Tourism Australia keeps with UM for media account

Tourism Australia has reappointed IPG Mediabrands Universal McCann (UM), to handle its global media buying services across 15 key markets, including Australia.

The appointment is for a five-year period from September 2021, structured as a three-year initial contract period with options for two further one-year extensions. It follows UM’s successful reappointment in 2018, after first winning the account in 2016 from Omnicom Group’s OMD.

Tourism Australia’s managing director, Phillipa Harrison said that while international travel is on hold it is vital Australia stays top of mind in its key source markets so that when borders reopen audiences are primed to book an Australian holiday.

“Paid media is necessary to ensure that Australia maintains a visible presence in its key markets and having a strong global media strategy is more important now than ever before, particularly as we work towards rebuilding tourism as swiftly as possible,” Harrison said.

“The international tourism market has always been highly competitive, but throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen consumer media consumption shift significantly and gaining cut through to the right audience is incredibly challenging, and as such our media placement needs to be both strategic and highly effective.”

Speaking about the appointment, Tourism Australia chief marketing officer, Susan Coghill, said: “We conducted a very thorough tender process and UM was the right choice for continued success. Their global strategy and demonstrated ability to adapt to an unpredictable environment will be instrumental to driving demand for Australia and supporting the industry’s recovery.”

UM Australia CEO, Anathea Ruys, said: “I am immensely proud of our UM team in retaining the trust and partnership with Tourism Australia.

“This partnership is so very strong, having endured the most testing of circumstances that could not have been imagined 18 months ago. We look forward to the future with total enthusiasm and focus on Tourism Australia’s opportunities and audiences in all domestic and international markets.”

UM also retained the Australian Government master media agency contract earlier this year. 

In June 2021, Tourism Australia’s digital ad spend reached the highest it had been since January 2020, with $1.7 million spent.

In February 2021, Tourism Australia kicked off a week-long tourism blitz, with the instalment of its Hamish Blake-fronted ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign, and in May 2021 rolled out the second phase of it of its campaign, ‘Epic Holidays’.

The $5 million, week-long campaign features creative from M&C Saatchi and media strategy by UM.

In 2018, Tourism Australia appointed M&C Saatchi as its global creative services agency for the delivery of its international and domestic marketing campaigns. The $65 million contract is for a three year term, with two optional one year extensions.

Despite this, Tourism Australia appointed Clemenger Group’s CHE Proximity in March 2021 to deliver a campaign, ‘Full On Holidays’, to support the Federal Government’s Tourism Aviation Network Initiative offering 800,000 half price flights. The project was saw CHEP paid $1.2 million.

At the time M&C Saatchi was in production for the delivery of our ‘Holiday Here This Year Epic Holidays’ campaign.

A Tourism Australia spokesperson told Mumbrella: “Given Tourism Australia’s current focus on the domestic-led recovery of the tourism industry, we have been producing an exceptionally high volume of work. Our global creative agency M&C Saatchi has been working on our Holiday Here This Year campaign and its latest iterations, featuring Hamish and Zoe.

“Given campaign activity to support the Federal Government’s announcement (11 March 2021) of 800,000 half price flights was outside the planned scope of work we had scheduled for March, and that it had to be turned around in a matter of weeks, a number of creative agencies were invited to pitch for this particular tactical activity. The pitch process was conducted in line with Australian Government procurement guidelines. CHE Proximity provided the best response to the brief and were selected accordingly.”

Tourism Australia has also announced the reappointment of Beijing Gridsum Technology, trading as Gridsum, for search engine marketing and search engine optimisation in China.

Gridsum has been appointed for a five-year period from September 2021, with the contract structured for an initial three-year period with options for two one-year extensions.

“Having an agency on the ground in China has proven invaluable to us over the past few years. Gridsum’s deep relationships and local knowledge will be critical to ensuring we continue to reach the right audience at the right time in a unique and media saturated market, such as China,” Coghill said.


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