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APN New Zealand partners to create tourism campaign, engages audience with celebrity travel passions

By Sheryl Dunlop

APN New Zealand Media was briefed by advertising agency OMD along with most major media owners in New Zealand when Tourism Australia decided to put the business up for pitch in late 2013.

After three years working exclusively with another local media company, OMD and Tourism Australia wanted to assess the market and see what other strategic insight was available. 

The objectives of the campaign were to encourage 40-64 year olds traveling without kids to see more of Australia beyond the main gateways, while showcasing the diverse and unique experiences the country offers.

APN won the pitch based on a combination of strong ideas underpinned by great insights. We built the campaign concept around utilising influential Kiwi advocates via credible and engaging content to explore the Australia the target audience had never seen — and to be the inspiration for the audience to embark on a new adventure.

The campaign kicked off by telling the stories of advocates participating in activities they love in Australia. Trusted and well-known New Zealand personalities came onboard to bring their “Australia Passion” to life: popular former newsreader Judy Bailey (whose passion is nature and wildlife), celebrity chef Michael van de Elzen (whose passion is food and wine), model and TV host Colin Mathura-Jeffree (shopping and shows), and media personality and comedic writer Jon Bridges (culture). 

Mobile, tablet, digital, and special print editions drove audience interest back to a custom-built Australia hub. The hub featured content from Herald editorial, Tourism Australia, and user-generated content, as well as articles and videos from the advocates.

This home for Australian content was supported by an extensive media campaign and had a strong APN integration across editorial, sales, marketing, and digital. 

Overall, the campaign was a cohesive 12-month content marketing, media, and creative strategy, delivering reach and frequency, but most importantly quality engagement with the audience. 

Research findings, promotion results, and increased visitors to Australia show the campaign was a resounding success.

During the period of the campaign, intention to visit Australia grew among the target audience by 10% and in October a record high of one million Kiwis visited Australia, according to the November 2013 issues of Travel Today. These results exceeded all KPIs and brand engagement measures. 

It’s only natural that a campaign of this size and scope produces a myriad of challenges. The partnership spanned nearly every department of APN and involved sales working with editorial in a completely new way. The complexity of the campaign and content management required extremely high attention to detail and continual dialogue with all key stakeholders.

APN had to build trust with the Tourism Australia and OMD teams that this partnership would deliver a successful campaign with content at its heart, and at the same time with APN’s editors to ensure editorial integrity was not compromised. 

For any integrated content or native advertising partnership like this, the quality of the content will dictate how successful the campaign is. It sounds simple, but balancing a client’s view of what makes good content about their brand with an editor’s experience of understanding what our readers want is a delicate balance. 

The best work will succeed when preconceptions can be put aside, and the success of this campaign is a reflection of exactly that being put into practice. 

About Sheryl Dunlop

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