Melbourne Food and Wine Festival —

The revolution will be digitised.

MFWF Flags

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) has been a part of the city’s cultural landscape for over 20 years. It’s grown from modest beginnings to the festival it is today, with over 300 gastronomic events packed into ten days and nights of eating and drinking pleasure. MFWF has become one of the most well-known and respected food festivals in the world. Cue 2016. We’re in the midst of a global foodie revolution. The time had come for MFWF to rethink its role and relevance beyond the festival itself.

Food + Wine Victoria
Brand Architecture

To a degree, the Festival had also become a victim of its success. The number of events was tricky for the public to navigate. And in the face of increased competition from other food and wine festivals, both in Melbourne and across Australia, punters and industry partners were less and less clear about what the festival stood for, and how it was relevant. It was also becoming harder and harder to secure sponsorship deals, particularly with media partners.

The plan? Rethink how MFWF engaged with government departments, tourism authorities, the hospitality industry and food and wine producers to cultivate the festival and grow the category more broadly.


Given the organisation had identified the need for a global ambassador of Australian food and wine, our task was twofold. Firstly, we had to help redraw the organisation’s brand architecture and articulate a bold vision for the new parent brand, Food & Wine Victoria (FWV). Secondly, we needed to devise a brand strategy and identity for the MFWF itself – one that respected the knowledge and reputation cultivated over the previous 20 years, while injecting fresh thinking and more fun to engage younger, digitally savvy audiences.

For FWV, we established a strategy and corresponding brand identity aimed at shining a global light on Victoria’s world of food and wine. We positioned FWV as a collaborative partner that advocates for food and wine producers and makers throughout the state. The identity was designed to give FWV the ability to speak to multiple stakeholders and government with the appropriate tone, demonstrating their commitment

Campaign roll-out

After much talking and plenty of eating (though prudently not too much drinking), we defined a bold ambition for the Festival to become one of the world’s “grand slam” gastronomic experiences. Given the culinary landscape in Melbourne and the organisation’s new strategic intent, it’s a goal the festival is well placed to achieve over the next few years. It’s a consumer-first strategy that revolves around the engaging people’s hearts, minds and palates by combining food with ideas to create new, unforgettable experiences.

The identity we developed was playful and adaptable, with the aim to democratise and re-energise the festival. In essence, we wanted to make the festival feel, well, more festive.

Festival results

Throughout the process, we were mindful of the multiple stakeholders involved and the vast range of communication avenues. We worked with advertising agencies, web developers, videographers, photographers and the in-house design team at MFWF to create a storytelling language that would link the Festival’s message across varying media. A large part of the identity was a family of emoji-style icons – used across print and digital executions – custom designed to transform the Festival’s engagement of youth audiences and usability on social media.

The results speak for themselves.

Dan Barber

A final thought
Credit: Christina Holmes

“There is an incredible community of chefs and thinkers in Melbourne who support the festival and enrich every aspect of the experience. The result is not simply a forum to celebrate good food, but also a portal into the local culture, and a stage to share ideas”

Dan Barber,
Chef, Advisor, Commentator