If you travel interstate regularly, work in a CBD, watch the morning news on TV, or have been a recent visitor to the ACS website, you most likely would have seen a new ACS awareness campaign with a young girl wearing a supergirl cape. Information Age spoke with ACS Chief Executive Officer Andrew Johnson on the ‘Empowering Australian Innovation’ campaign.

What was the idea behind the campaign?

Over the last three years, ACS has been involved with a number of thought leadership reports; Australia’s Digital Pulse, Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce, the Promise of Diversity. Across the ACS membership, we have a strong understanding of automation resulting in an unprecedented rate of old job destruction and new job creation. As our global economy continues to digitise, the ICT sector will be the engine of the future Australian digital and knowledge economies. We are focussed on strategies that will assist growing the ICT ecosystem in Australia, and when we do this, all of our members will benefit.

We know that we have some challenges to growing participation in IT and technology-related careers with approximately 4,000 university graduates each year from IT related degrees. This in an environment where Deloitte Access Economics are forecasting the need for another 67,000 ICT jobs by 2020. This mis-match is compounded by women continuing to represent only 28% of the ICT workforce (compared to 44% across all professional industries).

What does the campaign involve?

The campaign is national, although the medium varies state by state. It involves outdoor advertising on buses, trams, and billboards on roads and train stations. There is a strong digital presence at airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra for the business traveller. During May, this has included television with spots on Sky across PVO News Day, Paul Murray Live, Switzer, Ticky, Your Money Your Call, and free-to-air across Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10, Channel 7 Darwin, Channel 7 Hobart, and Channel 7 Canberra across (amongst others) Sunrise, The Voice, Today, Nine News, and MasterChef.

The campaign involves an image of a girl dressed as a super hero. The television commercial is intended to be a conversation starter with mums and dads around career choices, to highlight that a career in technology is a profession that affords exciting opportunities and limitless ways for their children to shape the world we live in.

As such, it is intended to be aspirational, with the script accompanying the imagery being:

Our next generation are preparing for jobs that do not yet exist

The possibilities are breathtaking

Using technology, our children have the ability to solve the world’s big problems

Think: food security, population growth, climate change, cancer

Our vision is for Australia to be a world leader in technology talent

One where every child can fulfil their potential.

We were able to road test the commercial with approximately 2,000 students at UTS during the Big Day In back in March. It was quite a focus group!

What has been the feedback to date?

There has been strong feedback from across the country. The imagery has been very appealing to a wide audience. The campaign itself is taking ACS to a new audience: mums and dads, policy makers, business leaders. The message is one which every member should be proud of. Indeed, it is ACS members making significant impact in our communities. If you haven’t caught the Innovator Series on Information Age, I would encourage everyone to check them out. We have Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, Jill Slay, Michael Malone, Kate Raynes-Goldie, Richard White and Peter James. The Empowering Australian Innovation campaign has the added impact of recognising the great work that our members perform using technology.

As an example of independent feedback, a ‘connections agency’ that specialises in women saw the work on the side of a bus and felt inspired and compelled to understand more about ACS, and ended up writing a piece on its blog.

What can ACS members do to assist?

Our members have great reach. If they felt inspired to share the campaign within their networks, that would be a great reflection that it resonates. Many have been taking photos and posting on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook.

The more involvement, the greater the reach. In the coming months, ACS intends to release further video content and television commercials that feature a number of our members. We look forward to sharing these with you as well.