Mix exotic scenery with upbeat music and people enjoying their holidays and you’ve got the formula for nearly every tourism commercial. The travel category is saturated with many brands producing engaging yet similar ads. Standing out can be a challenge – one that Tourism Australia wanted to avoid with its first global campaign since 2016.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel to Australia was heavily restricted. In February 2022, borders reopened to all vaccinated tourists. Tourism Australia knew it needed to launch a creative campaign that would entice international visitors.
“There’s nothing like Australia. During the pandemic, our team was proactively planning how we would present ourselves to the world once we were ready to welcome travellers again,” said Susan Coghill, Chief Marketing Officer, Tourism Australia. “We knew we needed a campaign that is both distinct and emotionally engaging.”
The $125 million “Come and Say G’Day” campaign, first conceptualized with M&C Saatchi Australia in April 2021, includes numerous assets. Tourism Australia researched its brand codes across various markets and found that kangaroos are the most recognisable asset.
The brand then worked with director Michael Gracey and production house FINCH to create a short film featuring Ruby the kangaroo, an animated souvenir voiced by Australian actor Rose Byrne. The film establishes her backstory and positions her as a long-term brand ambassador.
A 60-second ad features Ruby and Louie, a toy unicorn voiced by actor Will Arnett, visiting iconic destinations throughout Australia, like the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House and Uluru. King Stingray, an Australian rock band, puts a new spin on Men at Work’s hit song “Down Under,” which plays in the background as Ruby and Louie explore.
To ensure it would make an impression with holiday-goers, Tourism Australia turned to System1 to test different versions of the animatic and ad before the launch. System1’s Test Your Ad platform enables brands to see how their creative performs with audiences by measuring emotional response and offers creative guidance to improve the final result.
The Star Rating, on a 1 to 5-Star scale, predicts the long-term effectiveness of ads while the Spike Rating predicts the potential for an ad to drive short-term sales activity. The baseline is 1, and scores of 1.3 and above predict strong or exceptional activity.
“We needed to find a partner that could help guide us in the development and objectively give us insights quickly across multiple markets,” added Coghill. “System1’s research was invaluable for helping us understand how the ad was working and how we could make improvements as well as giving our organisation and stakeholders the confidence that we are investing our marketing funds effectively.”
After securing 4-Stars at the animatic stage, the final ad scored an exceptional 5.6-Stars in the United Kingdom and 5-Stars in other international markets like the United States and Singapore, as well as impressive short-term Spike ratings too. This means Tourism Australia can effectively reach audiences at both ends of the marketing funnel. The campaign resonates with those who are considering destinations for a potential holiday and makes a strong positive impression on anyone for whom it’s just a daydream.
“We wanted to reward viewers with a great story that would capture hearts and minds,” said Coghill. ”Ruby is a wonderful distinctive brand asset for us and System1’s testing showed that she resonates well with international audiences. We look forward to continuing to use her, taking her on new adventures.”
In addition to the short film and the 60-second spot, the campaign includes 30- and 15-second television ads, print and Out of Home (OOH) placements, and social, digital, and content marketing initiatives. It runs across 15 international markets.
"System1’s research was invaluable for helping us understand how the ad was working and how we could make improvements as well as giving our organisation and stakeholders the confidence that we are investing our marketing funds effectively."Susan Coghill Chief Marketing Officer, Tourism Australia
“There are so many distinctive layers to this ad, from Ruby the kangaroo to the soundtrack to the celebrity voiceovers to the famous destinations. It’s the perfect combination for an unmistakably Australian campaign that brings joy to audiences around the world”Jon Evans Chief Customer Officer, System1
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