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Tourism Australia launched its new “Aboriginal Australia: Our Country is Waiting for You” digital content campaign this month, centered around a three-minute video filmed by an Australian Aboriginal.
This is the first time that Tourism Australia has launched a marketing campaign promoting the country’s indigenous culture to the international consumer. It’s also the first time we’ve seen an official tourism campaign supplemented with a filmmaker’s blog describing the production of the campaign.
In 2014, only 14% of international visitors participated in Australian travel experiences incorporating Aboriginal culture. The tourism board believes that is because international consumers assume those experiences only take place in uncomfortable environments in remote landscapes “somewhere in the Outback.”
So the Aboriginal Australia video attempts to encompass the entire scope of the Australian landscape, including scenes in major metropolitan areas, with each segment in each destination incorporating someone of Aboriginal descent.
“Australia’s Indigenous experiences are a unique and important part of our tourism offering,” said John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, in the launch statement. “We’re confident this new short film, and our plans to make sure it is widely distributed both in Australia and overseas, will help promote this important facet of Australian tourism.”
The film was shot in the state of New South Wales, which is home to Sydney; Queensland, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef; Western Australia and Perth; and the expansive Northern Territory. It features 10 Indigenous Tourism Champion Program (ITCP) travel companies, which have been certified by Tourism Australia for their expertise and experience offering local Aboriginal-themed travel experiences. There’s also a ITCP fact sheet that consumers can download for easy reference and more indepth content.
Tourism Australia chose two local directors to develop the video, including Warwick Thornton, whose mother was Aboriginal, and Brendan Fletcher, whose film “Mad Bastards” centers around an Aboriginal man living in Western Australia.
On Fletcher’s personal website, the “About” page reads: “Brendan’s films are usually about something… with social issues that affect us all. These films give voice to communities who often struggle to have their voice heard by mainstream media.”
A Case Study for Multi-layer Brand Content
In terms of content, Aboriginal Australia is a big budget introduction to a low-key slice of the Australia tourism industry that has never been fully explored as a mainstream product offering. In order to sell that, Tourism Australia developed a ton of content.
The Australia.com website is presently showcasing the campaign as an editorial content package on the homepage that links to a Best of Aborginal Experiences landing page. That segments into multiple story categories highlighting the individual states and territories where consumers can learn more about individual travel product and suppliers.
This is what Australia does better than almost anyone. The levels of destination content just keep extending further and further into the website to provide an immersive network of travel experiences that keep the reader onsite for extended periods of time.
That is further complemented by the Filming Aboriginal Tourism blog, produced by Kristi O’Brien, experiences project manager, Indigenous Tourism, Tourism Australia. The content is casual and bloggy with engaging insight into life behind the scenes on a multimillion dollar film shoot.
In the post, Shooting at Bawaka Homelands in East Arnhem Land, the crew filmed a spear fishing scene and then hung out on the beach at sunset while the locals danced, sang songs and played wth the team’s GoPros.
Obrien wrote about that evening, opening with a song lyric they listend to on the beach: “It’s all about life and a love for the land waking up to the sun. It is a paradise. It’s where we belong.” She follows that with:
“These words are from the song Bayini written by Rrawun Maymuru for his cousin Gurrumul Yunupingu (sung by Gurrumul on The Voice with Delta Goodrem here). To me the lyrics really bring out the essence of the feeling of being here. The women cried to the country at dawn and the community danced goodbye to the day at sunset. I just love how the people here are in the moment and how connected they are to this land.”
Yes, it’s a little purply but when you’re relaxing on an empty beach at sunset on the farthest outer reaches of Australia, after learning how to spearfish with locals, you might feel the same way.
The savvy thing about this multi-layer content approach is that it can speak to two different audiences, or it can speak to one audience with two reinforcing deliveries. The Aboriginal Australian video is a high-cost, high-production marketing vehicle designed for more traditional audiences, while the blog videos like this one below speak to more digitally attuned travelers with an ear for authentic messaging.
Together they complement each other well to communicate the campaign’s holistic mission of “connecting mind, body and spirit to the land”—the primary selling point for the Best of Aboriginal Experiences.