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Uncle Tobys Oats Energy Exchange Cafe

The Brief

UNCLE TOBYS Oats has fuelled Australian families for over 100 years. To stay relevant with their existing customer base, as well as resonate with a new generation, the brand repositioned as the ‘Natural Energy Company’, focusing on partnering with everyday Australians & their energy needs. FORWARD was briefed to bring the ‘energy exchange’ messaging to life in a way that was easy to understand, engaging and interactive for consumers, all based on the principle that the fuel you put in, creates the energy you put out. The activation had to work as a stand-alone, with no paid media support.


The Insight

Australians burn energy every day, but not just through high intensity fitness. Much of it is incidental energy that people don’t realise they are burning – from cleaning, cooking and walking the dog, to carrying groceries and playing with the kids. Combined, Aussies take over 115 trillion steps a day.

Additionally, over 90% of Australians have smart phones, smart watches or fitness trackers that can track the energy they expend.


Strategic Solution

To bring the energy messaging to life, and connect the fuel in vs energy out in consumers’ minds, the world’s first UNCLE TOBYS Oats Energy Exchange Café was created. The concept café was the first place where customers could exchange the energy they’d expended, through steps, for a bespoke menu of oat inspired dishes that showed the versatility of oats. The menu was designed to appeal to a broad range of consumers and featured simple meals from porridge topped with fruit, oaty banana bread and protein balls, to turmeric porridge with poached egg & crispy chick peas, and blue algae smoothie bowls topped with granola.


Tactical Highlights

Rolling out the campaign over three phases in a short space of time allowed us to generate strong interest and momentum.


Phase One – Announcement

To get consumers engaged and excited about the café, FORWARD engaged fitness influencer and TV personality Tim Robards to talk about energy and his involvement in the café on his social channels. The team also conducted targeted media outreach to ‘what’s on’ media and lifestyle channels, to showcase what would be on offer at the café and how the concept worked.

Phase Two – Launch

On launch day, Tim Robards officially open the café, engaged with customers and media, and took part in media interviews on site.

During the activation, Olympian Bronte Campbell was also on site to engage with consumers, talk about energy, share her expertise and pose for photos in a social media gif machine with those queueing to get in.

Phase Three – Post Activation

Following the activation, FORWARD identified an opportunity for UNCLE TOBYS to talk to the wider nation through a piece of research into consumer energy, through which we revealed how Aussies are low on energy which is leading to a slump in productivity during the day.

The Results

  • 2,500+ people served in three days
  • Over 13 million steps exchanged
  • 50 pieces of coverage
  • 158 consumer social posts
  • Media OTS 9.5 million
  • Social OTS 2 million
  • Coverage included: Studio 10, Concrete Playground, 9Coach, 9Kitchen, KIIS, WSFM, Body+Soul, Better Homes & Gardens
  • Winner 2019 Public Relations Institute of Australia Golden Target Awards – Best Experiential Activation
  • Highly Commended 2019 CommsCon – PR Led Activation


To help Sydney overcome its energy slump, The Uncle Tobys Oats Energy Exchange Café was a world first idea to turn the steps people collect on their fitness trackers and smartphones into a ‘currency’ that could be exchanged for items on a delicious oats based menu at a brand created café.


Uncle Tobys