CAMPAIGN LESSONS: Winning for the Whitsundays

CAMPAIGN LESSONS: Winning for the Whitsundays

Tourism and Events Queensland wanted a campaign that would win back tourists for the Whitsundays from overseas destinations. The Hallway thought outside the box. Lucy Clark finds out what lessons were learnt along the way.

The brief

TEQ’s brief to The Hallway was to create a socially-fuelled idea that would stimulate earned conversations and drive awareness of the Whitsundays as a holiday destination. The target audience was Australia’s ‘social fun-seekers’ – people who are digitally savvy and socialise as much online as they do offline.

Simon Lee, creative partner at The Hallway, explains: “The Whitsundays was starting to lose it cachet as a world-class destination. Back in the ‘70s it was unmistakably a world-class, glamorous place to holiday. The social fun-seekers acknowledged it’s beautiful, but were starting to see it as slightly boring – the Whitsundays was losing market share to overseas destinations.”

Steve McRoberts, group executive for marketing at TEQ, adds: “We wanted to rebuild that reputation that the Whitsundays used to have, and give people a deeper understanding of what the islands have to offer.”

The campaign

The Hallway created ‘The Whitsundays: A movie that’s waiting to be written’.

The campaign ran on Facebook and invited people to write a scene of a movie, set in the Whitsundays. Every day for 21 days, a new photo was posted, along with a tip from screenwriter and campaign partner Craig Pearce (who wrote films including The Great Gatsby, Australia and Strictly Ballroom). A winning scene was picked by Pearce each day to continue the story.

One of Pearce's tips:

“We wrote the first scene, setting up the character of Jake sitting by a pool,” says Lee. “Then a picture was posted and it was open to the public to write the next scene. Based on what people wrote, we then posted images for the next scene from a bank of photos we had shot. We were able to be totally reactive to what people wrote.”

The opening scene:

Entrants were tasked with writing 100 words. The writer of every winning scene won a $500 movie voucher, and the writer of Pearce’s pick of the best single scene won a $10,000 luxury holiday to the Whitsundays.

The grand prize winning scene (scene 5):

The insight

The insight that formed the backbone of the campaign was that nothing says ‘world class’ more than being a movie location.

“The truth that we hit on was that, with its fabulous location and activities, having a holiday there does actually feel like being in a movie,” explains Lee. “From that thought, we decided to create an immersive experience that would enable and incentivise our target audience to discover this reality for themselves.”

It was this insight – and having 100% confidence in it – that ensured the campaign’s success, argues Lee.

“This was an experiment in contemporary crowd-sourced storytelling,” he says. “But it could not have gone horribly wrong because of the parameters we set around it. You have to be confident in your insights, and you have to trust in the integrity of a great story. We never had a doubt that people would enter.”

The launch

The campaign was launched with a video outlining the competition (below). The Hallway kicked off the campaign with a PR-led launch.

Louise Pogmore, head of PR at the agency, says: “The beauty of the initial piece of content was that I used it as an editorial asset. It was a really compelling call to action. It was supported by YouTube pre-rolls and an exclusive partnership with Channel Ten, so the launch content was featured on The Project and Brisbane News. We also leveraged our biggest asset – Craig Pearce – with exclusive media interviews.”

The results

The competition attracted between 400 and 500 entries every day. There were 7,600 scenes written overall.

The average amount of time that people spent on the site was two minutes. The Facebook site attracted five million unique users, and 3.5 million people saw the launch movie trailer.

“The quality of the scenes that people wrote was really gratifying,” says Lee. “We have a tendency, as people in advertising, to think that we are the only ones that understand storytelling. But everyone has a sense of story, so we saw a multitude of genres and exciting twists and turns. I was buoyed and encouraged by the quality and the level of participation.”

Pearce's closing tip:

The lessons

Be responsive: Lee says that 95% of the comments during the competition were positive, but “there was one day when a few people were not as excited by that day’s entry. We were able to respond to that by putting in new images”. Pogmore adds: “That was one of the lessons – to be as responsive as possible and really listen to the commentary.”

Time management: Pogmore outlines: “Crowd sourcing and real time optimisation is very time consuming. The competition was open from 8am to 9pm every day, so we had to work late into the night every night to do the final scene selections. That was a lesson.”

Invest in talent: Lee believes featuring celebrities as the actors would achieve more success for the campaign. “In a blue sky world, where budget isn’t an issue, I think it could have benefitted from having well known actors as the two main characters. If we did it again, I would invest in that if the budget allowed.”

