Case Study – YCK Laneways Block Party

Client Testimonial

YCK Laneways Block Party was a really great activation to be a part of. To bring together 10 bars to work towards a common goal is no small feat, and it would not have been possible without Time Out's guidance and management. /Nick White, owner, Since I Left You

The YCK Laneways Block Party enabled the bars to engage with different types of artists and cultural experiences that we probably never would have done before with some of those experiences living on post the activation period. YCK Laneways Block Party opened the venues to different audiences, different experiences and overall a hell of a good time. This never would have happened without the City of Sydney support, Time Out's ability to pull off a great marketing campaign and strategy, as well as the big supporters Bacardi-Martini and American Express. /Karl Schlothauer, president, Independent Bars Association

Campaign objectives

  • To establish an identity for the York, Kent and Clarence street area.

  • To drive foot traffic into the CBD in an effort to aid the small bar venues affected by Covid and to support growth in the night-time economy sector.

  • To provide Sydneysiders with a 6-week activation of in-venue events across arts, culture, music and entertainment.

The idea

City of Sydney’s CBD activation grants program invited business owners to apply for grant funds available in an effort to support the financial recovery in the CBD of Sydney. Businesses and creatives were encouraged to activate spaces in venues, the public domain and corporate locations with cultural programming, giving a range of independent venues in the area the opportunity to apply.

Time Out banded together with a group of influential venues in the York, Clarence and King street area to apply for the available grant funds in an effort to launch a brand-new nightlife and entertainment precinct in the heart of the city named YCK Laneways, with Time Out for Business leading the strategy.

Time Out’s role was part strategy, part media partnership. The strategy arm was responsible for the onboarding and ongoing project management of all stakeholders including;

Time Out played a crucial strategic role in the brand development phase by working closely together with the appointed creative agency on the concept and brand identity, as well as on the website build. 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 an 8-week period.

Time Out worked closely with YCK Laneways to successfully onboard two commercial sponsors to amplify the existing media partnership, with Bacardi-Martini and American Express helping to drive further media impact.

To drive excitement about this new entertainment quarter the participating small bars banded together to put the precinct on the map with the launch of YCK Laneways Block Party – a six-week celebration of Sydney’s creative community through cultural events at your favourite bars. The festival was bookended with a big live stage event called ‘Live at Barrack Street’. For the first time in Sydney’s history the Barrack Street area was fenced off to bring music and entertainment to excited event goers. This was a sold out affair with 248 guests enjoying music by headline artist Jarryd James as well as D’Arcy Spiller and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Budjerah

Spanning across York, Clarence and Kent Streets (YCK), the block party was a collaboration between the city’s small bars with the aim of inspiring Sydneysiders to rediscover the city and inject some much-needed life back into the once thriving CBD. The establishment of the precinct was part of the City of Sydney’s post-lockdown strategy to revitalise the local economy, as people across the city adjust to the new normal of 2021. 

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 and Grandma’s Bar.

Campaign execution

There were two main drivers for this campaign:

1. Uniting the venues in the area to put the precinct at the map, by forming a collective to launch this YCK Laneways the 'go-to' destination for top quality hospitality and entertainment in Sydney

2. Getting readers out to explore the 6-week in-venue activation and by doing so increasing footfall into the area

As the campaign centred around getting Sydneysiders back into the city to explore the new precinct, Time Out used a range of drivers to not only ensure readers were aware of the new precinct but also encouraged a call to action for readers to explore it for themselves.

The Bacardi-Martini campaign focused on the signature cocktails offered during the activation period, whereas the American Express campaign rolled out a 'night time personality quiz' guiding the readers to find their perfect night out in the precinct.

Time Out also rolled out a general awareness campaign, promoting the overarching festival and the live stage event.

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

Behind the scenes, Time Out worked with the participating venues to educate them on marketing, how to drive social engagement and also provided ongoing support and updates.

In short, the YCK Laneways project delivered:

  • A successful 6-week activation period
  • An 8-week comprehensive Time Out media campaign
  • 10 venues involved
  • Over 120 events held
  • Over 150 talents employed
  • 2 commercial sponsors secured
  • 1 live stage event held

The results

Time Out Media results
Total page views for this campaign were more than 60k, this exceeded the projected by more >6 times. The success of the YCK Laneways campaign can partially be attributed to additional editorial support but every content piece either hit or exceeded its projected page views. 

In particular, the Block Party event listing and editorial support feature achieved outstanding results, with the Block Party piece exceeding page views projections by >4 times.

Content dwell time across the board was also well above Time Out's average (1:50), this shows that readers were deeply engaged with this content and that there is a strong audience alignment. All content pieces achieved a dwell time between 2:26 and 2:54.

Time Out editorial article saw 28,000 page views in the first 48 hours.

PR results
The appointed PR agency (Kreate) successfully secured earned media coverage across 39 lifestyle publications outside of Time Out, with multiple content pieces per publisher.

Paid social support
The paid social media campaign run by Proposition had a total reach of over 122,000 people across Sydney. From this, we generated 256K impressions across the campaign lifetime.

Organic social media
YCK Laneways organic Instagram account saw 1000 new followers in 24 hours of launching.
To date, a total of 4,400+ followers has been added after 3 months of activity.

YCK Laneways Website

  • 39K unique visitors within 3 months of operation 
  • 65K page views within 3 months of operation

Live event attendance
The live stage event ‘Live at Barrack Street’ was a sold out event with 248 event goers checking in. 25% of ticket buyers visited one or more of the YCK participating venues on the night of the event, where they in exchange for a drink card were treated to a 50% off festival cocktail courtesy of sponsor Bacardi-Martini.

Venue feedback

  • 75% of the participating venues saw an increase in footfall as a result of the YCK campaign, which translated into financial uplift of more than 10-35% on a month by month basis.
  • 37.5% of the participating venues saw an increase in footfall as a result of the YCK campaign, which translated into financial uplift of more than 35% on the day of their hosted events. A further 37.5% saw a financial uplift of 10-35% on the day of their hosted events.


Campaign videos

YCK Laneways x American Express video

YCK Laneways x Bacardi-Martini video

Time Out says

As a result of the City of Sydney CBD activation grants program, a range of independent venues had the opportunity to trial new things, diversify their music, arts and entertainment offerings and to collaborate with talents from industries they wouldn’t have otherwise sought out. The funds also made it possible for the collective of bars to band together in an effort to brand the precinct as a new entertainment hub under the name of YCK Laneways.

Time Out’s role was to guide, support and shine a light on these independent operators who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so, with funds made available to secure the strategy, project management and media partnership required to put the precinct on the map for good.

Time Out saw value 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. 

Time Out is a founding partner of YCK Laneways and has since the YCK Laneways Block Party also worked with YCK Laneways on the Sydney Solstice campaign Night Over Light in a similar capacity. 

Seeing how successful this project has been to date we are excited to see what the future of YCK Laneways holds and look forward to bringing similar campaigns to life with the aim to increase the footfall into the Covid-affected CBD.

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, and YCK Laneways was a true testament to this.

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