Where The Wild Things Are-inspired Kangaroo Island ad prompts growth in searches

An ad by the South Australian Tourism Commission to promote Kangaroo Island has resulted in an increase in searches for the destination on South Australia’s tourism website.

Two weeks after ‘Let yourself go’ launched on 22 February, searches for Kangaroo Island on southaustralia.com had increased by 208 per cent, the SATC told Mumbrella. However, it did not disclose what the actual number of searches was.

John Baker, managing partner of KWP! Advertising, the Adelaide agency that made the ad, has called it “probably the most beautiful thing we’ve ever created.”

The TV ad, which is running on free to air and pay TV, is being supported by outdoor and indoor cinema, along with newspaper, magazine and digital.

The ad features the music of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder in the track ‘Rise’. Copyright restrictions prevent the ad from being viewed on southaustralia.com by anyone outside Australia and New Zealand.

David O’Loughlin, director of marketing and communications, South Australian Tourism Commission said in statement: “Our latest campaign shines the light on Kangaroo Island in a way that we haven’t before and is about making people in the Eastern states aware of it as an unrivalled holiday destination. KI is a place for escape and where people can reconnect with the simple pleasures that are overlooked in the stress of everyday life.”

O’Loughlin said it was too early to determine the impact the ad has had on tourist visits to KI.

It was O’Loughlin’s idea to use an allusion to the famous children’s book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, which was made into a film directed by Spike Jonze in 2009.

Hence the boy in the ad dressed in a kangaroo costume.

‘Let yourself go’ was directed by Jeffrey Darling, an Aussie stills photographer turned director of photography turned director known for his commercial work for Diner’s Club, BMW, Boeing, Maybelline, Jaguar and Volvo. Darling was also DOP for the shoot. It is his first tourism ad.

‘Let yourself go’ credits:

  • Creative Director: James Rickard (KWP!)
  • Producer: Di Willson (KWP!)
  • Production: KOJO / Moth Projects
  • Executive Producer: Barbara Devlin (KOJO)
  • Director:  Jeffrey Darling
  • Producer: Kate Sawyer (MOTH)
  • Offline Editor: Adam Wills
  • Online Editor: Marty Pepper (KOJO)


  1. Me
    10 Mar 12
    2:59 pm

  2. Wonderful.

    10 Mar 12
    5:36 pm

  4. we are 24 hours to go to our second visit to KI. A well kept secret from the world and Australia. Just turn on some goodmweathers

  5. JP
    10 Mar 12
    7:52 pm

  6. Brilliant piece of creative. Well done!

  7. fraser
    10 Mar 12
    8:20 pm

  8. Beautiful

  9. I smell bullshit
    10 Mar 12
    11:13 pm

  10. What evidence is there that the ad has quadrupled traffic? Did mumbrella see evidence and ask the appropriate (and obvious) questions? How does mumbrella know it was the ad creative and not the media strategy/investment or other influences that drove the lift in traffic? These “articles” that attribute outcomes to creative without any interrogation irk me. Mumbrella risks tarnishing its credibility if it blindly regurgitates PR as fact.

  11. mumbrella
    11 Mar 12
    4:16 pm

  12. Hi ISB,

    You make a fair point. In fairness to SATC, we drew too many conclusions based on a fairly innocuous quote from the organisation after we asked how the campaign was going. They didn’t come to us seeking that particular piece of PR.

    We’ve now rewritten the piece to tone down our hyperbole a little.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  13. Just sayin'
    11 Mar 12
    6:53 pm

  14. I’d say the allusion to ‘Where the wild things..’ is very very subtle, verging on completely unnoticeable.

    I think this ad is really nice, but it is JUST a great song set to some nice pictures, nothing more, nothing less. Hardly strategically ingenious.

    It just goes to show, beautiful music and picture are pretty bloody persuasive.

  15. I smell bullshit
    11 Mar 12
    10:20 pm

  16. Thanks for the follow up Tim.

  17. Sally Loane
    12 Mar 12
    2:18 pm

  18. Does anyone know the track and the artist in the Kangaroo Island ad now showing?

  19. Robin Hicks
    12 Mar 12
    2:36 pm

  20. Hi Sally,

    The track is called ‘Rise’, sung by Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam.

    Robin – Mumbrella

  21. Tim Riches
    12 Mar 12
    2:47 pm

  22. Not many ads genuinely create a sense of unique place, atmosphere and experience – the hard currency of tourism. This one does, I reckon, and in a more inclusive and accessible way than the other strong contender “Play Melbourne”. Very nice. The print (eg the SMH wrap from a couple of weeks ago) really pales in comparison though – no surprise.

  23. Sally Loane
    12 Mar 12
    3:00 pm

  24. Thanks Robin – Pearl Jam slipped neatly between my age demographic and that of my teenagers which is why I didn’t recognise it! Great track though. Is it from a solo album?

  25. ronnie B
    12 Mar 12
    3:01 pm

  26. Inspiration ?? or theft ??

  27. Sally Loane
    12 Mar 12
    3:15 pm

  28. Just Googled – got all info I need, thanks

  29. Vic
    12 Mar 12
    4:26 pm

  30. I suspect the search increase comes from people wanting to know what the song is…if you have a look at Google’s most searched ad for last year it was the Strongbow ad because of people wanting to know what the song was (Young Blood – The Naked and Famous)

  31. Bret
    12 Mar 12
    5:51 pm

  32. I like it as a promo for deadliest catch:

  33. goodone
    13 Mar 12
    10:50 am

  34. This is soooo good. Well done to all involved, sometimes these things don’t need to be complicated.

  35. parrotheadgirl
    13 Mar 12
    10:40 pm

  36. I agree Goodone – this is just a really “lovely to look at” ad – I turn to the TV every time I hear it start up and it did lead me to this website/article to find out more. I think they have probably achieved what they set out to do.