Australian Government celebrates teachers’ mementos and stories behind them in new exhibition and campaign via Clemenger BBDO


Australia is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage. The Federal Government projects a shortfall of more than 4000 high school teachers by 2025, with shortages extending across the board–according to one report from the Department of Education. To combat this shortage, Clemenger BBDO has launched a new national content-led campaign across social platforms, cinema, OOH, television, and PR—celebrating the unparalleled impact that teachers can have, both on the lives of students and on their own.


The campaign is centred around an exhibition of objects. The exhibition showcases real mementos from students that teachers have kept throughout their careers. The mementos range from the expected—heartfelt letters and ‘thank you’ cards to the less expected—a star named for a teacher.

Eight films created as part of the campaign were directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Christopher Nelius and show teachers from around Australia as they share the stories behind their most cherished mementos. After telling their stories, the teachers visit an exhibition space to place their mementos amongst others from teachers around Australia. Each film ends with a simple but inspiring call to action, asking viewers to ‘Be That Teacher’.

Australian Government celebrates teachers’ mementos and stories behind them in new exhibition and campaign via Clemenger BBDO Australian Government celebrates teachers’ mementos and stories behind them in new exhibition and campaign via Clemenger BBDO

One film tells the story of South Australian teacher Stacy Frogley and her former student, Izzy. Izzy has sacral agenesis—a rare congenital disorder that over time has left her unable to walk. After Mrs Frogley suggested to Izzy that she may enjoy swimming, the student went on to become a Silver Medal-winning Paralympian for Australia. At the end of her interview, Mrs Frogley is surprised by Izzy, who flew interstate to take part in the exhibition between swimming events—so passionate is she about the impact the teacher has had on her life.

Through social media, teachers around Australia are being invited to take part in the exhibition by sharing further stories. These stories will be published across social channels as well as on a content hub at

Says Dijanna Ratajkoski, assistant secretary, communication – people, parliamentary, communication division at Australian Government Department of Education: “This campaign is an important part of the work the Australian, state and territory governments are undertaking to attract and retain teachers. While I knew the teachers that feature in the advertising had great stories to share, I wasn’t expecting the emotional and uplifting journey they took me on. I’m really excited to see what the response is.”

Says Tristan Graham, executive creative director, Clemenger BBDO: “You don’t really have to “sell” teaching. You just have to get out of the way and let teachers tell their stories. That’s when it becomes very clear that teaching is more than just a job, it’s a chance to fundamentally change young people’s lives for the better–and who wouldn’t want to do that?”

Be That Teacher launches on 1st November and will run for up to 12 months.

Client: Australian Government Department of Education

Creative Agency: Clemenger BBDO
Executive Creative Director – Tristan Graham
Creative Director – Toby Kennedy
Creative Director – Brodie King
Art Director – Esther Parsons
Craft Designer – Sebastian Sarria
National Traffic Manager – Karen Kushinsky
Strategy Partner – Mike Ronkoske
Managing Director – Julian Bell
Group Business Director – Theresa White
Senior Business Manager – Lauren Mayne
Business Manager – Tom von Stieglitz
Executive Producer: Karolina Bozajkovska
Senior TV Producer: Alana Teasdale
Senior Editor: Jennifer Cahir
Executive Director Digital – Claire Bisset
Finished Art – Sam Tsui
Retoucher – Mike McCall

Production Company: FINCH
Director: Christopher Nelius
Executive Producer: Corey Esse
Producer: Jackie Adler
DOP: Matt Toll

Casting: Mackintosh Casting
Casting Director: Mel Mackintosh
Casting Associate: Pat McAuliffe
Editorial & Finish: ARC EDIT
Offline Editors:  Graeme Pereira & Phil Horn
Online Editor: Viv Baker
Colourist: Ben Eagleton
Executive Producer: Daniel Fry
Producer: Kani Saib

Sound Production: Bang Bang Studios
Engineer:  Sam Hopgood
Producer: Polly McGregor & Holli Dee

Music: Massive Music
Composer:  Haydn Walker
Producer: Luci Roe

Ryan Wheatley – Photographer
Kamilla Musland  – Photographer Assistant