Tourism Australia has settled on which agencies will handle its creative and digital duties, appointing M&C Saatchi and Digitas to handle the respective accounts.
Clemenger BBDO is the incumbent agency for Tourism Australia’s creative account, having worked on it since 2013.
Droga5, which was also believed to be involved in the pitch, has also recently worked with Tourism Australia, having delivered the highly successful Super Bowl commercial featuring Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride early this year.
B&T understands Tourism Australia kicked off the tender process for its creative and digital accounts around the same time in April.
This isn’t the first time M&C Saatchi has handled Tourism Australia’s creative, having won the account back in 2005 before losing it three years later. The agency’s most famous campaign during that time was ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ featuring Lara Bingle.
M&C Saatchi will provide global brand, advertising and production services for Tourism Australia, and will begin working on the account in January 2019.
Tourism Australia’s new arrangement with M&C Saatchi initially run for three years, with an option to extend the contract for two further periods of 12 months.
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said the appointment of M&C Saatchi followed a comprehensive and competitive selection process aimed at continuing its focus on delivering world-class creativity aligned with its strategic marketing objectives.
“I think Tourism Australia has set a pretty high benchmark in recent years with its marketing work, and the brief we put together for this tender was very much about building upon that. The calibre of responses we received was exceptional,” he said.
“In the end, M&C Saatchi proved to be the stand-out agency in terms of their strategic and brand thinking, as well as the culture and operating model we wanted for our business.”
Tourism Australia chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson added: “The ideas M&C Saatchi shared were extremely creative, and they demonstrated the kind of big thinking we need to effectively differentiate Australia from the competition.”
Ronson thanked all the agencies who participated in the tender process, paying special tribute to current agency partners Clemenger BBDO and Droga5.
“Over the past five years, we’ve has great support from our agency partners who have helped deliver some exceptional creative work,” she said.
“This includes Clemenger BBDO for stand-out campaigns such as ‘Restaurant Australia’ and ‘Aussie News Today’, and more recently, Droga5, who were responsible for the ‘Dundee’ campaign we launched at the Super Bowl.”
Speaking to B&T, Ronson said: “Whilst M&C Saatchi’s remit is global, we’ve tasked them with working up some big ideas in some of our priority markets, in line with the increasing focus we’re placing across our organisation now on fewer, bigger, better.”
Commenting on the win, M&C Saatchi’s Australian CEO, Jaimes Leggett, said: “The Tourism Australia team have bold creative ambitions and their passion is contagious. From the beginning it has felt like a great partnership, we cannot wait to get started.”
Digitas, a subsidiary of the Publicis Groupe, will oversee Tourism Australia’s global digital and technology services requirements, commencing work in January 2019. Incumbent ASAP+ has also been retained for all digital services in China.
The digital creative, CX and technology scope of work includes assisting Tourism Australia to refine its higher value target traveller and strategically aligning its digital platforms and user experience to better attract, inform and convert these customers to travel to Australia.
Digitas and ASAP+ will also support Tourism Australia’s agency roster for major campaign development.
O’Sullivan said both agencies had demonstrated strategic vision alongside a strong track record of delivery.
“Digital is the real battleground in today’s world of destination marketing, and we attach huge importance to our digital assets and the huge global footprint they give us,” he said.
“Both Digitas and ASAP+ demonstrated a real understanding of our target customer, both globally and in China, and identified where we can engage most meaningfully with them on their digital journey.
“They showed us a compelling vision and a clear pathway to execute it.”
Ronson added: “Competition for the share of the global travel wallet is intense and, as a destination marketing agency, we are increasingly looking for cut through and high-impact ideas.
“Digitas and ASAP+ certainly tick those boxes as our new global digital partners. We see them playing a key role working alongside M&C Saatchi and our media services agency UM in helping to integrate our brand narrative across all digital touchpoints.”
Commenting on the win, Digitas Australia CEO Adrian Farouk said: “As potentially one of the most competitive digital pitches of the year, we are humbled and excited to work with one of the country’s most trusted and revered brands.
“We love working with ambitious clients and can’t wait to drive more meaningful connections for Tourism Australia through the smart application of digital; creating data-fuelled stories and tech-enabled experiences to reach audiences in powerful new ways.”
ASAP+ chief executive Dave Rumsey said it was an honour to continue as one of Tourism Australia’s two digital partners.
“The competition for digital attention in global travel has never been greater, especially in Australia’s biggest inbound market, China,” he said.
“We look forward to bringing our ideas and digital expertise to a table that not only contains world leading agencies, but also a courageous and innovative world leading client in Tourism Australia.”
The new digital arrangements initially run for three years starting in January 2019, with an option to extend the contracts for two further 12-month periods.
The account appointments come shortly after the announcement that Tourism Australia CMO Lisa Ronson would join the Australian Association of National Advertisers board.