Tourism Australia has kicked off a new A$36m (NZ$39m) marketing push aimed at “supercharging the value of American tourism Down Under’.
The star-studded campaign – a riff on Australia’s iconic Crocodile Dundee film – is the largest the agency has run in the United States since Paul Hogan’s ‘come Say G’Day’ ads more than 30 years ago.
It is the largest ever single market push by Tourism Australia committing more than a quarter of its a A$129m (NZ$139m) annual budget. By comparison, Tourism New Zealand’s total annual budget is $117m.
The US is Australia’s third largest overseas market with 780,000 annual arrivals and second largest for visitor spend with Americans spending A$3.7bn in the country in 2017.
The US is also New Zealand’s third largest market for arrivals although ranks third for spend, with 320,000 total arrivals spending NZ$1.2bn in the year to October 2017.
Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP said 2018 presented the perfect opportunity to “aggressively target” the US market and address the “conversion challenge”.
He pointed to a favourable exchange rate and strong aviation capacity leading to highly competitive airfares making “this the right time to increase our investment in the United States”.
“Whilst Australia ranks highly among Americans in terms of desirability and awareness of our tourism offerings, we lag behind our competitors when it comes to actual bookings. This new campaign will address this conversion challenge.
“This is the single largest investment Tourism Australia has ever made in the US market and one we believe will grow annual spend by American visitors to A$6bn by the year 2020.”
The blitz unofficially kicked-off in mid-January with a series of short-teaser films featuring Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and US comedian Danny McBride released through social media in the form of a traditional film trailer.
This was followed on Sunday the official launch via a 60-second NFL SuperBowl ad which revealed that the trailer for the ‘new’ movie, Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home, was actually a Tourism Australia ad.
The average Super Bowl ad costs US$5m for a 30-second spot with the game being watched by more than 100 million Americans.
Qantas and American Airlines launched sales from the US to Australia on Sunday as the ad aired, and the agency set up a social media ‘war room’ in Sydney to respond to travellers’ reactions and questions in real time.
Tourism Australia’s managing director, John O’Sullivan, said: “Crocodile Dundee put Australia on the map for Americans in the ’80s. The film helped shape their view of Australia, showing them our country’s natural beauty and Australians’ friendly and welcoming nature.
“And it remains relevant today, with our research showing that Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee is still a character Americans believe warmly represents the Australian way of life.
Other celebrities featured in the campaign, which runs until the end of June, include Liam Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Paul Hogan, Margot Robbie, Ruby Rose and Russell Crowe alongside McBride and Hemsworth who has been Tourism Australia’s ambassador since January 2016.
It also includes a series of online videos with the celebrities talking about why they love Australia.
“Chris and Danny, along with the cameo appearances in the teasers from so many well-known Australian stars, has given us real star power to capture America’s attention again.
“The Big Game has the largest reach of any advertising platform in the US, with more than 100 million Americans tuning in and many more millions globally.
“It’s the perfect platform to begin rolling out our biggest tourism push in the US in over 30 years, with more than 20 commercial partners primed to start converting the huge interest we’ve generated into bookings,” he said.
To convert interest into bookings, Tourism Australia has published tailored travel itineraries and inspiring destination information on Australia.com supported with a dedicated campaign ‘marketplace’ which includes airfare and tailored holiday offers from 20 campaign partners, all aimed at encouraging Americans to book a trip Down Under.
All of Australia’s states and territories are featured in the campaign and the agency said “locations, products and experiences [were] carefully chosen to resonate most strongly with high value American travellers looking to experience Australia.”
Tourism Australia worked with advertising agency Droga5 on the project, with its global media services agency UM Sydney handling media duties on the project.
This is the first time Droga5 has worked with Tourism Australia after winning the project in June last year.
David Droga, creative chairman and founder of Droga5, said: “As an immensely proud Aussie, my goal was for Droga5 to create an audacious, outlandish tourism campaign that only Australia would have the guts to pull off.
“What makes Australia special isn’t simply the 37,000 miles of beaches, unique wildlife or world-class food and wine—it’s getting those things delivered by a warm, welcoming, irreverent bunch of people. What better platform than one of our most-loved treasures, Crocodile Dundee, which was also one of the best ads for Australia?”
Fiona Johnston, chief executive of UM Australia, said: “With a project like this, ideas need to be bigger than ‘just a spot’ to truly win the night. Countless hours were spent crafting this idea, ensuring every connection was leveraged to its maximum potential, and that the right science and strategy was in place to convert engagement into visitation.”