Cannes Lions

Tough Conversations

THE ROYALS, Melbourne / MERCEDES BENZ / 2018

Case Film
Case Film
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Henry Rollins, a man who has lived through his own evolution of tough came to Australia to discover how toughness has evolved.

Driving across Australia talking to people from all walks of life, including professional sports stars, musicians, politicians, as well as everyday Aussies.

His interviews and observations were used to create ‘Tough Conversations’ - an integrated, content-driven campaign that includes a podcast series, a radio partnership, PR, DM, social and online content. Plus, a one-hour documentary.

Not an obvious choice for Mercedes-Benz but Henry’s popularity in Australia, his interview prowess, endless curiosity and contradictory nature (rugged exterior/deep thinker) made him the perfect spokesperson to reveal a new way of thinking and new type of toughness, driving through the harsh terrains of Australia also gave the X-Class centrestage throughout the campaign.


After we announced Henry arrival to Australia, we invited to local media to interview him at the start and during his journey. We then had two full media days in Melbourne and Sydney after.

This strategy meant we could build hype and build a social media throughout his roadtrip.

Local journalists met Henry and the interviewees, which built more awareness and excitement about the campaign. It gave local farmers and tradesmen (the traditional ute market) a chance to see the X-Class and talk positively about the product as well as the audience to engage in the evolution of tough messaging.

Over two full days of media in Melbourne and Sydney, Henry was interviewed by national media in TV, print and radio and gave his own personal account of what driving the ute and meeting Australians along the way was like, which added credibility and lead to more positive media.


4.5 million people were reached through PR coverage alone.

The campaign gained 85 pieces of positive PR across TV, radio and print media.

Our Instagram following grew 54% and engagement on Facebook increased 300%.

Almost 70,000 people visited the campaign microsite, with ? spending an average of 4 minutes exploring the X-Class page.

By the end of the pre-launch campaign, over 9,800 people registered their interest for the X-Class.

Brand health measures showed our audience now see the X-Class as a tough and credible contender in the category.


The documentary was picked-up by Network Ten and aired primetime on ONE and streamed on catch-up TV.

The Tough Conversations podcast was number 1 on the Apple podcasts chart within 48 hours of launch.

Virgin Australia Airlines picked-up the podcast series for their in-flight entertainment.

A total of $821k additional media value was generated.

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