Case Study: Getting Sydneysiders to keep punching people’s heads in

When it comes to the evening entertainment of choice for Sydneysiders, heading into the Cross before throwing down a few bourbons, then throwing a few punches and finally throwing up in the back of a cab on the way home was always at the top. But the introduction of new lockout laws in NSW threatened to stop that. Here’s how we got punters to still enjoy the Aussie tradition of getting blind and punching the living shit out of each other.
Punters, bouncers and rugby league players all wanted to punch people up, but new lockout laws threatened to stop that. Aussies have been getting on the piss and kicking people’s heads in for years, so where were they supposed to all go?
“Officer, he called me missus a scrag”
Due to media attention, the government made it clear that fighting in the Cross was a no go. They even used Danny Green in an ad campaign with the (then) NSW premier Barry O’Farrell sayingThere can be no better person than a professional boxer to highlight the dangers of violent assaults”.
 Danny Green – apparently using someone who punches and talks up punching people for a living is the perfect choice for highlighting why violence is bad. pressconference


We needed to shift the problem. We needed to encourage people to go somewhere where they could freely punch on, we needed a place that was so decrepit that only the reprehensible dare roam – somewhere that made so much money from organised crime and had so much political influence that it didn’t have to comply with restrictions that every other business faced. Luckily, that very place was also exempt from the lockout laws – Star Casino.
At the time of the lockout laws the NSW government released this statement “Preventing and minimising alcohol fuelled violence is a key government priority.” But what they left out was “only if it’s not near the Casino”. Star had a long and proud history of being one of the most violent after dark locations in the state.
exemptThis made it the perfect place for punters to come have a drink thinking they’re socially superior to the people losing their homes on the pokies before finally finding someone ‘who wants to have a fucking go’.
So, we created an ad campaign inviting punters to get down there and have a punch on.
Just over a year on the results have been amazing. Sydneysiders have pulled their fingers out, clenched their fists and started throwing punches all over Pyrmont. While fights have been down at Kings Cross, the violence at Star has soared as this Guardian article shows:
guardianquoteThat’s a jump from 20 assaults to 74 in the same period!
quoteAnd here’s a graph that makes it all look good:
Screenshot 2015-06-25 21.59.06Not only were punters able to act like a bunch of knuckle-dragging neanderthals, but against all the odds, the NSW government have been seen to be doing something about all the violence, while just successfully shifting the problem. Now that’s some true blue Aussie fighting spirit.