Sunday Times gets adventurous with titillating travel column

By Gail Nel

Girls Gone Wild” is a relatively new Sunday Times weekly column in the Sunday Times Travel weekly supplement.

We have two goals in mind:

  1. Creating an unusual format for more local travel content in general.

  2. Catering to the huge enthusiasm in South Africa and among the Sunday Times readership for outdoor travel and activities, as well as active weekends away.

Our “girls” (Claire Keeton and Marianne Schwankhart) were tasked with writing an adventure-travel column for the Sunday Times Travel weekly supplement.

To fulfil this task, the girls investigated and experienced a huge variety of travel – in and around South Africa, as well as neighbouring countries like Swaziland and Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

This task was right up their alley. Between them, they have explored 58 countries in 20 years. They have been best friends for more than 10 years and consider themselves privileged to have such a “dream job.” 

We launched the campaign with generic awareness ads, followed with weekly strip ads highlighting upcoming column information. We designed the campaign to be catchy and exciting —  and appealing to both male and female readers, as well as families.

Their travels includes all kinds of adventures, from scuba diving, snorkelling, shark diving, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, horse riding, bungee jumping, and snow skiing.

Not only did they search out adrenalin-type activities, but their brief also included family weekends, taking into account the more leisurely activities that most people would love to experience.

The “Girls Gone Wild” column continues to enjoy increased readership, to the extent that both women are now recognised by members of the reading public. 

They were also commissioned by MacMillan Publishers to produce a book based on the in-newspaper content, and the book is enjoying excellent sales in its first few months in bookstores.

About Gail Nel

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