McCann Melbourne Crafts Surreal, Choreographed Spot for University of Melbourne

By Erik Oster 

Ads for colleges are usually about as sleep-inducing as a boring 8 A.M. lecture, so McCann Melbourne’s unusual new 60-second spot for the University of Melbourne, its first since winning the account earlier this year, comes as quite a surprise.

The spot, entitled “Where great minds collide,” opens on a young woman reading at night by lamplight. Suddenly she puts down her book and sprints toward a nearby building where she’s greeted by a throng of students who join her to make choreographed shapes, like a skull corresponding to an audio clip of news about 3D printing being used for maxillofacial surgery. Voiceover makes it clear that the choreography is meant as a metaphor for “great minds colliding” while the spot as a whole, which ends much as it began, represents knowledge combining with imagination.

If it doesn’t quite work so well as the first of these, it still is one of the most intriguing and attention-grabbing ads for a college we can remember seeing. The stunts employed in the ad are even more impressive when you consider that they used actual students, teachers and other employees from the school. In addition to the broadcast spot, the campaign also includes digital, social, print, cinema and OOH elements, as well as a content partnership with The Guardian.

“This campaign acknowledges that contributions that impact us all, aren’t for the most part created by individuals working alone in dark spaces, but through the bright minds and their imaginations colliding and collaborating, McCann Melbourne executive creative director Pat Baron told Adweek “A little bit like advertising agencies.” 


Client: The University Of Melbourne
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications: Lara McKay

Agency: McCann Melbourne
Executive Creative Director: Patrick Baron
Creative Director: Andy Jones
Creative Director: Alex Wadelton
Art Director: Corey Thorn
Copywriter: Chesney Payet
Head of Broadcast: Victoria Conners
Production Assistant: Afrim Memed
Editor: Patrick Jennings
Managing Director: Adrian Mills
Head of Strategy & Media: David Phillips
Senior Channel Strategist: Ross Dougall
Executive Director: Serrin Dewar
Account Director: Jessica Jolley
Account Director: Sally Bradley
Print Producer: Anthea Waters
Retoucher: Ross Goddard
Senior Finished Artist: Daniel Hickey
Digital Director: Tony Prysten
Senior Digital Producer: Joe Guario
Digital Producer: Rebecca Earwaker
Social Lead: Chris Baker

Production Company: Exit Films
Director: Mark Daly
Producer: Martin Box
Managing Director/EP: Kim Wildenburg
DOP: Geoffrey Simpson

Postproduction: The Editors
Editor: Ryan Boucher
Producer: Nicoletta Rousianos

Visual FX: Fin Design
Colourist: Ben Eagleton
Producer: Amelia Babos

Sound Design: Klang
Sound Designer / Composer: Brendan Woithe
Producer: Paul Healy

Additional Sound Mix: Soundlounge
Richard Buxton
Sam Hopgood

Sarah Ewing Agency: Still Photography/Print
Photographer: Chris Von Menge
Producer: James Mauger
Retoucher: Jamie Phillips