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Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

“The Greatest Job in the World”

Tourism Queensland in Australia is holding a contest that is pretty unusual – maybe unique.  They created a new job called “Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef”.  It is a paid position – $150,000AUS for 6 months, while you live in Australia on their dime you will enjoy everything the islands of the Great Barrier Reef have to offer and share it with the world via Blogs and Videos (that’s apx. $100,000 American).  The position will be given to one of us – the people drooling over the thought of being paid to vacation in Australia for 6 months!

Applications for the job are 60 second videos.  They will select 50 people from the 34,000+ videos they’ve received and start the more in-depth application process, asking for a personal essay and opening up the web-based voting.  11 people will go to Australia for the last round – 10 selected by Tourism Queensland and 1 wild card candidate that was voted in by the world.  It sounds like they will go through a week of interviews and maybe even ‘Survivor’ style challenges, and only one will make it to the final round.

Is this an amazing idea, a brave new gamble, or a publicity stunt?

The whole process is interesting for a few reasons.  Tourism Queensland is obviously trying to create a “World Wide Rave” by getting people excited about living in Australia.  Word of mouth is so important for advertising and they are encouraging us to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, learn about them, and fantasize about living there.  All that just to be able to make a relevant application!

And when we tell our friends and family about it they do those same things, except that they all fantasize about visiting us while we’re living there.

In the spirit of running off to the land down under… here is my own video application!
Please watch – If you enjoy rate it (you’ll need a YouTube account) and send to your friends.

If you get me the job I promise to let you visit me in Australia ; )


People listen to People

Tourism Queensland is banking on the idea that one person will be interesting and energetic enough to inspire the rest of us.  By hiring one person to experience what the islands have to offer and share that in written and video blogs they are attempting to plug into social media.  It feels like someone took off their blinders and realized that people listen to people, not to marketing machines. The Marketing Heaven can make a significant change on social media in terms of marketing, but just not upto what would be required. I don’t know if they will connect to groups of people online through sites like Facebook and Twitter in addition to their own blog, but they will if they are smart about this.

Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Is it a marketing stunt or will it have a real impact on advertising?

At a time when marketing budgets are getting smaller, and return on investment for every campaign is so heavily scrutinized it’s interesting to me that Tourism Queensland is spending as much as they are, to hire one blogger.  If your boss is hassling you about starting a company blog you should keep an eye on where this goes, and how much exposure they get for the islands down under.

At first I thought Tourism Queensland is jumping into social medial with both feet – I hope they break new ground proving out their theory.  I did a bit of research while making my own video application (who could resist!) and found that with the size of their marketing budget the investment in this promotion is really just a drop in the bucket.  Tourism Queensland seems to understand the concept of buyer personas and they are trying to share their direction and methods with the businesses that operate in their area. This isn’t an all-in poker game for them, but a small part of a very large (and impressive) marketing plan that they are carrying out over the next 10 years.
(T.Q. industry brochure, T.Q. Marketing Update Report – big .doc file, T.Q. Summary of the Islands and what each has to offer)

So far it’s made a small news buzz – there are a few tweets about it here and there but mostly from people self promoting.  I think that the ad agency had hoped for much more activity around the video application process.

www.islandreefjob.com has been down, up, and down again for days – frustrating the efforts of many, many would-be applicants.  It is down again as I write this – so maybe they are very happy with the response, or maybe they were just unprepared.  It will be interesting to watch the voting and real-life interviews unfold, and I wonder who will get that AMAZING job!