Case Studies Archive - McCo Group

PHWAA – Princes Highway West Action Alliance

For almost two decades, a group of four western Victorian regional councils had struggled to attract major funding from either the Victorian or Federal Government for significant – and urgently needed – upgrades to the Princes Highway, between Colac and the South Australian border. 

While the key east-west corridor of almost 300km had been subject to a massive increase in traffic over recent years – more than 15,000 vehicles a day –  thanks to strong growth in key industries such as tourism, logging and agricultural production, it had been 19 years since the last VicRoads strategy for the highway was produced, despite nine fatalities and hundreds of serious and significant injuries to road users. 

Warrnambool City Council, Moyne Shire, Corangamite Shire and Colac Otway Shire had all been actively agitating and lobbying for funding but making very little significant headway. The four councils all sit in the safe Liberal/National seat of Wannon – held by Liberal Education Minister, Dan Tehan with a comfortable margin of 9.2% – which covers the majority of western Victoria. 

McCo Group developed a communication action plan and digital strategy for the project with a proposed timeline for media releases, video content and social media content. 

The campaign started with the announcement of the formation of the Alliance and the reasons why the four Councils had decided to band together in their lobbying efforts.  With the campaign theme … ‘Fix it now! Victoria’s great South Coast deserves a safer Princes Highway!’ 

We then announced the engagement of the transport planning surveyors Traffix Group by the Alliance to undertake an updated assessment of the highway and identify urgent priorities for roadworks. Based on the Traffix Group’s findings, we then went to the media with the announcement of the Alliance’s identified, key danger areas of the Highway and estimates of the funding required to fix them. 

We developed a comprehensive portfolio of video interviews with well recognised local and regional business owners, industry sector spokespeople, local community members and the four regional Lord Mayors. We also spent many hours driving the length of the highway and filming the worst areas of the highway and the heavy traffic. 

Our in-house video production team generated hours of content which was the backbone of the digital campaign across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

We established a campaign website and a petition, which targeted a broad number of campaigning State and Federal politicians such as the local Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan and the Victorian Minister for Roads, Jaala Pulford. 

We leveraged any potential opportunity to publicly target key decision makers and reiterate our calls for funding and consistently challenged them for a fair response to the local community they’d ignored for too long. 

‘The campaign developed and managed by McCo was incredibly professional and quick to establish.  It engaged with our community and the broader South West Region and in very short time developed a massive ground swell of support.   

Scott Cavanagh – Princes Highway West Action Alliance Spokesman / DirectorCity InfrastructureWarrnambool City Council  

 The campaign is considered to have been a major success! 

The Alliance has secured $60 million in federal government funding for upgrades to the Princes Highway between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.  

It has also been allocated $20 million from Victoria’s Traffic Accident Commission for improvements between Warrnambool and Panmure. 

It has also been notified of ‘share’ of a further $80 million with three other major roads, with the exact amount yet to be finalised. 


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Case Studies Archive - McCo Group

SYC Limited/HYPA Guinness World Record

In 2016 McCo Group was instrumental in developing and implementing a creative campaign to officially launch the flagship campaign for SYC’s HYPA (Helping Young People Achieve) division – #TwoFeet.

McCo Group worked closely with the SYC team to develop a creative concept that embodied the #TwoFeet campaign’s goal to help ‘young people stand on their own two feet’ – and came up with the idea of a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ attempt in the heart of Adelaide,

Our consultants created a strategic communications plan, incorporating media, marketing, social media and video, to integrate the record breaking attempt into the #TwoFeet campaign to engage consumers and the media. Working on the premise of #TwoFeet, we called on people to break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for creating the largest human image of a foot. This was a visually oriented record attempt to capture the public’s and media attention as well as linking back to the #TwoFeet concept.

McCo Group worked closely with SYC to provide ongoing strategic support throughout the planning and preparation of the event.

As well as creative input, our consultants managed all media activities, including the distribution of press releases, coordinating interviews with radio and television, the dissemination of drone footage and photos, and engaging on social media.

In October 2016, HYPA created the world’s largest human image of a foot, breaking the previous GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title of 260, culminating in drone footage of 313 people gathered together in the shape of a foot and toes.

This creative brand activation was strategically led by McCo Group and resulted in the highly effective positioning of the #TwoFeet campaign as well as delivering measurable results, with a focus on return on investment. It resulted in extensive coverage of stories featuring key messages across over 40 media outlets, including print, radio, television and online, with a total audience reach of over 1.2 million across South Australia.

