Living Heroes VP60 - Public Relations & Special Events

The Challenge

Living Heroes VP60 was held in 2006 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific, 15th August 1945, which heralded the end of World War II. A supporting program of 28 events occurred before and during the VP60 long weekend, which included another 24 major events over 4 days. Some key challenges of VP60 were the need to:

Meet high public expectations regarding the calibre of the event and to maximise public participation.

Involve ageing WWII veterans in a range of both fun and commemorative activities, while not overtaxing their capabilities.

Provide some events of major significance to both the veterans and the wider community.

Communicate with WWII veterans and their families plus military organisations around the world in order to engage their participation.

The Solutions

The cornerstone of the celebrations was the veterans themselves, with the Living Heroes theme carried through all branding and activities.

Specific communications strategies were developed for each target audience.

Newspaper, radio and television media partners were recruited, with the inclusion of sponsorships for community service announcements on a national basis.

Community involvement was encouraged through a Community Grants program and the formation of steering committees for ancillary events.

The Results

  • Living Heroes VP60 was attended by over 1200 veterans, more than double the original target.
  • Veterans attended from every Australian State and territory, USA, UK, Singapore, Canada, PNG and New Zealand.
  • Over 125,000 people attended 52 events, with 37 schools also participating.
  • Independent research showed 22% of attendees were visitors and estimated the economic benefit to Townsville as being $29.5 million.
  • Media coverage of around 300 in local, State, national and international items generated positive exposure for Townsville.
  • Living Heroes VP60 in 2006 won a Gold Award in the PRIA State Awards for Excellence and a NQ Tourism Award, as well as Highly Commended in the national Golden Target Awards and the Regional Achievement and Community Awards.