Not even COVID lockdowns dampened the travel desires of home-bound residents from engaging with the newly branded Barrington Coast region with the campaign winning Silver for Tourism Marketing and Campaigns at the 2021 NSW Tourism Awards.
Launching with zero brand awareness into the Hunter and Sydney metro markets, the visitation brand campaign was created from a collaborative partnership, between Destination Marketing Store (DMS), Fred&Co digital Advertising and media agency Leonards Advertising.
DMS’ destination management plan, brand strategy and brand positioning for Barrington Coast set the foundation for the campaign.
The brand is positioned on the “Blaze your own trail” platform – and has the brand personality traits of being free spirited, courageous, grounded and not taking life too seriously.
“The campaign captured the brand essence of ‘Blazing your own trail’ and suggested the audience give themselves permission to break their routine by doing whatever it takes to enjoy yourself,” said director at DMs, Charlotte Prouse.
David Lucas, creative director and founder of Fred&Co, added “When most destinations are leading their hero messages with ‘Explore’, ‘Discover’ and ‘Experience’, we created the campaign to be honest and unapologetic in its realness, so the destination stood out.
“We were saying, ‘Just do whatever it takes to feel recharged and just be you – Who cares what anyone thinks about what you like to do on a holiday? If that’s eating three dozen oysters for lunch – do it.’ It was this honesty that resonated with the audience to give us outstanding online engagement.”
The campaign solely focussed on a female audience, without the fear of alienating men in its advertising communications – a first for a NSW region.
The campaign also launched with OOH roadside billboards for awareness, supported by an integrated digital mix of display, search, social and native ads which put the campaign in front of women in the Hunter and Sydney regions.
“Even with the lockdowns coming into effect during the campaign, there was a significant jump in engagement levels,” said CEO of Leonards Advertising, Kate Faithorn.
“Considering we were starting from zero awareness of the Barrington Coast destination brand, the campaign’s social engagement, website traffic and enquiries beat all our expectations.”
The Barrington Coast’s first-ever campaign over the four-month period achieved strong results, including a 12.5 per cent web traffic increase, smashing the Google Paid search objective by 44 per cent, and growing the visitor e-news database by 208 per cent to promote the pre-travel experience and boost destination bookings.
Client: MidCoast Council
Brand Strategy : Destination Marketing Store
Creative : Fred&Co Digital Advertising
Media : Leonards Advertising