SYC is a not-for-profit organisation centred on employment, training and youth services. The #TwoFeet campaign promotes the core philosophy which is focussed on helping young people ‘stand on their own two feet’ and create and maintain independent, constructive and prosperous lives.

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Case Studies Archive - McCo Group

St John Ambulance South Australia

St John Ambulance South Australia is one of the state’s best known not-for-profit organisations – always there to help at public and major events, treating nearly 15,000 casualties with almost 300,000 hours of volunteer service each year.

In October 2012, the State Government of South Australia announced a decision to cut its financial support of St John Ambulance by 50 per cent, reducing its annual $200,000 grant to just $100,000.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time – the organisation was seeking extra funding to provide support for major events, such as South Australian ‘Schoolies Week’ and a cut of this magnitude would have had a significant impact on the organisation, in particular its ability to provide crucial training for volunteers.

McCo Group developed a communications strategy designed to put clear and continuous pressure on the State Government to restore funding, or risk a decision that potentially affected every South Australian.

Through strategic messaging, our team aimed to shift the focus from a faceless funding decision, to an issue about the potential loss of a respected, essential service to public safety, delivered by dedicated South Australian volunteers.

Our team conducted daily media calls, wrote quickfire media releases, updated Facebook and Twitter feeds and brought in political opponents – such as the then Opposition leader, Isobel Redmond – to position the impending cut as a serious social mistake.

The funding debate received widespread attention across print, radio and television media outlets, and the result of the campaign was that in less than 10 days, St John Ambulance’s funding was completely reinstated.

Extensive media coverage, increased traffic to St John Ambulance’s website and social media channels meant the organisation’s message was heard, shared, and secured support from the community.

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Case Studies Archive - McCo Group

SYC Limited

SYC is a not-for-profit organisation centred on employment, training and youth services. With a core purpose to positively affect the lives of people in need, last year SYC helped more than 55,300 people in the areas of Home, Wellbeing, Learning and Working.

In 2011, our consultants began working to increase media visibility and stakeholder recognition of the organisation and its three operating brands, HYPA (Helping Young People Achieve), Training Prospects and Job Prospects.

McCo Group approached the campaign by focusing on humanising issues relevant to SYC and showcasing client achievements, raising awareness of the organisation’s work and the benefits for the Australians accessing SYC services.

The partnership has been very successful, and our involvement has expanded over time to include major SYC campaigns such as ‘My First Job’, raising awareness of the issues facing young Australians experiencing unemployment and under-employment.


During the past three years, McCo Group has contributed considerably to the increased brand awareness of SYC, generating significant media coverage across television, radio, print and online media.

The training division of the SYC, Training Prospects, is now recognised by the media as a leader in its field. Journalists actively seek comment and stories about this organisation and industry issues are regularly featured in media around the country.

In 2012, our consultants were actively involved in creating ‘Couch Day’, a signature event for SYC, successfully held for the first time on October 10 of that year to coincide with World Homelessness Day.

Through our development of the Couch Day concept, McCo Group has helped draw attention to the prevalence of couch surfing and youth homelessness, what is being done to help, and how all Australians can be part of the solution.

Dozens of media stories promoting Couch Day and these issues are carried across print, radio, television and online media outlets each year.

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Case Studies Archive - McCo Group

Roma Mitchell Secondary College

Roma Mitchell Secondary College was established in 2011 as one of the South Australian Government’s ‘super schools’ – an amalgamation of four schools in the Gepps Cross area.

The school’s 1300 students have access to a broad curriculum offered across RMSC’s co-educational, girls’ and special education campuses.

Being just four years old RMSC is relatively unknown in the market – particularly for offering a girls only school.

The Principal and Governing Council appointed McCo Group in 2014 to devise a profile raising media campaign to build the school’s reputation and create more exposure for its all-girls campus.

The campaign created by McCo Group focused strongly on the school’s strengths and highlighted a series of recent achievements, positively profiling RMSC’s approach to education and teaching innovation.

For example, significant media coverage in print, radio and television media was generated around the increasingly strong student results in maths, science, technology and engineering subjects.

As a result of McCo Group’s communications strategy implemented in the first year of our partnership, RMSC’s reputation has begun shift.

The school is now recognised for its ability to develop empowered students with a strong education and for its focus on raising academic expectations and performance – an image different from that before our involvement.

Feedback from Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) staff has been positive, applauding the steady stream of positive education stories produced by our team, supporting the school’s strong working relationship with departmental staff.

Further anecdotal feedback shows that results of McCo Group’s communications strategy has positively affected students, their behaviour and aspirations.

Our team has also been involved with crisis and issues management strategies for the school, including providing communications support to key staff to manage and minimise the impact of external events.


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