ben southall
1835 days ago
 

Best Job in the World PR campaign – ten months on

Best Job in the World PR campaign – ten months on
Tourism Queensland is still revelling in the praise from a kowtowing advertising and PR industry for its offline-online-social media push earlier this year.
The eventual winner of the Best Job in the World “competition” – Brit Ben Southall – is two thirds of the way through his tenure on Hamilton Island and coverage in the mainstream media, blogs and social media channels continues.
Those behind the project deserve the gushing of their peers – most notably at the second place at the Cannes Lions ad festival behind the Barack Obama election campaign – for almost single-handedly writing a new rule book for how to manipulate and prod the media into covering what was actually a rather simple idea.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the whole saga is that it seems unlikely that the buzz would have reached the extent it did if it had run in just a handful of media channels, such as TV, newspapers and online.
Using established online platforms such as YouTube (for the entry process) and Twitter (for instant communication) alongside the broadcast and mainstream media literally put the competition in the faces of the target audience.
TW European regional director Jane Nicholson told open-mouthed delegates at a session during World Travel Market in London that the campaign budget was a paltry A$ 1.2 million but the media coverage equated to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, Nicholson curiously avoided during her session discussing what many were really thinking: okay, love the campaign, happy for you to bask in the limelight of adland, but how many additional people are landing at Queensland’s airports as a result your efforts.
We have some early figures which Nicholson provided to us via email following the event.
Eager, quite rightly, to point out that long haul travel has taken a significant hit this year as a result of the global economic situation, Nicholson says TQ has “outperformed” the rest of the Australia and is only down 2.3% year-on-year in visitor numbers in June 2009 compared to 4% nationwide.
[NB: Travel blog Jaunted says (without attribution) there is an 8% drop to in visits to Australia this year. It doesn’t have Queensland state figures]
The total number of visitors to Queensland in the year to June 2009 was two million, with an average of a 2% increase in spend.
The youth and budget market, however, is where perhaps the impressive results can be found.
STA Travel says it experienced 17% growth year-on-year in bookings to Queensland in the period February to April 2009 (when the campaign was at its most intense).
Austravel claims similar positive growth in Queensland-led holidays. Both companies attribute the increase to the Best Job campaign.
Back to the campaign and Southall.
The “caretaker” has a few months left to go of his tenure on-site. After getting criticised for his lack of blogging in the early days, he is now posting regularly.
So while there may be some disappointment that Southall’s bizarre journey didn’t send a massive influx of visitors flocking to Queensland, figures from those creating holidays for the core market the Best Job campaign was aimed at indicate some success.

ben southallTourism Queensland is still revelling in the praise from a kowtowing advertising and PR industry for its offline-online-social media push earlier this year.

The eventual winner of the Best Job in the World “competition” – Brit Ben Southall – is two thirds of the way through his tenure on Hamilton Island and coverage in the mainstream media, blogs and social media channels continues.

Those behind the project deserve the gushing of their peers – most notably with the second place at the Cannes Lions ad festival behind the Barack Obama election campaign – for almost single-handedly writing a new rule book for how to manipulate and prod the media into covering what was actually a rather simple idea.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the whole saga is that it seems unlikely that the buzz would have reached the extent it did if it had run in just a handful of media channels, such as TV, newspapers and online.

Using established online platforms such as YouTube (for the entry process) and Twitter (for instant communication) alongside the broadcast and mainstream media literally put the competition in the faces of the target audience.

TQ European regional director Jane Nicholson told open-mouthed delegates at a session during World Travel Market in London that the campaign budget was a paltry A$ 1.2 million but the media coverage equated to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, Nicholson curiously avoided during her session discussing what many were really thinking: okay, love the campaign, happy for you to bask in the limelight of adland, but how many additional people are landing at Queensland’s airports as a result your efforts.

We have some early figures which Nicholson provided to us via email following the event.

Eager, quite rightly, to point out that long haul travel has taken a significant hit this year as a result of the global economic situation, Nicholson says TQ has “outperformed” the rest of the Australia and is only down 2.3% year-on-year in visitor numbers in June 2009 compared to 4% nationwide.

[NB: Travel blog Jaunted says (without attribution) there is an 8% drop to in visits to Australia this year. It doesn’t have Queensland state figures]

The total number of visitors to Queensland in the year to June 2009 was two million, with an average of a 2% increase in spend.

The youth and budget market, however, is where perhaps the impressive results can be found.

STA Travel says it experienced 17% growth year-on-year in bookings to Queensland in the period February to April 2009 (when the campaign was at its most intense).

Austravel claims similar positive growth in Queensland-led holidays. Both companies attribute the increase to the Best Job campaign.

Back to the campaign and Southall.

The “caretaker” has a few months left to go of his tenure on-site. After getting criticised for his lack of blogging in the early days, he is now posting regularly.

So while there may be some disappointment that Southall’s bizarre journey didn’t send a massive influx of visitors flocking to Queensland, figures from those creating holidays for the core market the Best Job campaign was aimed at indicate some success.

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  1. Best Job in the World PR campaign - one year on for the blogging brief | Tnooz

    [...] The question for the officials behind the project in terms of new visitors and awareness was addressed in part at the nine-month stage of the campaign. [...]

     
  2. Finland creates new visitor portal, launches campaign based on wacky stereotype | Tnooz

    [...] promotion in the hope that it will be another stroke of viral marketing genius along the line of the Best Job campaign in Queensland, [...]

