Big Red Group brings US experiences brand IfOnly to Australia

Experiences for good: New brand delivers experiences to benefit charity

The Big Red Group brings US experiences brand IfOnly to Australia this week, unlocking access to local and global experiences that benefit charity

The Big Red Group (BRG) has launched the premium curated experiences brand, IfOnly, in Australia.

IfOnly is a partnership with the US site of the same name – founded in 2012 with the purpose of unlocking access to extraordinary experiences for social good, with every listing benefitting a cause.

Partnering with local and world-class ‘luminaries’ – be they experts in their field, celebrities or other noteworthy personalities, brands and charities – IfOnly offers extraordinary experiences across entertainment, culinary, music and more, with up to 80 per cent of the funds going to an associated charity. The brand launches locally with more than 20 charities set to benefit initially, including Cancer Council, R U OK?, Starlight Children’s Foundation, OzHarvest and Sony Foundation.

BRG Co-Founder, Naomi Simson, says the launch of IfOnly is testament to the Big Red Group’s purpose ‘to shift the way people experience life’ and is a response to the continued growth of the experience economy, a subject on which the group have published a new whitepaper.

“Customers, more than ever, want to align themselves with brands that have a true social conscience and who are actively contributing to the community,” Ms Simson said.

“Australians are known as charitable people, and the way we value activities and our time more than material possessions is unlike any other time in history.

“BRG is focused on offering a broad range of experiences, across different brands, that serve different purposes for our customers and clients. And being able to offer a fundraising channel for Australia’s not-for-profit sector adds greatly to our social commitment.

“IfOnly is all about making the impossible possible and answering a consumer desire for richer experiences that give to both the recipient and our communities via the strong philanthropic focus.”

Simson herself will be hosting a range of premium experiences, with the proceeds going to the Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance of which she sits on the Board of Governors. Simson’s experiences will fund a valuable preventative public health campaign to educate about the link between Cytomegalovirus (CMV)* and children born with cerebral palsy.

Once-in-a-lifetime IfOnly experiences available to Australians from this week, include:

  • The Who and Eddie Vedder, live at Wembley. In the first global sweepstakes of its kind, IfOnly is unlocking access for Australian residents to win a rock’n’roll adventure with legendary rock band The Who and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, at Wembley Stadium in London, July 6. Open to enter via donation to the elected charity.
  • Kevin Pietersen South African Rhino Conservation Experience at Umganu Lodge – proceeds benefitting Care for Wild.
  • Dinner at the SCG with Michael Clarke, personalised tour and signed memorabilia – directly benefitting the Cancer Council.
  • The Kingdom Choir at Sydney Opera House. They performed their show-stopping performance of ‘Stand By Me’ in front of nearly two billion people at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, and now they bring their heralded performances to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Includes coveted backstage access, meet and greet and photo opportunity with Conductor Karen Gibson and Choir members – 80 per cent of proceeds to The Sony Foundation.
  • Ariana Grande ‘Sweetener’ Tour Experience. Meet Ariana with VIP Tickets to one of her US shows, in this rare encounter with one of the most popular artists of the moment.

IfOnly US CEO John Boris is in Sydney as part of the launch and is thrilled to be partnering with the BRG to bring the premium experience offering, with a charitable twist, to a new market.

“By combining the Australian experiences market leader with the leader of premium experiences in the US, we are able to bring our unique offering to new audiences and support more causes,” Mr Boris said.

“Whether you want to have a bucket-list experience – such as playing soccer with Ronaldo or meeting the Rolling Stones, or you want an amazing local experience such as a cooking class with a lauded local chef – IfOnly has it all, and a portion of every experience we sell goes to support charity.

“We raise millions of dollars for charities in the US, and we can’t wait to do the same here in Australia through our partnership with BRG.”

The launch further powers the BRG’s multi-brand strategy, to appeal to different audiences with different experience needs, and follows the acquisition of Adrenaline only six months ago.

IfOnly joins RedBalloon,Adrenaline, Marketics(Albert AI) and Redii, cementing the group’s position as the largest online aggregator of experiences in Australia, and third largest globally (Hitwise 2018). As a $100m business and experiences market leader, BRG has also unveiled a new research report detailing the depth and opportunity of the ‘Experience Economy’ in Australia.

BRG releases whitepaper: ‘The Experience Economy: Riding a rising tide’

In response to the explosion of experiences both locally and globally, the BRG has released a whitepaper, The ‘Experience Economy’: Riding a rising tide.

Simson is mindful that the ‘Experience Economy’ has evolved significantly in the 20+ years since the phrase was first coined.

“As leaders in the experience space, we felt it was crucial to interrogate what the ‘Experience Economy’ stands for in 2019 and beyond, particularly in the Australian market. The ‘Experience Economy’ is in no doubt growing but it is also ‘growing up’,” Ms Simson said.

“The paper is a deep dive into demographic trends, the role of social media, brand loyalty, and how fintech developments and AI are shifting the expectations of the modern consumer.”

Key Facts

  • BRG was founded in July 2017 by Naomi Simson and David Anderson
  • BRG brands have served more than five million experiences
  • Collectively, BRG brands represent more than 3,000 experience partners and more than 7,000 experiences across Australia and New Zealand
  • BRG has served more than 600,000 experiences in FY19, with the vision of serving an experience every second somewhere on earth by 2025
  • Annual traffic to the BRG online experience brands has reached 10 million (Hitwise).

* CMV causes more long-term problems and childhood deaths than Down Syndrome, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, and neural tube defects. However, only 9 per cent of women know about CMV and fewer know about simple steps to take to reduce the chance of acquiring an infection during pregnancy. The preventative public health campaign being funded by Naomi Simson and IfOnly will increase awareness of Congenital CMV by educating pregnant women about the simple steps they can take to reduce the risk of infection and help prevent permanent disabilities in children.

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