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The zombies of sleepy hollow: reimagining Geelong

Gray, Fiona and Novacevski, Matt 2015, The zombies of sleepy hollow: reimagining Geelong, in SOAC 2015: Proceedings of the State of Australian Cities National Conference, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld., pp. 1-8.

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Title The zombies of sleepy hollow: reimagining Geelong
Author(s) Gray, Fiona
Novacevski, Matt
Conference name State of Australian Cities Conference (2015 : Gold Coast, Qld.)
Conference location Gold Coast, Qld.
Conference dates 9-11 Dec. 2015
Title of proceedings SOAC 2015: Proceedings of the State of Australian Cities National Conference
Publication date 2015
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher Griffith University
Place of publication Gold Coast, Qld.
Summary Place branding is traditionally concerned with drawing on the positive and unique elements of a community to generate investment and build community pride. In 2014 a promotional video was released portraying Geelong as a zombie town, with flamboyant Mayor Darryn Lyons riding in on horseback to save the city and its people. The imagery was more at home in cult zombie cinema than a tourism promotion. Critics berated the video as an ill-conceived stunt that carried a message derisive to the local community. Supporters focused on the bold, creative nature of the endeavour, claiming its potential to ‘go viral’ would enhance Geelong’s media presence, improve the city’s perception and draw visitors to the area. Geelong was first badged ‘Sleepy Hollow’ in the 1860s when the new gold towns of Ballarat and Bendigo boomed, challenging its supremacy as a commercial centre. Geelong prospered in the 1920s through industrialisation, but the moniker has remained. Today, Geelong faces a period of economic uncertainty and transition as it adjusts to major job losses in manufacturing. While this presents significant challenges, it also creates opportunities for the city to re-imagine itself by capitalising on the physical and cultural assets that set Geelong apart. While the zombie video has sparked debate, its success in influencing views of the city is constrained by its references to past stigma and its imposition of a new sense of dystopia in the present. This paper explores the Sleepy Hollow predicament and considers how the branding of Geelong might move beyond parody to better reflect its position as Victoria’s largest regional centre through an approach based on imageability, narrative, assets and investment.
Language eng
Field of Research 120505 Regional Analysis and Development
Socio Economic Objective 970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
ERA Research output type E Conference publication
Copyright notice ©2015, Griffith University
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Architecture and Built Environment
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