Kangaroo Island ad survey: Aussie tourists 41% more likely to visit, 2% of comments after cash-for-tweets exposé were ‘particularly negative’

Let yourself go: domestic target market 41% more likely to visit KI after seeing the ad

The South Australian Tourism Commission has released the results of a survey to show the impact of ‘Let yourself go’, a popular campaign for Kangaroo Island that courted controversy six months ago after revelations that celebrities were paid to tweets positive things about the island and the ad.

Domestic holiday makers are 41% more likely to visit Kangaroo Island after seeing the ad – directed by Jeffrey Darling with music by Eddie Vedder – while this metric rose by 52% among the campaign’s main target market of ‘high-yield experience seekers’.

Awareness of the ad in Sydney and Melbourne was measured at 29%, with 68% of the target market describing it as having “high appeal”.

The survey was conducted by BDA Marketing and Planning among 3,244 people in person from April this year, when the campaign broke, through to July.

SATC has not released any data yet on the number of holiday bookings on Kangaroo Island as a result of the campaign.

Celebrity chef Matt Moran’s tweet about KI ad

SATC’s agency, KWP! Advertising, told Mumbrella that of the tweets that followed the cash-for-tweets exposé, only 2% of them were “particularly negative”.

An agency spokesperson said: “Looking at all the tweets and comments around the twitter issue, we found that only about 2% were particularly negative and, overall, it actually just boosted discussion about the campaign.”

“In this way, it probably helped lift awareness of the island. So we feel that, on balance, the issue actually turned out to be more of a positive than a negative,” she said.

At the time of the exposé, uncovered by Media Watch, KWP!’s managing partner defended using celebrity tweeters, saying: “Endorsement by celebrities has been going on since advertising began. Paris Hilton walks around with a Gucci handbag, but no one expects her to say I’m being paid to carry this. If we were to recruit everyday Aussies, that would be misleading.”

The campaign also involved an episode of MasterChef filmed on Kangaroo Island, which resulted in 46% of those surveyed saying there were now considering a holiday on KI.

The media strategy was developed by Ikon Adelaide, which formed a partnership with KWP! earlier this year. Other media in the campaign included editorial projects with Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine as well as social media activity.

KWP! is now working on campaigns for South Australia’s Barossa Valley and Flinders Ranges, but celebrity tweets are not part of the campaign strategy, KWP!’s managing partner John Baker has said.


  1. Circling sharks
    9 Oct 12
    11:47 am

  2. Yeah, see, all this sounds good. But read a little deeper and really all this is is yet another misuse of ‘research’ in advertising. All this press release manages to quote are metrics like ‘more likely to’ and ‘considering to’, which is code for we asked people what they thought they’d do, or worse, think they remembered. I’m sorry research company, but self reported data is worthless, totally and utterly worthless. People often say and do totally different things. The only metric worth a press release would have been ‘seen an uplift in actual bookings’ or similar. But that sort of sta is nowhere to be seen here. Now I’m not saying the ads aren’t working, they might be. But if you’re the person who paid for this research, ask for your money back. It tells you nothing of value.

  3. Billy C
    9 Oct 12
    12:05 pm

  4. If someone asked me if I was more likely to visit Kangaroo Island after seeing the ad I would say yes. The chances of me flying to South Australia to visit it are still pretty much 0.

  5. Dabug
    10 Oct 12
    1:01 pm

  6. Sharks & Billy have got it – intent and action are two different things. Also, I question the 2% negative publicity. Really? When I heard about the cash for comment the pristine nature of the ad really took a hit and I lost the emotional attachment from then on in.