Award Category
Media & Entertainment



Deep Water


There were 88 gay hate murders that occurred in Sydney during the 80s and 90s. Many remain unsolved.

In 2016 SBS based its crime drama Deep Water on these murders. It was Zenith’s task to find a hook to expose new 25-54 year-old audiences to the quality content SBS has on offer. The agency was up against a declining TV market and fierce competition, implementing an unbranded campaign. The idea was to draw the audience in by taking an iconic image of Bondi and turn it into a never-before-seen, much darker representation, signifying events from its past and hinting that a deeper, darker secret side to Bondi was about to be revealed. The projected audience reach was 480,000.


Completely unbranded by SBS, Instagrammer Aquabumps took his usual Bondi photograph, but this time there was a submerged body, his depiction of the gay hate murders inferring a dark secret. The photo was blasted out to his network (115,000 Facebook fans; 105,000 Instagram followers, 43,000 eDM subscribers), followed that week by SBS launching the same photo on its digital and social sites. This was along with digital media to help the audience discover what was behind the chilling image, leading to hundreds of thousands of people questioning what the image was about.


Social posts reached over 1,131,000 people (9600 reactions, 614 comments, 479 shares, 1037 new page likes for SBS), CPF generated by the Aquabumps’ post was highly cost-effective and well below the average for SBS social activity ($7.71 vs $29.94). Users’ engagement – CTR 14.67%, compared to the 3.51% average. Interest in the series was extended beyond social channels, generating 56% more search interest than the top 2015 drama. Earned media coverage included Pedestrian puzzling over the image and interviewing Aquabumps. Audience reach was smashed, with 622,000 in the first episode = +130%. Deep Water became the most watched, locally produced SBS drama of 2016 and the second highest rated of all time. Aquabumps’ work was auctioned with the proceeds ($5500) donated to ACON to build a memorial for victims of gay hate crimes.

Judges Comments

"The idea behind this campaign was described as: neat, smart, original and authentic. The solution was both brave and creative, driving traffic and changing audience behaviour. This campaign was executed brilliantly and achieved results, making it a Gold winner."