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 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 is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has 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, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.