2017 Mainstreet Marketing Award Winner (joint)

Rundle Mall Christmas

Christmas 2016 saw a variety of prominent and bold decorations and events across the iconic shopping precinct. Christmas activations and decorations play an important role in positioning the Rundle Mall Precinct to ensure maximum economic impact during the lucrative Christmas period.

Christmas 2016 delivered many new elements and exciting events and activations for the Mall.

These included:

  • Central Activation Zone with workshops, café, bar, carollers and Christmas Carousel
  • 200 Real Christmas Trees across 3 key areas of Rundle Mall
  • Large format lettering spelling JOY, PEACE & MERRY
  • Overhead bunting
  • Entry statement large format presents
  • Custom art installation – Angel Wings by Kelsey Montague

Key Partners Involved:

Christmas 2016 key partners included:

  • National retailers across the shopping precinct
  • Kikki K for Christmas Activations
  • Jurlique for Christmas Activations
  • Might Mighty Café
  • Salvation Army Collection Tree
  • Oxfam charity partnership (in conjunction with the Live Trees)


2016 saw a change in strategic direction for Rundle Mall and therefore a revised approach to Christmas. The new vision included a move toward ensuring activation and engagement for the iconic retail precinct including:

  • Attract people to the Rundle Mall Precinct
  • Get people to dwell longer; and
  • Ensure that customers enjoy the experience of Rundle Mall.

In previous years there had been some public criticism over decorations in the Mall, so it was critical for Rundle Mall to deliver on the Christmas vision in 2016. As Rundle Mall is the retail heart of the city, it needed to offer the best Christmas experience in Adelaide to encourage length of stay for visitors. The Mall had to consider a new approach to create experiences that were unique and intriguing.

Therefore there was an increase in decorations/installations, activations and retail participation.

Along with the decorations and events, Rundle Mall had a unique opportunity to leverage the Credit Union Christmas Pageant. The Pageant is a long-standing tradition in Adelaide with over 300,000 visitors to the city all coming to see Santa in the Magic Cave at David Jones which is located in the Mall. To connect with customers on Pageant Day, a central activation zone was launched underneath the central Gawler Place Canopy to create drawcard for all families to visit the Mall and stay longer. This was an interactive space with entertainment, characters and photograph opportunities.


Rundle Mall’s vision for the Christmas season was to create a city transformed by colour, activity and light, where businesses prosper and people of all ages and backgrounds come to revel in the long summer days with family, friends and neighbours. Our objectives included:

  • Increase traffic and dwell time
  • Drive retail, services and hospitality sales
  • Deliver unique activations and experiences
  • Create a consistent recognisable theme
  • Communicate activity to residents and visitors
  • Create a ‘retail heart’ for Christmas celebrations
  • Deliver shareable digital moments to drive engagement.


Critical to the success of the event was the engagement of renowned production managers Bruce McKinven and Jeremy Gordon, along with a local event company, The Pop Up Co, to deliver the decorations and activation elements for 2016.

Bruce McKinven is a Theatre and Event Designer with over 20 years’ experience who has designed sets and costumes for some of Australia’s leading theatre and dance companies and Jeremy Gordon works across Australia’s Music and Arts Festivals with a focus on art and experiential aspects.

The decorations consisted of:

  • 200 x Live Trees of all sizes in the “Forest of Trees”
  • 2 x art installations with US based artist Kelsey Montague
  • Large Format Christmas lettering installations
  • Existing decorations update (and Christmas Carousel)
  • Overhead catenary bunting

In addition, activity took place in the precinct throughout the Christmas season including Pageant Day. The activity included:

  • Pageant Day Activity – family friendly performances, face-painting and giveaways
  • Carols and live music performances
  • Friday night activations – bars and music
  • Workshops – card making, decoration making, wrapping
  • Retailer support and Christmas window installations throughout the precinct to decorate their shop windows
  • Shareable moments across social media and prizes for retailers who activate
  • Extended Trading hours
  • Salvation Army Collection Tree
  • Oxfam charity partnership (in conjunction with the Live Trees)

The advertising and communications campaign included:

  • Hero campaign and supporting event collateral
  • A5 printed Christmas Program of Events
  • Above-The-Line media spend
  • Digital and social engagement and advertising


The campaign had some great results including increases in all the following:

  • Retail sales
  • Website visits
  • Online social media followers


Overall, the Christmas 2016 program was well received by customers and retailers. The large format letters added wow-factor and impact and the overhead bunting added a great “roof canopy” to the Mall. The live “Forest of Trees” was popular and customers enjoyed the smell of real trees and the traditional elements of Christmas.