The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – presented by Bank of Melbourne – today launches Australia’s first Bluetooth Smart Beacon campaign via Ogilvy Melbourne and creative technology agency partner, DT. Venues across the city are set to utilise the cutting-edge technology to encourage festival goers to ‘Explore’ participating venues during the next few weeks.
More than 50 cafes, restaurants and wine bars have installed Bluetooth Smart Beacons, which work in conjunction with the new Festival ‘Explorer’ app, to send personalised micro-location based notifications to people who are close by. It is the first time in Australia the technology has been used for a commercial purpose, with the app and execution designed and developed by DT.
The concept is simple: explore Melbourne’s food and wine venues to win exclusive festival experiences. However it’s not a case of walk past and win; explorers are required to dive a little deeper into the venue and discover something new, with little challenges along the way. The Bluetooth Smart Beacons pick up that the challenge has been completed, and reward Explorers with free food and drinks, unique event experiences, and of course Festival tickets.

“The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is all about getting people to explore the city and its venues as never before,” DT strategist Athan Didaskalou explained.“
“To ensure people explore fantastic events during Melbourne Food and Wine Festival we developed this new, cutting-edge promotional campaign. Using the Bluetooth Smart Beacon technology allows people to opt in and participate in new culinary adventures as they wander the city and Festival, and encourages the discovery of venues and opportunities that they otherwise may not become aware of.”

The Explorer App and use of Bluetooth Smart Beacons is part of a broader strategic approach developed by Ogilvy Melbourne, which includes the ‘Discover Something New’ campaign launched late 2013 (see here for details .
Ogilvy Melbourne’s ECD Brendon Guthrie said the strategy and its supporting promotional elements were designed to tap into the sophisticated food and wine culture in Melbourne.
“This festival is now one of the world’s leading food and wine events, so the expectations of those who attend are very high. Our challenge was to blend good ideas with cutting-edge technology to make sure exploring Melbourne’s festival is a deep, rich and above all, unique experience,” he explained. 
The Bluetooth-based technology is more accurate than other GPS-based engagement tools, as it is able to detect even the slightest difference in distance.  It also has the ability to trigger additional content to players such as videos and news on those events due to its location-based accuracy. While the technology has been around for some years, the introduction of Low Energy Bluetooth is becoming a prime opportunity for retailers and businesses to think about new ways to engage audiences at the point of sale. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival were keen to be one of the first in the country to experiment on what will soon be a cultural norm.
Bluetooth also allows multiple messages to be pushed out to multiple passers-by simultaneously, ensuring everyone who is interested in exploring the Festival can be involved in the daily challenges and opportunities.
“It is incredibly exciting to be part of this world-class food and wine festival and its use of this relatively new engagement technology.  We can’t wait for visitors to be part of it too,” Didaskalou continued.
The Explorer App also supports the ‘Discover Something New’ campaign which launched late 2013 and executed by Ogilvy Melbourne, comprising TVCs, cinema and outdoor advertising, digital display and press, plus a limited edition run of art posters.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival presented by Bank of Melbourne runs from February 28-March 16.  To download the Explorer App search for ‘Festival Explorer’ in the App store or visit

Client: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Digital Agency: DT Melbourne
Client Services Director: Jeremy Smart
Senior Producer: Graeme Sneddon
Strategist: Athan Didaskalou
Mobile development: Adam Kangas

Creative agency: Ogilvy Melbourne
Senior Account Manager: Mahli Pullen
Art Director: Brett Edwards
Copywriter: Tim Pashen