Freo's View


Posted in fremantle, giant puppets, piaf, royale de luxe by freoview on February 16, 2015


I copy the comments by WAToday reporter Brendan Foster on the PR debacle the Perth International Arts Festival-PIAF made out of the river journey of the Giant Puppets:

Bugger me; there WERE supersized puppets on the Swan River near Fremantle late on Sunday.

In the end it was almost impossible to hide the monstrous marionettes as they weaved their way on a barge down the waterway to the port city.

Yet, for some inexplicable reason the crew at the Perth International Arts Festival last Thursday didn’t want to tell the wee giant – The Little Girl – and The Diver would make their farewell trip via Fremantle. Even after we spied a newspaper ad confirming the puppets would be at the East Street Jetty around 5pm, PIAF still denied it.

But why? Why would PIAF try to pull the wool over the eyes of potential marionette moochers, when thousands lined the riverbanks on Sunday afternoon to get a glimpse of the puppets from French company Royale de Luxe.

And dozens of people took to Facebook to post pictures of the puppets heading to the port city.

If I was managing public relations for an arts organisation, I would’ve thought this level of exposure was gold.

Maybe the good folk at PIAF thought portsiders would pinch the puppets, given their local footy team the Dockers lack a decent tall?

Or was PIAF worried if portsiders knew the puppets were heading their way, they wouldn’t make the rare trip across Fremantle Bridge to see them?

According to Main Roads, The Giants had more than 1.4 million visits over the three days they sauntered through the streets of Perth.

Kudos to PIAF for recognising the event would resonate with Perth audiences but they missed a trick by not letting us know the puppets would be barging their way to Fremantle.


It was strange indeed as this Freo’s View blog was the first to publish this after hearing it late on Wednesday afternoon on the ABC Radio Drive program with John McGlue. I received an email from Brendan Foster of WAToday, who had read my blog post, to ask if my story was correct because PIAF had denied it was happening. I got calls from the City of Fremantle if I could delete the blog post because PIAF was worried about getting a large crowd at the jetty and they had not allowed for that with security. I also received emails and comments on Facebook telling me I had spread untrue rumours, but I hadn’t!

Luckily people believed my blog post and the WAToday story and came to the Swan river and the Freo East Street jetty, where the barge with the larger than life marionettes arrived at 2.45 pm.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S VIEW had over 2,700 hits on Sunday!

8 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on February 18, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks Tom. Much appreciated!



  2. Tom Griffiths said, on February 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Hello all,

    In response to “Steve’s” pondering, the Fremantle Story website is the content hub for an integrated digitial marketing strategy that includes social media platforms. It is important to understand that there are other elements to it. Average weekly figures are:
    Website: 6,000 unique visitors per week
    Facebook: 50,000 average weekly reach
    Twitter: 115,000 average weekly exposure.

    There was no information on the Giants as they were not featuring in Fremantle.


  3. Jayne said, on February 17, 2015 at 10:48 am

    So true Steve. Roel is the go to for local news and the stories behind the spin. I was one of those checking in to this page to try to find out about the giants.


  4. Julie Matheson said, on February 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Local Govt. and Subiaco.


  5. Steve said, on February 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    2,700 hits?!? Roel that’s awesome. I wonder how many hits the City of Freo gets in their Fremantle Story page? (likely far less) Your blog is essentially the default ‘what’s on in freo’ guide. You need to be monetizing this asset of yours – happy to help if you’d like.


  6. marklw067 said, on February 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Look like their where trying to maximize the crowds in Perth and the achieved it hats of the group who organised it, when i first read about it, I couldn’t see it being that big an attraction.
    Great weather, a family day out, Best city in the world, a big attraction, great crowds job well done all around.

    Would have a great shot to have the giants walking up High St to the Round House


  7. Colin Nichol said, on February 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Plainly Perth didn’t want Fremantle to steal any of their thunder although they seem to think Fremantle is Perth anyway.


  8. spencertive said, on February 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I think it would also diminish the illusion of them being alive, watching their ‘lifeless’ bodies craned onto a flat bed truck and driven away.

    I went for a final look as I found myself saddened at their leaving and I wanted to see them one more time. I wasn’t surprised by the thousands that thought the same, but I also wish I hadn’t. Better to have seen and remembered them in their true persona, walking, breathing and dancing. I think the sight of so many crying children displayed the same feeling.

    Such a wonderful, magical and graceful pair. They touched us all and now they have gone to charm and inspire others.

    Lucky them!


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