The value of a story: Lee explains: “Traditionally, the satisfaction has been at watching a 90-minute feature unfold. But here, the satisfaction is coming from each individual scene. There is something to learn around that attention span of a digital audience. Perhaps it indicates that scenes don’t have to weave together with quite the same fluency that they have done traditionally to be compelling to an interactive audience.”

Consumer insights: TEQ’s McRoberts says he leant a lot from the competition entries. “It’s amazing how many insights we got from consumers – some of the words and images they uploaded said a lot about their view of the destination.”

The value of crowd participation: McRoberts says: “Crowd participation, if it’s done strategically, is very powerful. It’s not all about one-way communications anymore. It’s definitely something we’ll investigate further.”

Traditional media: If they were to run the campaign again, McRoberts says they would use traditional media too. “TV is still a very powerful platform, we don’t underestimate that,” he explains. “TV could have brought another valuable angle to the campaign.”

What’s next?

The Hallway is now working on an interactive visual of the entire “story universe” – all the entries received. The plan is to make it interactive so people can search and stitch together the narrative by genre.

“The final storyboard is one iteration of the narrative,” says Lee. “But with all the entries, there is an almost infinite number of ways the scenes could be put together.”

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Witchery Partners With GlamCorner To Boost Subscription Shopping
  • Media

Witchery Partners With GlamCorner To Boost Subscription Shopping

Australian fashion brand Witchery has partnered with B Corp GlamCorner as part of GlamCorner’s subscription box offering as the demand for everyday essentials soars. This partnership marks another milestone for the Australian fashion industry towards becoming more circular and introducing more paths to reduce textile waste. Customers nationally will be able to rent more of […]

Curry Club For COVID-19 Relief, Powered By UnLtd, Challenges AdLand To Raise $100,000
  • Marketing
  • Media

Curry Club For COVID-19 Relief, Powered By UnLtd, Challenges AdLand To Raise $100,000

The media, marketing and creative industries are being encouraged to host their own ‘Curry Club for COVID’ before 30th June to help meet the ambitious $100k target set by its organisers. Curry Club for COVID, which was conceived by long-time adtech executive Peter Bray, sales director at Impact, and is powered by industry social purpose organisation […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
UnLtd’s ‘Goals for Good’ Soccer Tournament Celebrates 10 Years
  • Media

UnLtd’s ‘Goals for Good’ Soccer Tournament Celebrates 10 Years

The UnLtd Cup is returning for its tenth consecutive year, marking a decade of soccer shenanigans that’s raised nearly $500,000 for children’s mental health charity, KidsXpress. On July 22-23rd, 28 teams from across the industry will battle it out on the soccer field in the two-day tournament at Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre, Darlington. […]

Mobile Pnone Shopping Online With A Debit Card
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Ultra Commerce Acquires Vesta eCommerce

Australian-bred company Ultra Commerce has acquired New Zealand-based company Vesta eCommerce, a global software business providing leading product data management solutions. The recent acquisition is a significant move for the business, which is Australian born, owned, and headquartered, but has built out a global presence as it pursues rapid growth in the eCommerce market. Connecting […]

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign
  • Campaigns

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign

Canteen’s latest campaign features the combined talents of Director Luna Laure and creative agency Crater. The campaign strives to raise awareness for young people affected by cancer. The awareness campaign centres around Harry Barentson, who at 12 years of age found out his pregnant mum had cancer. The campaign aims to bring awareness to Canteen’s […]

AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy Narrates ‘A Love Letter To Victoria’ Via Enthral Partners
  • Campaigns

AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy Narrates ‘A Love Letter To Victoria’ Via Enthral Partners

In partnership with storytelling agency Enthral, AFL star Kevin Sheedy has voiced a video ‘Love Letter to Victoria’ using visuals to showcase the state’s natural beauty and culture. Victoria has been hit with the worst of the coronavirus pandemic compared with any other Aussie state experiencing four lockdowns. Sheedy has partnered with Ethral to share […]

Telstra’s Belong Appoints Howatson + White For Strategy & Creative, Retains OMD For Media
  • Advertising

Telstra’s Belong Appoints Howatson + White For Strategy & Creative, Retains OMD For Media

Telstra’s lower-cost telco, Belong, has awarded its strategy and creative account to Howatson + White, and has reappointed OMD to its media buying account, after a competitive pitch process. Howatson + White will handle strategy, planning, creative and CRM, while former agency Clemenger will continue to have a relationship with Belong, managing PR and retail activation. […]