Social marketing can’t be faked

Tourism-Queensland-Social-MarketingExactly a week ago Tourism Queensland launched a massively expensive promotion that received international coverage.

They offered “the world’s best job”. As the island caretaker the successful applicant would be paid $150,000 to live 6-months rent free on the Great Barrier Reef. All that is asked in return is to swim, snorkel, chat to guests and occasionally post a blog or two.

By the next day Tourism Queensland announced they had so many entries their website had crashed under the load. Media outlets worldwide were covering it. A friend in Canada had even linked to it on his Facebook page.

It was all set to be a very successful campaign, but later on Thursday Tourism Queensland sent out a release that was their downfall and has potentially destroyed a campaign I’d estimate to cost near $1 million.

They told of a video application from a Queensland woman getting a 10cm tattoo showing her devotion to the area and her passion for the role. The video was uploaded to YouTube and the link provided.

We all know that the general public, especially the Gen X and Y this looks to be aimed at, are very cynical and don’t like to be lied to. Few were then surprised when on Monday (less than a week after the launch) Tourism Queensland admitted the woman in the video was a staff member at Cummins Nitro, the agency behind the campaign. The video was claimed to have been a sample made to demonstrate the creativity that could be used. It was an “oversight” that the words sample or example were omitted.

The video has been pulled from YouTube, negative publicity abound. Now it’s just a wait and see if Tourism Queensland will be forgiven for such a basic error.

And for a social marketing example where this concept can work: South Australian Tourism ran the “My Brilliant Adventure” campaign in 2007.

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