This month Ben Southall, the winning applicant of The Best Job in the World, officially assumes his duties as the Caretaker of a group of islands off the coast of Queensland, which includes maintaining a weekly video blog. By now you have heard about the massively successful marketing campaign put on by the Australian government to raise global awareness about the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and attract more tourists to this breathlessly beautiful region (lets hope it stays that way).
Tourism Queensland broke the story via traditional media and then sustained the buzz through social networks including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. The web site for the contest received a million hits the day after its launch. By the time the campaign was done it had attracted 34,684 applicants from 201 countries and generated over $150 million worth of international publicity (including a BBC documentary), all on a $1.2 million budget. Watch the video above for the full case study.
Although similar in concept to the ING Direct Professional Fan campaign launched last year to increase people’s engagement with Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso, this was nevertheless brilliantly executed by CumminsNitro which recently won three Grand Prix awards at this 2009 Cannes Advertising Festival.
I like this campaign as a good example of a smart integrated marketing strategy. It doesn’t hurt that Tourism Queensland has a great product to promote (who wouldn’t love to visit paradise) but they didn’t decide to just run full page ads in Traveller magazine or ask Tony Wheeler to blog about it on Lonely Planet, no, the The Best Job in the World combined both old and new media channels in an extremely effective manner. Each element of the campaign had its part to play but what really made this smart was facilitating real people to help tell the story: first through video responses (over 600 hours of user-generated content) and then ongoing engagement via branded social media pages (e.g. Facebook). This in turn created a viral phenomenon so compelling that mainstream media outlets had to cover it (free publicity). And it was done without sex or shock! Imagine that.