Monday, June 29, 2009

"Best Job in the World" as successful social media

Interesting discussion today in The Australian about Tourism Queensland's "Best Job in the World" campaign for Hamilton Island, and how to get value for money for promotional campaigns using social media.

TOURISM Queensland has massively outstripped the performance of Tourism Australia's $40million sponsorship of Baz Lurhman's movie Australia, despite being run on a budget of just $1.7m, according to the chairman of Tourism Queensland.

The Best Job in the World advertising campaign set a new record at the Cannes International Advertising Festival last week when it took an unprecedented three Grand Prixs for public relations, direct advertising and cyber websites.

Tourism Queensland chairman Don Morris said the campaign had evolved into a case study on how to use emerging social media and keep taxpayer funding of such campaigns to a minimum.

"No one has done this as a simple business story," Mr Morris told Media. "This is a seriously interesting case study of how to use social media.

"Tourism Australia put $40m into the Australia movie and it is ranked something like 469. The Queensland government put $1m and partners another $700,000 into the Best Job campaign."

By the end of the campaign last month, when 34-year-old charity events organiser Ben Southall was named the winner, the campaign had outstripped Tourism Queensland's wildest expectations.

More than 34,000 entries from almost 200 countries were submitted and media coverage about the campaign has been valued at more than $200m. At the same time, an estimated three billion people have been exposed to the campaign.

The campaign, which began with simple press ads in newspaper classifieds looking for applicants for The Best Job in the World -- being a caretaker on Hamilton Island for six months -- used websites, YouTube and was an extension of the government's existing Islands of the Barrier Reef campaign.

Mr Morris said that the campaign had attracted attention by offering an experience money can't buy. "It was a hook to gain media and consumer interest," he said.

Mr Morris said while the campaign had been launched in one of Tourism Queensland's core target markets, the UK, it has transcended international boundaries by bringing a massive return on investment in Europe, North America and south east Asia where travel partners such as airlines offered special deals linked to the campaign.

Hamilton Island has already benefited with increased tourist numbers and Amway Australia choosing it as the destination for its 2010 conference.

Last month, Amway Australia general manager Michial Coldwell said publicity surrounding Best Job had tipped the balance in Hamilton Island's favour.

Mr Morris said interest in the outcome of the promotion was so high 22 international and domestic media crews attended the announcement of the winner on Hamilton Island.

He said one of the reasons the campaign attracted so much attention was the simplicity of the core message.

"The whole world gets obsessed about segmentation with tourism," he said. "But you just have to find the right button to press. It hit that button with the universal appeal of The Best Job in the World.

"It trebled the press coverage of the G20 conference in Sydney and the only comparable reference point online was day one of the soccer World Cup. This is really about how to be smart with taxpayers' money."

For information about how Tourism Queensland did it, see here.

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