Case Study – YCK Laneways ‘Night Over Light’

Client Testimonial

Being a part of Sydney Solstice was fantastic for Since I Left You. It allowed us to try out new types of events, all of which sold out, creating a significant uplift in trade on the nights where we had events. The feedback from customers was also really positive, with many people asking when the next events would be on.

/Nick White, Since I Left You bar

Time Out for Business was an essential partner in the YCK Laneways Night over Light activation as part of Sydney Solstice. Their understanding and management of all the media and marketing campaign and project management of the ticketing solutions, photography and video management, design of collateral and website build allowed the participating venues of YCK Laneways to concentrate on what they do the best: to provide amazing experiences for Sydneysiders. Being able to have peace of mind that it all got delivered on time and to brief was a huge part of YCK’s success.

/Karl Schlothauer, president, Independent Bars Association

Project/campaign objectives

  • To assist YCK Laneways with project management of a 13-day in-venue event series as well as one outdoor live event
  • To drive awareness of YCK Laneways’ involvement of the Sydney Solstice campaign, initiated by Destination NSW
  • To drive foot traffic into the CBD and the participating venues to support growth in the night-time economy sector as well as the wider visitor economy
  • To provide Sydneysiders with a 13-day activation of in-venue events across arts, culture, music and entertainment 
  • To strengthen the overall brand of YCK Laneways in the public eye

The idea

Sydney Solstice was a NSW Government initiative consisting of ten days of food, music and arts events across the city in June, managed by the Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Sydney’s restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and cultural institutions were called on to create unique experiences for visitors and receive NSW Government support and funding.

The festival brought the city’s streets back to life with a two-week celebration of Sydney’s rich and vibrant food, beverage, art and creative industries and Sydney’s night-time economy in the lead-up to the longest night of the year.

As part of Sydney Solstice, the newly created small bar precinct YCK Laneways took part in the initiative by launching Night Over Light. In a time when support was needed the most for the Covid-affected industries, this event focused on Sydney’s entertainment scene when it shines brightest – in the dark of night. 

Over the 13-day period from June 8 to 20, the YCK Laneways precinct came to life with a diverse program of ticketed cultural events across the 15 participating small bars. These events aimed to bring the community back out into the night to experience the best music, dance, theatre, art and culture that Sydney has to offer. 

To conclude the event series, YCK Laneways hosted a live stage event at Martin Place called ‘Live from YCK’, featuring headline artist Odette alongside up and coming artist JK-47 and Liyah Knight.

Time Out’s role was part project management, part media partnership. The project management role included:

  • Coordinating all participating venues
  • PR management with appointed agency Kreate
  • Brand and website development management with creative agency Elastic Studios
  • Coordination of outdoor activation with activations agency Sims Events & Entertainment

The onboarded PR agency was employed to guarantee third-party media exposure outside of the Time Out media partnership.

Time Out Media was appointed as the official media partner responsible for brand awareness, with a committed media campaign rolled out over a four-week period.

Participating venues included Since I Left You, Papa Gede’s, the Lobo, Spawn Point, the Barber Shop, the Duke of Clarence, Stitch Bar, Uncle Mings, Prince of York, Burrow Bar, Esteban, Swinging Cat, PS40, Sammy Jnr and Grandma’s Bar.

Campaign execution

There were two main drivers for this campaign:

1. To strengthen the YCK Laneways’ brand identity and to cement it as a world-class precinct for entertainment and hospitality in Sydney’s CBD

2. Getting readers out to explore the 13-day in-venue activation and by doing so increasing footfall into the area and financial support for the participating venues

As the campaign centred around getting Sydneysiders back into the city to explore the activation series that formed part of the wider Sydney Solstice campaign, Time Out used a range of drivers. These were designed to ensure readers were aware of the offerings and motivated to explore them for themselves, encouraging ticket sales to the overarching festival as well as the live stage event.

This was an always-on campaign with content, social and eDM activity present throughout the campaign period.

Behind the scenes, Time Out worked closely with YCK Laneways to drive social engagement from the participating venues’ own channels and also provide ongoing support and updates.

In short, the YCK Laneways project delivered:

  • A successful 13-day activation period
  • A four-week comprehensive Time Out media campaign
  • 15 venues involved
  • 75 in-venue events held
  • 1 live stage outdoor event held
  • Over 261 jobs created 
  • A total of 558 tickets sold
  • Over 5,646 people attending the curated events

The results

Time Out Media results

  • Total campaign impressions 693,397
  • Total campaign reach 495,293

Total total reach for this campaign was more than 495,293, which smashed the original reach target of 188,429. The success of the YCK Laneways campaign can partially be attributed to additional editorial support as well as added value, however each content piece either hit or exceeded its projected page views. 

Content dwell time across the board was also well above Time Out's average (1:00) – this shows that readers were deeply engaged with this content and that there was a strong audience alignment. All content pieces achieved a dwell time between 2:30 and 2:09.

PR results

Kreate’s involvement from a PR and media perspective, alongside the organic and paid social media engagement, resulted in sustained brand awareness for YCK Laneways as a precinct and resulted in further media coverage and consumer brand awareness for the participating bars within the precinct. 

Time Out’s preferred partner Kreate PR successfully secured earned media coverage across 86 lifestyle publications outside of Time Out, with multiple content pieces per publisher. This excludes press directly achieved by Destination NSW and any paid or earned Time Out content. 

Kreate generated 163,506 social media reach and a total PR audience of 7,209,955.

Organic social media

As a team we were able to grow the YCK Laneways organic Instagram account following by 492 followers and the Facebook account by 88 followers over the four-week campaign period. 

Throughout the Night Over Light campaign period, YCK Laneways retained an Instagram engagement rate of 1.6% and averaged 57 likes and 3 comments per post. 


Time Out says

On the back of the successful YCK Laneways Block Party campaign, Time Out was appointed as the preferred media partner of YCK Laneways to bring YCK Laneways Night Over Light to life.

Time Out’s role was again to guide, support and shine a light on these independent operators, with funds made available from NSW Government to secure the strategy, project management and media partnership required to cement the brand identity of YCK Laneways.

Time Out’s value was in our expertise in strategy, stakeholder management, extensive network, audience and people to deliver a successful project and campaign. Time Out believes collaboration is key to unlock the potential of operators within the small business industry to drive real and positive impact for our cities. 

Seeing how successful the collaboration with YCK Laneways and Time Out has been to date, we are excited to see what the future holds and look forward to bringing similar campaigns to life with the aim to increase footfall into other Covid-affected areas.

Our mission, be it behind the scenes supporting business, or on the forefront guiding our audience, is to rebuild our cities towards a better future.

If you have similar ideas of how Time Out could help achieve this in your area, contact our team now.

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