For the launch of the 2019 Media Strategy Report, Droga5's Hillary Fink explains why the Super Bowl was so critical to the success of an undeniably Australian campaign, Tourism Australia's Dundee.

In spring 2017, Tourism Australia asked Droga5 to help shift Americans’ perception of Australia from a ‘some day’ trip to their next holiday destination, using the Super Bowl. Though the event is the biggest moment in American advertising, the approach raised some questions. How would a 60-second spot persuade consumers to visit the other side of the world? How would we break through the clutter generated by major advertisers? How would we celebrate Australia on one of the most American days of the year?

Compounding our questions were incredibly high stakes. A Super Bowl campaign puts brands under the microscope, and Tourism Australia is a heavily scrutinised government agency.

Media Strategy Report

This article appears originally in the 2019 Media Strategy Report.
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Investing in the Super Bowl would require a significant portion of their taxpayer-funded budget. We would need to prove a strong return on investment in order to assuage concerns. To get to a truly compelling idea, creative teams were briefed on three key points:

  1. Celebrating Australians
    Our campaign needed to celebrate the nature of Australia and Australians. Aussies are known for their casual warmth and irreverent humour. Our campaign needed to leverage this truth to differentiate Australia from other destinations with shorter travel times.
  2. Before and after Super Bowl content
    To drive bookings, a single Super Bowl spot wouldn’t be enough. We’d need content before – that teased the 60-second spot – and content after – that drove consumers down the funnel to booking.
  3. Sustaining surprise
    We needed to maintain the element of surprise. A recent desire for increased online views has led brands to release their Super Bowl ads online before the game. While this may increase reach, it can tarnish the one day a year when consumers are excited to see ads. We wanted to hold out for a Super Bowl reveal.

The result of this brief was ‘Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home’. Over two weeks in January 2018, Tourism Australia convinced the world that a new Crocodile Dundee film was on the horizon, showing the best of Australia before revealing the truth in our Super Bowl spot. Immediately after the reveal, we pivoted our messaging to make Australia the star, moving consumers down the funnel toward conversion.

Tourism Australia: "convinced the world that a new Crocodile Dundee film was on the horizon".

By mimicking elements of a Hollywood film campaign, we drove social and PR coverage. Tourism Australia was the most discussed brand prior to the game, and Dundee was the most viewed, searched and shared Super Bowl campaign, generating more than 200 million views and 15,000 news articles.

And it worked: in July 2018, spending by domestic and international travellers in Australia had increased by $5.8 billion, with American spending in Australia increasing by 30%. At the end of 2018, visa applications were up by 11.5%, resulting in more scheduled flights on US to Australia routes. With the trip-planning cycle taking up to a year, we expect the long-term effects of this campaign to continue into 2019 and beyond.

A uniquely Australian idea

At its core, Dundee is a uniquely Australian idea. No other country has the right mix of talent, intellectual property, unique experiences and irreverent humour to pull it off. However, there are key insights that any brand could apply to make the most of a major brand moment like the Super Bowl.

Tourism Australia: "Make Australia the star".

All creative ideas can be data driven

We often think of retargeting and performance marketing as separate from our most compelling creative concepts. Dundee was orchestrated to bring the two together. The teaser assets each played a critical role in increasing our qualified audience pool. We were able to target consumers who had engaged with the ‘film’ through our booking-focused assets. Our creativity magnified our effectiveness and justified our ambitious efforts with real results.

Risky strategies require a cohesive, integrated team

Dundee worked because everyone was aligned on objectives and vision. All teams collaborated throughout the process, with key clients spending the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl in the Droga5 offices to ensure we could be as nimble as possible as the campaign rolled out.

Make owned and earned tactics a focus

Paid, owned and earned channels were equally critical to the success of Dundee. Just like a real movie, we created a full suite of channels to mirror a true film release. Australian celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth and Margot Robbie amplified our spots far beyond our paid budget. PR was not a separate workstream; it was a critical lens at every stage of the process. Optimising earned coverage was a key campaign objective from the beginning, and assets were created and rolled out with this in mind.

Dundee shows how a massive media moment can be successfully leveraged. When a breakthrough creative concept is combined with a full-funnel, orchestrated approach, true effectiveness can be unlocked.