     
  3. kathryn

    Good point, I was really curious if it was really helpful to the travel agency, though I’m not too sure if you could ever really know. Did you hear about the “new” best job contest? It’s held by some price comparison/shopping website called LetsBuyIt. Anyone in the world can enter, and it’s pretty similar to the original contest (ie: post on-line video, winner will have to write a blog), except its for shopping around the world, not on a deserted island (which isnt so bad either). I wonder if they’ll have the same effect as the Queensland contest…

     
  4. Simon

    Thanks for answering the questions Jane. You made the decision on the 6th May and the programme was broadcast on the 2nd July, so it was less than two months later, although I’m not quite sure of the relevance of this.

    You talk about the “skills” required as though you were recruiting a brain surgeon. Surely out of 35,000 applicants you could have found more than one with the required “skills” to do the job? Then throwing the final six to a public vote might have resulted in a winner who was slightly more popular.

    I think part of the problem is that much was made of blogging and social media part of the role and this is where Ben has appeared to struggle.

     
  5. Jane Nicholson

    The BBC documentary followed the personal experiences of the candidates who made it through to the final 50 – this had a focus on the UK candidates (being a British show) but it also followed the Irish, 2 Australian and Malaysian candidates, plus all of the final 16. It was broadcast in July, several months after the decision on successful candidate had been made and in no way did it influence the outcome. We did bring voting in to one stage of the campaign – ie when we announced the Top 50 candidates and we asked the public to vote for their favourite. We did not consider choosing the eventual successful candidate by public vote – we are an employer, this is a paid job and of course there are skills required to undertake the job. A 3 day interview was conducted on Hamilton Island with a panel of both TQ and an external agency which was designed for us to ensure the successful candidate did have all the skills we were looking for.

     
  6. Jussi Huotari’s Web » Best Job in the World – a Success?

    [...] May wrote an insightful “ten months later” analysis at tnooz.com. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the whole saga is that it seems unlikely that the buzz [...]

     
  7. Simon

    Hi Jane
    I’d be interested to know if the hour-long documentary on BBC1 in any way influenced the choice of the eventual winner. Did the BBC impose any caveats in return for their involvement? Also, did you consider putting the winner to a public vote?

     
  8. Jane Nicholson

    I thought I’d just add that the campaign has achieved AUD$398 million worth of PR globally. Here in the UK it has achieved AUD$89 million to date – including an hour long documentary on BBC1!

     
  9. Jane Nicholson

    Like Jeremy, I would have welcomed more time for questions and would have been happy to have had time to talk about conversion.

    There’s no denying we launched the campaign at a time when many key markets for international tourism to Australia were in the midst of global crisis and this impacted on long haul travel generally, not just Down Under. Australia and Queensland “weathered the storm” better than forecast and, yes, with the latest IVS stats available to compare from the UK market, Queensland arrivals performed better than the national stats. US arrivals to Queensland were up 15% for the same period YOY.

    Remember too that many people plan their trips to Australia 6-12 months ahead of travel, so you won’t yet see the full impact of the campaign.

    As I explained, the key reason we ran with Best Job in the World was to drive visitors to Queensland and a whole series of tactical activity was developed to leverage from the “noise” we created – all with “best” themes: Best Holiday in the World, Best Adventure in the World, Best Diving, Best Sailing, Best Honeymoon. Another example, where fantastic conversion was achieved, was with a Nordic campaign which went live on the day we announced who the successful candidate for the Best Job in the World was, where partner tour operators booked 5000 pax in just 3 days!

    UK tour operators report strong sales during the key booking months of September and October for Queensland and the forecasters predict growth from the UK market in 2010.

    We strongly believe that Best Job in the World will have positively influenced consumer decision making for some time to come and will continue to have positive impact on visitor numbers to Queensland.

     
  10. maria

    In my opinion, the campaign could be a completely success or not depending on their goal.

    If their goal was branding, it’s a success, now everyone know about the island!

    If their goal was to increase a 10% the tourism on the island, it’s not a success…

    This should have a good conversion but maybe not in 2 months, maybe the campaign is a long term inversion.

     
  11. Simon

    It’s been a huge success, it’s just a shame a little more thought wasn’t put into the role itself. To have somebody in that role pull it off needed someone the public had a huge affinity for, which doesn’t seem to be the case for Ben.

    It was hard for him because if he’d gone “look at me, life of Riley, etc.” he would have received criticism. Instead he went down the route of “it’s not that easy, really” and just got flak for whinging.

    The failure of the role to really work means they will have difficulty doing the whole thing again. I just think they missed a trick in not allowing the public to vote for the winner.

     
  12. Joe Buhler

    We will learn more about this social media viral campaign on Wednesday at the PhoCusWright Conference workshop conducted by Chris Chambers of Tourism Queensland. Personally I am of the opinion that it is too early to judge this kind of campaign and to look at it in isolation. The media attention it received is of a dollar value that no DMO could have been able to purchase on the advertising market. The effect would have been less impressive there too. TQ has my vote for innovation and for trying new ways of creating interest for their destination in very trying circumstances rather than taking the beaten path.

     
  13. links for 2009-11-16 «

    [...] Best Job in the World PR campaign – ten months on Tnooz [...]

     
  14. Jeremy Head

    Yep. Totally agree. I was struck that Jane said right at the beginning of her presentation that ‘Conversion, conversion, conversion’ was the mantra, the focus. Had I not been on the same podium I’d have asked that one too if we had had time for questions! She did say that 100,000 people signed up for the QT newsletter too… which is certainly quite impressive. I do wonder about the longer term benefits. Would the cash have been better spent nurturing and building an online community of people planning to go to Queensland? I’d love to know what the traffic to Ben’s blog is these days… there are not many comments on there.

     
  15. Tweets that mention Best Job in the World PR campaign – ten months on | Tnooz -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin May, Tourism Currents. Tourism Currents said: From @kevinlukemay on Tnooz – Best Job in the World PR campaign – ten months on http://bit.ly/glsNQ [...]

     
 
 

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