Have a look at this official promotional video for Western Australia and then we’ll talk. When I say ‘talk’ I mean ‘rant’.
Tourism marketing in Western Australia is famously abysmal. Look critically at this from the viewpoint of international tourism marketing. What is the positioning of Western Australia as a tourism product? What is it that distinguishes Western Australia from any other tourism destination in the world? Come on; I’m waiting!
It’s a product that doesn’t know what it is. The ad is a case study in poor strategic thinking.
Does the tourism authority think we the only place in the world with beaches and waterways? The only thing to be said in favour of Perth beaches is that they are quaint, reflecting the determination of generations to resist ANY tourism development of ANY sort on even ONE of them. Welcome to 1960.
Why do we have to re-assure people that there are designer clothing shops in Perth? Are we competing with Paris?
Who is the target market for this ad? If it is young people, are they going to fly 24 hours on a plane to drink beer in the Ocean Beach Hotel? “Well honey; it’s Carnivale in Rio or a beer in a pub in Perth. Toss a coin.”
If ‘relaxed lifestyle’ is all we have going for us; NEWSFLASH; that’s an immigration strategy, not a tourism strategy.
If local colour is what we’re selling, for God’s sake, don’t fill up the ad with bland-looking models acting badly. Use REAL people who look interesting. Let’s hear some Australian accents! Americans in particular find Australian accents very engaging; instead we serenade them with insipid guitar music.
Ironically, they’re using Russell Morris’s ‘The Real Thing’ as the sound track and they’ve completely emasculated the REAL version and turned it into MUZAC. The original is a fabulous arrangement which could be the basis for a very strong campaign and HOLD THE PHONE they’ve removed the emotional underpinning of the song; the line that says: “there’s a meaning there for me”. *Bangs head against desk*.
Now what is the only thing in this ad which will be remembered by international viewers? Close your eyes for a minute and pretend you’re not Australian. What stood out?
Kangaroos. The reason they keep putting kangaroos into ads for Australia is that research shows people love them. So, knowing that, do we create wildlife corridors close to the city and promote ourselves as the wild west of Australia? Do we invite tourists onto golf courses where kangaroos hang out? If Kings Park were populated with kangaroos and you could take your pet kangaroo for a hop along the beach, which city in Australia would Oprah be visiting?
Tourism marketing (like just about all marketing) is PRODUCT and BRANDING and not much else. We have neither product nor branding at present. Tourism Australia is absolutely correct to direct Oprah to Sydney, Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef. They’re brands and Perth is not. How much do you want to bet Oprah will nurse a joey on camera?
Here’s a song about Perth.