For the next month or so, Australia’s Vicinity Centres is rebranding Sydney’s iconic Queen Victoria Building in honour of the upcoming WorldPride festival. The retail centre will be renamed each week to reflect five powerful people in the Australian LGBTQI+ community: Ken Davis, who convened the Gay Solidarity Group in 1978 and helped kick off Australia’s first Mardi Gras; Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and ally Janine Middleton AM, who co-chaired Australian Equality and fought f
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t for marriage equality; Indigenous drag queen Felicia Foxx, who advocates for the empowerment of queer Indigenous people; and cabaret star and trans icon Carlotta.
Davis said he is very attached to the QVB, and the fact that it could be transformed into something ‘glamorous’ for WorldPride was something that Sydneysiders could be proud of.
The campaign, called QVB Enthroned, will see the signage at both front entrances be changed each week to reflect the five activists – becoming the Queen Alex Building – for example, and is part of a broader ‘takeover’ of Vicinity’s media channels during the WorldPride event – which kicks off on February 17th.
Additionally, on the internal ‘domes’ of the building, Vicinity will feature a hanging art installation which seeks to “pay homage to our real queens” during the pride season.
Vicinity Centres’ marketing manager David Henderson told Inside Retail he is incredibly proud of the campaign.
“We’ve made a lot of progress but there’s always more work to be done, and that’s why [activations like] QVB Enthroned are so important,” Henderson said.
“The ability to work together to rename the QVB after five icons – as well as the things we do each and every day within our own organisation so that every team member at Vicinity can bring their true selves to work – is amazing.
“It’s one of those life moments. I’m super proud of our team for pulling it all together, and some of the visual and campaign imagery are beautiful.”
Henderson serves as co-chair on Vicinity’s Pride and Allies Employee Advocacy Group alongside chief legal counsel Carolyn Reynolds, and has worked together with the business’ charity partner Acon Pride and Diversity to educate and raise awareness of the issues facing LGBTQI+ people.
“They’ve been a huge support,” Henderson said.
“They’ve run a bunch of seminars and networking events [for us], and internally they’ve hosted education sessions about general inclusion and the history of the LGBTQI+ community, right through to some of the modern and present day issues and pressures within the community – they’ve been invaluable to us.”
Henderson said Vicinity Centres is optimistic about the year ahead despite the macroeconomic headwinds hitting consumers.
“There’s news coverage around interest rates going up again. Inflation[and] consumer sentiment [is] probably a little bit shaky at the moment,” Henderson said.
“But I think after two years of Covid, and certainly after lockdowns – last year was a bit of a Covid hangover for people mentally – I feel like this year has a much more optimistic outlook, where people are willing to get back out there.
“Online shopping is here to stay, but people want to come back [to shopping centres] for physical connections, experiences, food, and things that they can try on. We’ve definitely seen that flow through, and we’re seeing people come back to the centres.
“I’m very optimistic about the year ahead.”