbourne, and it’s not just because the stereotypes of a mustachioed man using a portable typewriter on the tram have gotten really, really stale.

While the media would have us believe that every American state has its own distinct culture just like every river seems to have its own song, Australia’s cultural identity often gets scooped up into one homogenous, cork-hat-wearing lump. As outlined above, Melbourne is one of the few areas of Australia that appears to take its own cultural identity seriously—not being defined by a particular landmark, not being a carbon copy of Sydney, and not ever settling for sub-standard coffee.

If you want your video to speak to Melbournites on a cultural level, be thoroughly aware of your audience’s tastes and unspoken customs, lest you risk driving them away. If you’re not familiar with the Melbourne scene it’s important not to rely on stereotypes and to construct a script that has something unique to say to (or about) your audience members. And if you’ve never had the privilege of living in the sporting capital of the world, you can always do what I did when writing this article: ask a Melbournite friend for advice.


Whatever your own views are on the culture, it’s hard to deny Melbourne is one of the most complex and interesting cities our country, and its many accolades are testament to that fact. If you’re trying to create a brand campaign for a Melbourne audience, the best approach is to know exactly who you’re talking to. Speak directly and exclusively to your viewers, and work to craft a special experience for everyone who chooses to watch.

Written by Maree Railton