In 2009 Tourism Queensland ran one of the most successful UGC Video contests of all time, receiving over 34,000 user generated videos from over 200 countries and an estimated $260M in earned media content. In order to create international awareness for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Tourism & SapientNitro created “The Best Job in the World” campaign. People were invited to submit a 60-second video audition to be considered to be hired as a caretaker on Hamilton Island, a six-month position with an $150K AUD contract. Rather than spending money on ads, they posted the job in classifieds throughout the world. The campaign received international attention as over 46k news sites around the world covered this outrageous and first-of-a-kind campaign.
What to Learn:
- How Irresistible Offers Can Generate Virality: Rather than spend their money on traditional ads, Tourism Queensland created an irresistible offer (ie. a one-of-a-kind, six-month, high salaried position in paradise) that attracted the world’s attention. , generating 46k+ news stories, 230k+ blog posts, and even a BBC Documentary.
- Why Auditions Often Trump Testimonials: One of the most common UGC formats is to invite people to submit a testimonial proclaiming why they love your brand. While this content is typically the most directly usable for brands, it is often does not illicit the strongest response. The beauty of Tourism Queensland “Audition” approach to UGC is that it allowed participants to do something most people excel at: talking about oneself. Asking people to say why they were ideal for this role also opens participation to non-customers and non-community members – anyone and everyone can take part in the campaign.
- The Power of a Brand Ambassador: Not only did the campaign itself generate a record amount of content, Tourism Queensland ran the campaign so that the ultimate contest winner would generate even more content. During his tenure, the contest winner generated over 75k words in blog posts, 2k photos, 46 videos, and participated in 450+ media interviews. This is a brilliant way to maximize the production of enduring media assets, by not just creating UGC from one’s initial contest, but continuing to generate UGC from the winner long after the contest ends.
- UGC Type: 60 second videos
- Duration: 6 weeks
- Budget: $1,200,000
- Partners: SapientNitro
- Campaign Date: February 2009
- $150k salaried position
- 6-months lodging on tropical Island
- Official status as Brand Ambassador
- 6.8M uniques / month
- 54M views / month
- 8.25 min average time on site
- ~500,000 votes received
- 4 million hits/ hour in first day of campaign
- 34,000+ video applications from 200 Countries within 6 weeks (500+ hours of content)
- The contest winner, Ben Southall, as part of his 6-month role:
- Published 60 blog posts (75,000 words)
- Published 2,000 photos
- Recorded 47 video diaries
- Generated 1,000+ Tweets
- Fielded 450+ media interviews
- BBC documentary about the promotion (4M+ viewers)
- 46,000 mainstream news stories
- 230,000 blog posts
- Estimated reach of 3 billion people ($260M in media value)
- Estimated $430M in estimated global Public Relations value
- Received 8 Cannes Lions awards
- Inducted into PR News Platinum PR Awards Hall of Fame (2014)
Examples of Content Received:
This is one of my favorite examples when it comes to a brand blowing out an Audition format User Generated Content contest. Back in 2009 – WAY WAY WAY before User Generated Content hit mainstream, and even FURTHER before User Generated Video was a thing, Tourism Queensland ran one of the most successful UGC Video contests of all time. It was SO successful, they received over 34,000 user generated videos from over 200 countries! To put that in today’s (2017) terms, getting 34k videos back in 2009 is the equivalent of, today, of receiving roughly infinity-billion videos. It’s truly remarkable – today smartphones all have video cameras, and virtually every single laptop has them built in as well. Back in 2009… not so much.
But the killer results don’t end there. Bring in the number crunchers, because (according toQueensland Tourism’s partner, SapientNitro), the results didn’t stop there. Tourism Queensland received an estimated $260M in earned media content! Their campaign was so wildly successful that
In order to create international awareness for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Tourism & SapientNitro created “The Best Job in the World” campaign. People were invited to submit a 60-second video audition to be considered to be hired as a caretaker on Hamilton Island, a six-month position with an $150K AUD contract. Rather than spending money on ads, they posted the job in classifieds throughout the world. The campaign received international attention as over 46k news sites ran stories about this campaign – talk about a lot of free publicity! Taking it to the streets, there were over 230k blog posts about the campaign. Now, granted, this may be tiny bloggers with little to no audience, but when you look at the total audience – between the 46k news sites, the 230k blogs, and – oh, yeah, forgot to mention this, BBC did a frickin’ documentary about this! – with all that together, an estimated 3 Billion people were exposed to this campaign. Seems like a lot… I mean, half the planet? Ok, SapientNitro – I agree it was a massive campaign, but perhaps there was a rounding error there. However, either way – it got a lot of eye balls and a lot of free eye balls at that. SapientNitro estimated over $260M in media value.
So, arguing accounting over massive results figures aside, I’m imagining you’re asking – “How on earth did they do that?” Well, they did it by doing something no one had ever done before. They essentially crowd-sourced the hiring of an island caretaker. In the campaign they dubbed “The Best Job in the World” they invited people from around the world to submit a 60-second video audition to be considered to be hired as a caretaker on Hamilton Island, a six-month position with an $150K AUD contract. Rather than spending money on ads, they posted the job in classifieds throughout the world.
Talk about an irresistible offer – the chance to live on an Island paradise alone would attract attention from most. But stack on top of that a lucrative salary AND some publicity for the winner? This lucky man or woman would not just get 10-seconds of fame, they’d get a full 6-months of it!
And the videos show the types of people (or, rather, the 34,000 types of people) that this sort of offer appeared to. Many of the videos are outrageous, hilarious, riveting, and (for quite a few) downright embarrassing. So, in this quick stroke, Tourism Queensland has now produced an UNREAL amount of original, authentic video content, all talking about HOW MUCH people wanted to go to Australia for this job, and what they would do (hint: anything) to get this job.
Which brings me to, you know, the whole point that they did this. Tourism Queensland is not a typical brand…. it’s not like they’re trying to sell more Australia. No – to top it all off, they’re doing this all for an noble purpose. They did it to generate awareness about the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef (and, hopefully, an increased desire to preserve this previous environment… it’s a global treasure).
Here’s the real reason I love this campaign, though, is that it didn’t stop there. While most any organization would be content to pack up their content and go home at this point, Tourism Queensland set this up in a way to brought UGC to the next level. The winner, Ben Southall, after demonstrating that he was handy with a video camera, essentially became a full-time Brand Ambassador for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. In his time on Hamilton Island, Ben would go on to field over 450 media interviews, publish 60 blogs (over 75k words!), publish 2k photos & 47 video diaries, and generate 1k+ Tweets (move over, President Trump!).
You put that all together and you’ve got the best example you can hope for of a properly executed, audition-style User Generated Content contest campaign. And if you ask me, doing that sounds like the Best Job in the World (ok, not really, but I had to).