Canberra creative team takes on Gruen’s The Pitch to convince Australia that all kids should go to boarding school

Karyn Starmer 29 October 2021 3
Synergy Group creative director Jason Perelson

Synergy Group creative director Jason Perelson. Photo: Synergy Group.

If there is one thing COVID-19 lockdown taught many of us, it’s that everyone being at home together, all day every day, day after day, may not be the path to the best of happy family memories.

Juggling work from home, Zoom school, seemingly endless nights of television and meal preparation has tested even the most patient of us.

So as we find ourselves preparing to finally return to schools and workplaces, the brief on ‘The Pitch’ on ABC TV’s Gruen, could not have come at a better time.

Canberra’s creativeXpeople at local consultancy firm Synergy Group were invited to Gruen for a fourth time, briefed to sell the unsellable and convince Australia that all kids should be shipped off to boarding school.

Proving that Canberra is a city where creatives thrive, the team went head-to-head with another agency that was tasked to make the opposite pitch to continue home-schooling.

And the good news is creativeXpeople won with their pitch. “Between online school, endless piles of washing, Zoom meetings and everything else life throws at us, we aren’t our best selves, when we’re every self.”


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“Our approach was to create an emotive, slightly stress-provoking ad that reminded us of the complications of juggling it all, and how we can step back and be the best version of ourselves,” says Synergy Group creative director Jason Perelson.

“It was important for us not to just go to the low-hanging fruit of ‘let’s get rid of the kids so we can all have some peace’, but to really think about this as if it was real.

“How could we convince parents who would really miss their kids?

“We wanted to find the real human connection in this story and make an emotional connection. For any good advertising, or story at all, it’s about resonance.

“As a team of 42 people, with many of us really attached to our kids, once we thought about it – from the kids’ perspective as well – [we realised] that it’s not a bad idea. Maybe we can be our best as parents, do our best work, and have better connections among ourselves if we were to all separate during the week and gather again on the weekend.”

creativeXpeople is an innovative agency/consultancy hybrid within Synergy Group Australia, combining the best of both areas to tackle campaigns, graphic design and advertising alongside research, culture and behavioural change.

Synergy’s creativeXpeople practice has the distinct honour of being the only Canberra creative team to represent the city on Gruen, one of television’s most-watched programs.

Taking home its third Gruen trophy, the team was met with praise from the industry judging panel for its ‘We’re all better when they’re boarding’ pitch. Chief strategy officer at BMF Australia, Christina Aventi, remarked the pitch was “absolutely resonant”, while freelance creative Karen Ferry added she “really loved the craft”.

“No longer is Canberra the place where creatives come to leave,” says Jason. “I am very proud of the team and the talent, and as a Canberra firm, we have shown that Canberra creatives can compete on a national level.

“There is so much creative talent in this city.”

Synergy’s Gruen episode aired on Wednesday, 20 October, and is available on iView.


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3 Responses to Canberra creative team takes on Gruen’s The Pitch to convince Australia that all kids should go to boarding school
Flistee Emm Flistee Emm 10:42 am 26 Oct 21

Nice one Synergy!

Peta-Rene Prior Peta-Rene Prior 5:44 pm 25 Oct 21

All kids should go to boarding schools?? Perhaps get all kids attending school to start with.

Stas Idowu Stas Idowu 5:11 pm 25 Oct 21

Synergy Group

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