If you were in the US and tuned into Super Bowl 50, you would have seen what purported to be a trailer for a reboot of a movie that arguably has done more for tourism to Australia than any other.
That movie is the 1986 hit Crocodile Dundee, in which Australian comedian Paul Hogan and American actress Linda Kozlowski entertained audiences with two interlinked “fish out of water” stories in the Outback and in New York City.
The trailer seemed to be promoting a new film called Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns, starring American actor Danny McBride as Brian, the son of Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee as well as Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame along with cameos from Hugh Jackman as the Australian prime minister and Russell Crowe as a media magnate. Paul Hogan himself also makes a brief appearance.
However anyone following the web link to www.dundeemovie.com found that the ad was actually part of an A$36 million tourism marketing campaign by Tourism Australia aimed at getting more Americans to go Down Under.
Tourism Australia Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson says the ad “caught the attention and the imagination of millions of Americans and have given us an unprecedented platform to now convert that interest into travel bookings”.
The campaign is now continuing with five new short videos under the banner of ‘Why Australia’ featuring McBride and others.
“Why Australia is part of that conversion exercise,” says Ronson. “The content adds depth and colour to our destination story by harnessing some of our country’s best known international stars to show the high value American traveller some of Australia’s top destinations and best experiences.”
The campaign continues Tourism Australia’s success at omnichannel campaigns embracing social media in selling the country to overseas audiences.
DMOs elsewhere around the globe will be kicking themselves that they didn’t think of the idea but also wondering about the costs of putting together the campaign.
Estimates of the cost of a 30-second ad during Super Bowl, annually the most viewed television broadcasts with more than 110 million viewers, sit at around US$5 million. Putting together the slick creative, including appearances by some of the best known actors in the world, will not have come cheaply either.
Tourism Australia says the ad represented the single biggest investment in the American market since it ran its Come Say G’day ads featuring Paul Hogan more than 30 years ago.
The DMO says the ad had driven record traffic to Australia.com and had also boosted traffic to its airline and distribution partners, Qantas Vacations reporting double the normal number of leads within the first 24 hours of the ad airing, Aspire Down Under seeing a 30 per cent jump in leads and Down Under Answers experiencing quadruple its usual web traffic in the week after the Superbowl.
As of 1 March, the advert had been watched more than 100 million times on social media, generated more than 12,000 media articles and delivered over A$74 million in estimated advertising value, Tourism Australia said.
On the face of it, the campaign has been an enormous success. Other DMOs can only look on in astonishment, both at the budget and the campaign’s breath-taking inventiveness.