MySwitzerland social media video – funny, very clever, but does it boost visitor numbers?

Tourism Queensland discovered that it takes more than the gushing of the advertising industry to ensure a high profile marketing campaign was actually worthwhile.

Launching in early-2009, unfortunately just as the global economic crisis kicked in, Best Job in the World and its various offshoots captured the imagination of marketers for its cross-platform approach and original idea, but visitor numbers to the Australian state did not mirror the enormous praise it received in numerous quarters.

Which is a shame.

But it does beg the question as to whether so-called innovative marketing campaigns, which are said to hit potential consumers in many channels and get huge mainstream media attention, actually make a significant difference compared to “traditional” methods such as long-term efforts through PPC, SEO, above-the-line advertising and others?

A relatively recent viral from MySwitzerland, the consumer-facing website from the Swiss tourism authorities, is called Holidays Without Internet and is, once again, a prime example of a campaign which captured the attention of many blogs, marketers outside of the travel industry and consumers.

First of all, the premise of what looks initially like a promotional video is funny – two elderly farmers from the sticks visit a Swiss town on their tractor, but just when the viewer thinks the clip will focus on stereotypes of a demographic not in tune with the web, both men walk into a cafe and open up their Apple notebooks.

Immediately, the pair start talking via the chat tools on Facebook, making quips about the inevitably rather attractive waitress and if she’ll become a “friend”.

And then the clever bit starts.

The men invite the viewer to connect with them on Facebook. If the viewer agrees (the two men wait patiently for the user to click the Facebook Connect button)

Once connected, the farmers start looking around the user’s Facebook profile…

Checking how many “friends” a user has…

And browsing through the image pages…

Before uncovering the most brutal element of the whole thing – how much time the user spends on Facebook every day (tapping into the API). Which leads nicely into the point of the campaign: the user should be getting away from the internet and enjoying some piece and quiet…

Clearly the cleverest part of the entire campaign is the integration of the user’s Facebook content into the film. It’s very slick and smartly done.

But back to the question: would the user be compelled to research more on the MySwitzerland website to find out where those out-of-digital-reach places are?

Possibly – but not guaranteed. What is most likely is the user would simply send on the link to try it out to their friends or share, inevitably, on Facebook.

NB: For the record, the author does NOT spend 2.67 hours a day on Facebook – just leaves the window open to monitor the Tnooz Fan Page 🙂

NB2: MySwitzerland was showcased at the ENTER2012 conference in Helsingborg, Sweden.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Goelitz Carole

    May I know the budget of this social media campaign, that I really loved and which agency did it. Thank you in advance

  2. Lara

    Very funny, very clever… I might even be tempted to go to Switzerland. Maybe not this year… but one day, and this promotion will stick in the back of my mind.

  3. John Hazlewood

    I have to say have not been that impressed in a long time. That is very innovative and whoever is responsible for that should win an award for most creative social video if such a category exists. Well done!

  4. Reinhard Lanner

    I really like the story and the way and the quality how it is delivered. 100% agree to Joe that this is a case study for the how to in social media.
    Thx Urs for sharing some results – impressive numbers. It would be interesting how much of the 48 mio sfr summer campaign budget went into digital media but I do not know if this can be mentioned here.
    Somehow I get more and more critical about ” advertising campaigns” in social media channels. What are people really searching for during their holiday planning? Campaigns or information? The campaign above – like similar other campaignes – hardly guarantee a significant increase on arrival numbers. But it contributes to the image of switzerland, in a very compelling and charming way.

    • Urs Eberhard

      The Facebook activity did actually not cost too much. We are very careful to apply an integrated marketing approach. This also applies to the summer campaign. We invite hundreds of media representatives and TV crews to report about Switzerland, we work on tour operators and travel agencies to program and sell more Switzerland product, we educate travel agents, we use eMarketing tools, have a quite successful website with many functionalities and top offers (, use social media to get the message out and also use some traditional promotional tools such as TV spots, posters, supplements, mailings and advertisements. But a large junk of our summer budget is attributed to staff and offices world wide. Tourism remains a people’s business and some of our most important assets are the personal networks in the markets. You can use agencies for placing ads and buying media and coming up with great and creative ideas but you cannot outsource the personal contact and the personal network of our people in the markets and their knowledge who to call…..
      Here are some of our key performance figures for the summer 2011:
      Participants media trips: >700
      Media contacts: 3.7 billion
      Marketing contacts: 2.8 billion
      Brochures, supplements, flyers and mailings: 22 million visits: 11.7 million
      I am not able to share the financial share though, but also here it is obvious that the traditional promotions are the most costly instruments and the media work and eMarketing the most affordable ones.

  5. Joe Buhler

    Since the campaign – which I consider one of the more innovative recent social web marketing efforts by a DMO – ran a few months ago, the folks at Switzerland Tourism might have some results they can share.

    Drawing a straight line from it to visitor numbers is a somewhat of a stretch, but then that applies to most destination marketing campaigns. What I do know, is that the two characters, real Swiss farmers by the way, were featured in other on- and offline campaigns so the cumulative effect must have had at least some impact on visitor numbers in the markets where it ran.

    • Urs Eberhard

      Some figures I can share, show a strong increase in traffic and eventually in bookings:

      400’000 visits on the micro site
      Average: 7‘000 visits / day
      180’000 calls for the movie
      55‘000 new MySwitzerland ‘Likes’ on Facebook
      50‘000 people installed the app
      20’000 participants at sweepstake

      Winners were even accompanied by TV teams (e.g. Germany and Italy) and reports about them spending a full week without access to the Internet reached several million TV viewers.

      • Kevin May

        Kevin May

        @urs – hey, thanks for contributing with the data. Some impressive results from the campaign there.


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