If you don't know already I live in Devon. It's an awesome part of the world but I often find myself thinking about the marketing that gets done to promote the region to the wider world. The destination marketing often centres the staple messages of beaches, moors and cream teas galore. All very well and good you might say, but could this message be better packaged?
Well, if you want the complete destination marketing experience, take a look at South Australia. Yes, it is an area which is over 10k miles (as the crow flies) from Devonshire but it's an area which does a truly outstanding job at creatively promoting itself.
Thumbs Up to Down Under
Sydney and Melbourne. The two cities which you can almost guarantee any Brit that heads down under will be visiting. As amazing as these cities are, the bright lights of these two places seems to suck tourists away from many of the other extraordinary places which Australia has to offer the budding tourist.
But what about Adelaide for example? The 5th largest city in Australia and the capital of the southern region boasts a population of 1.2 million people, but could you place it on a map?
If you Google the city you'll see that people have finally begun to twig that it's not all about the Sydney and Melbourne. It's been voted one of the world's Top 10 Cities by Lonely Planet for 2014 and in their words it's 'Like a perfectly cellared red, this effortlessly chic city is ready to be uncorked and sampled'.
With it's stunning coastline, vineyards, culture and countryside plus all manner of amazing animals (wallabies, kangaroos, wombats to name a few) there are plenty of reasons to visit. It reminds me of Devon, with better weather. It's not as though South Australia's assets have just appeared from nowhere; but one of the reasons for the upsurge of interest is their very cool destination marketing competitions which have offered some pretty incredible prizes.
The Best Job in the World
Looking back to 2009 the state of Queensland ran the 'Best Job in the World' competition. This offered one very lucky winner a chance to spend 6 months living in a luxury villa, exploring and publicising the region to the wider world. Oh and there was a salary of AU$150,000 dollars.
The biggest winner though was Queensland itself. The competition generated over 35,000 applications from over 200 countries. Each applicant was required to enter a compelling video, and so you had 35k pieces of content right there to spread the message. Not to mention the social media activity, word of mouth and general publicity surrounding the campaign. And that's even before the winner, Ben Southall, touched down in Australia. All in all it generated $70 million in publicity, by spending only US$1m. That's a good ROI.
The Best Job in the World - Take 2
Tourism Australia capitalised on the model. Over the start of 2013 it launched a new competition involving the state tourism organisations and created 6 diverse jobs across 6 different states to attract young tourists to Oz. Take a look at the original campaign video:
Whether you wanted to be 'Chief Funster' in New South Wales, or an 'Outback Adventurer' in the Northern Territories, the campaign was another major success. It attracted 612,000 entries from 339,000 people in 196 countries. Big numbers indeed. You can read more about the campaign here.
Not only did the initial competition draw in massive worldwide publicity, the successful candidates were then able to spread the message further by documenting their adventures on their own personal blogs and social media pages.
One of the guys I've been following is Greg Snell, who won the position of 'Wildlife Caretaker' in South Australia. With over 4.5k Facebook likes, 1,800 Twitter followers and 6.5k Instagram followers, Greg has been showcasing the exceptional landscapes and animals that SA has to offer. It looks amazing and if you want to see what he's been up to then have a watch of this video:
With each of the 'Best Job in the World' winners doing this sort of thing in their respective regions, Tourism Australia has truly had some great influencers to promote the country. Since running the competition australia.com saw a 234% year on year increase in traffic in March 2013, and a futher 130,000 people opted in to receive more information from Tourism Australia. There are a whole host of other impressive stats if you watch the video on this page here.
So, heading back to Adelaide the South Australian tourism department has decided to remodel and relaunch the competition once again for 2014; this time called the 'Mentor Me' campaign.
Aimed at the 18-30 demographic, 8, 1 month long paid internships were on offer covering everything from roles as diverse as 'Assistant Shark Scientist' to an 'Exhibition Intern' at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Run in conjunction with STA Travel, it again looks like it's been a hugely successful campaign. With the winners starting their roles in September they will soon be sharing their experiences with the rest of the world. What they get up to exactly, you'll just have to wait and see.
All in all though, it's easy to see why Adelaide along with the rest of Australia is firmly putting itself centre stage as an ideal destination.
Back in Devon
Back in the rolling hills of Devon I can understand that the West Country doesn't have quite the same appeal as heading to Australia. But the campaigns that were run there did get me thinking. Could something like this not be launched to promote the West Country?
There are a whole array of roles which could be promoted to give the region a boost. Everything from people the surf scene to moorland rangers, artistic interns in St. Ives or working with some of our top chefs. Not only would the initial competition generate publicity it gives the area winners who become dedicated ambassadors for the region.
If you know of any other fantastic tourism campaigns that really make you want to grab a suitcase and fly away then stick your thoughts in a comment below.