Australians are being encouraged this NAIDOC Week to discover the Traditional Country beneath their feet with the launch of Connect to Country.
Indigenous creative agency Campfire x and Facebook Australia have partnered to launch the movement to drive awareness amongst all Australians of the culturally significant Country upon which they live and work every day.
The Connect to Country movement invites Australians to better connect with the world’s oldest continuous culture, and encourages brands and businesses to embed First Nations culture as an integral part of their physical and digital footprints.
Connect to Country spotlights positive storytelling and representation, and offers easy ways for everyone to make Indigenous culture an essential part of our everyday life.
A new campaign video asks all Australians “Where You From?” and encourages them to discover more about their local First Nations communities, with resources available on the Connect to Country Facebook page.
These resources include videos to learn how to acknowledge Country and tips for connecting with their local community and language groups.
In addition, Facebook Australia and Campfire x will launch a pilot series of unique First Nations stories that will be served to Facebook and Instagram users who live in corresponding areas, connecting them with the land they’re on.
For instance, a video telling the story of the Gamay Rangers who care for the waters of Botany Bay (Gamay) will be served to people in and around the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council area using Facebook’s geo-targeting tools.
“There are so many positive stories in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that need to be shared, and stories told by our own people," Campfire x co-founder Brad Cooke says.
“Our people are too often negatively represented in media and online. By creating a space of respect and positivity via Connect to Country, more people will have the opportunity to find out the stories from the land they live and work on, and be better connected to history, culture, and also Indigenous organisations and businesses that are doing amazing things.”
For this first phase of this on-platform campaign, Facebook and Instagram users in four regions around NSW will see local stories from the people and land they live on, including Brewarrina, Dubbo, Port Stephens, and La Perouse beginning 4 July to mark NAIDOC Week.
These stories will encourage people to learn more about their local First Nations communities and the campaign will continue to grow in the coming months to share stories from more regions across Australia.
Facebook Australia director of marketing Alexandra Sloane says the partnership brings together the world’s oldest storytelling culture to the world’s newest storytelling platform.
“Our platforms have powerful abilities to enable storytelling and connect all Australians with the custodians of this land, the First Nations peoples who have nurtured it for more than 60,000 years," Sloane says.
"This campaign delivers cultural understanding and education based on the land you’re located upon, so it’s never been more accessible to learn First Nations stories in your own backyard.”
All Australian businesses and brands are invited to participate in Connect to Country.
Coles, Tourism Australia, and Telstra have already shown support for the launch of Connect to Country.
The Connect to Country campaign was initiated by Campfire x in partnership with Facebook Australia, community organisations, the Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council, Dubbo Local Aboriginal Land Council, Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council and La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council.
“Connect to Country is Country speaking through a group of people," says Melissa Kirby, Ngemba Custodian and Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council member.
"This communal approach doesn’t just mean people tell their stories on Country, it tells us Country is intelligent and alive. It’s about knowledge in technology coming out of being embedded in the landscape. ‘Connect to Country’ is about the entire system of Country, inclusive of people, animals, plants, ocean, and river, coming together like one big spirit.
“This project captured local people doing normal everyday things, how they celebrate culture and life through Country. Connect to Country privileged the local narratives and voices of the Ngemba custodians, empowering local talent and traditional knowledge through a digital platform, showing us that there is no beginning and end to a story.
"Campfire X engaged the Community of Brewarrina through extensive consultation through awaiting invitation by the Brewarrina LALC. This local protocol is customary practice, and this model of integrity and respect is how things can be done. We are extremely grateful to be chosen as one of the first Connect to Country sites.”
Creative development for the campaign was done by DDB Melbourne, while OMD have been instrumental in bringing on two of the first Bunji partner brands, Coles and Telstra.
“It’s not often you get to work on projects this important," DDB Melbourne creative Nic Molyneux says.
"As a First Nations creative, it’s immensely rewarding to be a part of launching the campaign, and I know the DDB team is extremely grateful for the opportunity to contribute and learn. This is just the beginning, I can’t wait to see where it goes.”
Cornel Ozies – Director of LALC films
Brad Cooke - Executive Producer
Peter Kirk – Executive Producer & Director of Connect to Country campaign films.
Warwick Heathwood – Strategy Director
Executive Creative Director – Anthony Moss
Copywriter – Nic Molyneux
Art Director – Ben Mann
Head of Integrated Content – Renata Barbosa
Senior Agency Producer – Sonia McLaverty
Senior Business Director – Wil de Souza
Production Manager - Alex Bray
DOP – Andrew Gough
Shot on Gadigal Land – Carriage Works
Post Production – The Editors
Jake Duczynski – Animation Director
James Hackett - Animation creative director
Alex Sloane – Director of Marketing
Tom Hyde – Creative Agency partner / Planning Director
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