How to market Australia

Or more specifically, the Great Barrier Reef.

This contest is one of the best marketing ideas I’ve ever come across.  Here’s why it works so well:

  1. It makes everyone obsess over the destination. Before this, I’d never really considered going to the Great Barrier Reef.  I’ve always wanted to travel around Australia, but I never thought much about the GBR.  Now I’m looking at pictures of it, seeing how beautiful it is, and actually doing research on what it’s like.  One of the more brilliant requirements in the application process is that you have to prove your knowledge of the GBR.  So think of the thousands of people who are taking time out of their day to willingly learn as much as they can about it and then parroting that information in their video.
  2. The prize is extremely remarkable. Therefore, it’s worth talking about.  The “wow” factor is that the winner will be paid a very large sum of money to just have a blast in the GBR for six months.  The money they’ll spend paying the lucky winner will be made back many times over in the long run.
  3. They’re attracting all the right people. What kind of people do you think apply for this?  Travel nuts.  Basically, people who are both open and willing to go to Australia.  Even after the winner is announced and the thousands of other applicants lose, you can bet they will all still want to go down there.  In fact, it’s probably the number one place to vacation now for many of them.
  4. Insanely high number of applicants/visitors. From their twitter account: “14,500 applications from 176 countries, < 3 million people have visited islandreefjob.com viewing more than 20 million pages!”  All these people tell their friends and watch each other’s videos.  And because they’re doing it on Youtube, the videos will be stumbled upon and rediscovered for a long time.
  5. Applicants do all the marketing. Instead of shoving an ad campaign down people’s throats, Queensland Tourism is doing something that makes people want to spread their marketing message for them.  Even the selection process markets the GBR.  How? They left room for one “wildcard,” i.e. the person whose video gets the most votes.  So every applicant will be frantically trying to get people to vote for them — friends, family, complete strangers…  Everyone in their periphery will suddenly have the GBR on their mind.  By the time this is all said and done, millions and millions of people will have found out about this contest solely through word-of-mouth.
  6. The marketing campaign will last an entire year. They started this contest in January.  The winner will live in the GBR until December, and they’ll be doing blog posts every week about their experiences.  And you can bet Queensland Tourism will do everything they can to ensure the winner has an amazing time.  The blog will be nothing but a six month rave review for the area.  Cheap, yet super effective.

It’s not hard for your company to do something like this.  Naturally, any prize you offer will never be as sexy as the GBR.  But you can still look at the underlying principles of what Queensland Tourism is doing and use those in your next big marketing campaign.

There are still a few days left to apply, so give it a shot.  Some of the applicants have pretty solid videos (like this one – the ending is great) but most of them are boring and mediocre.

And yes, I did apply and will be posting my video on here soon.  I want to do a separate post for it and explain the process of how I came up with the idea, what other ideas I had, and how I actually created the video.

6 comments on “How to market Australia

  1. Nice analysis of the competition Charlie.

    if the goal of the marketing was to attract international visitors, looks like it definitely hit the target… This competition didn’t make huge news in Australia itself, but it looks like people all around the world threw themselves into it.

    You forgot #7- Australians have always been good at using any advantage they have- be it sport or business whatever, to get results beyond what’s expected. GO AUSTRALIA! haha

  2. Hi Charlie, you are right about people obsessing over the opportunity! I figured that people would want to talk and talk about the job and who would likely win. Friends and family would be sick of hearing about it! As such, I created a community for us applicants. Check it out if you are interested — http://islandreefjob.ning.com

    Regards,
    Susie

  3. @Slammer – It’s nice to have a self-promoting Aussie around after spending four months down in NZ with Kiwis trash-talking you guys.

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

    Check out Susie’s group. Almost 200 people are in there just talking about this competition! When people willingly form large groups about your company/campaign, you know you’re doing something right.

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