Australian Campaigns of the Decade: Optus ‘Clever Buoy’ (2014) via M&C Saatchi Sydney


In the lead-up to the start of the 20s Campaign Brief nominates the campaigns that contributed to Australia being consistently ranked in the top 5 most awarded countries at global award shows throughout the decade.


In 2014, in a unique collaboration with Optus, Google and tech company Shark Mitigation Services, M&C Saatchi Sydney responded to an Optus brief to demonstrate the power of its network with an R&D project that creates world-first, breakthrough shark detection technology to help protect people and sharks throughout Australia and the world.

Based on its belief that brands are built off the back of consumer experiences, M&C Saatchi decided a compelling demonstration of the efficacy of the Optus network coverage was better than merely talking about it.

‘Project Clever Buoy’ harnessed new and existing technologies to develop world-first smart ocean buoys that could detect sharks and alert those on the beach via the Optus network, to minimise the risk of shark attacks.

The project was the perfect response for Optus because it’s a demonstration of their brand DNA, to push the boundaries of innovation and have their consumers’ backs.

Google selected ‘Project Clever Buoy’ in its global Re: Brief project, which up to then had included iconic brands like Coke and VW. The project is designed to re-imagine what advertising can be and push the boundaries of where creativity and technology intersect.

Clever Buoy took global awards juries by storm, highlighted by its Lion-haul at Cannes, including a coveted Titanium and four Gold Lions; five D&AD Pencils plus a White Pencil; two Grand Prix at the 2015 Clio Awards; the SXSW ‘Internet of Things’; Spikes Asia Innovation Grand Prix and the IAB MIXX Gold.


The Optus Clever Buoy project was developed a M&C Saatchi, Sydney by executive creative director Ben Welsh, creative directors Paul Dunne and Ant Larcombe, art director Paul Gregson and copywriter Jono Flannery, creative technologist James Bush, project director Nadine Frisk, design director Steve Hanzic, head of technology Roger Chapman, TV producer Nikki Marsh, CEO Jaimes Leggett, executive TV producer Mick Perry, group innovation director Ben Cooper, chief strategy officer Justin Graham, account director Sarah Cunningham, senior account director Karlee Weatherstone, working with Optus heads of brand communications Nathan Rosenberg and Andrew Branwhite, project lead Andrea Darling and corporate affairs manager Claire Wong.

Public relations was managed at Fuel Communications by PR managers Trisha Ford (Routledge) and Sophie Walsh. Media was handled at Starcom.

The Optus Clever Buoy system was produced at Shark Mitigation Systems, Perth.

The animated film was produced at Sixty40/Heckler Sydney, by director Mark Simpson, VFX executive producer Dave Kelly, VFX producer Jayne da Costa, VFX coordinator Tyrone Estephan, lead designer Vitaly Grossman, 2D animator Juan Serrano, compositors Luke Carvell, Mark Kwanten, Maxence Peillon, head of 3D Bryn Morrow, 3D animator Danni Jailing, FX artist Sina Rahimpour, modeller/lighting artist Albert Susantio.

The documentary was filmed by Nimble Pictures director Josh Moore with producer Mick Perry at M&C Saatchi’s Kite Productions. Post production was done at Suitcase Murphy.