At the September 2017 GSCA conference in Chicago, IMAX Melbourne General Manager Richard Morrison and PR
& Brand Manager Kate Piasecka met with acclaimed director Drew Fellman to
discuss his latest project, a film about pandas. Drew’s passion for the film
was infectious, the footage screened during the conference was incredible, and both
Kate and Richard knew the film would be a hit with their audiences.

Melbourne has a strong
connection to China, with Chinese migration dating back to the Gold Rush in the
1850s. Today, 8.5% of Melbourne’s total population identifies as Chinese
Australian. The Australian government has a consulate office in Chengdu, China,
as there are strong connections relating to trade between the two cities.
Victoria’s Phillip Island Penguin Research Base is the sister research base of
the Chengdu Giant Panda Base of Research that is featured in Pandas 3D
. Melbourne’s GSCA award-winning Big Idea was to partner
with a Chinese airline and negotiate a partnership package, which would enable
Melbourne to reduce costs, provide one Melbourne family with the trip of a
lifetime to Chengdu, China, and would also benefit the airline partner.

IMAX Melbourne approached two
airlines with partnership proposals and quickly locked in Sichuan Airlines, which
had recently launched travel routes from Melbourne and Sydney direct to
Chengdu, China—home of the giant panda. Sichuan Airlines agreed to fly Dr. Jake
Owens, who is featured in the film, from Chengdu to Melbourne return, business
class, and an Australian family of four to Chengdu, where they would tour the
Sichuan Region on a river cruise for nine nights. IMAX Melbourne took this
prize to Australia’s highest circulating newspaper, the Herald Sun, and negotiated a media partnership to promote the film and
this trip of a lifetime. The partnership with Herald Sun included print and digital coverage and was valued at over

IMAX Melbourne considers the
Sichuan Airlines partnership the most successful part of the campaign since it
led to a hugely beneficial partnership with the Herald Sun. Together these
partnerships enabled IMAX Melbourne to be well on track to eclipsing their
admission target, leverage Dr. Jake Owens’ expertise, send the message of panda
conservation far and wide, and reward an Australian family with the trip of a