Tourism NT uses mortality as campaign theme in bid to instil ‘sense of urgency’

Tourism Northern Territory has launched a marketing campaign warning consumers not to delay their trip to the Top End any longer – or their mortality may get in the way.

TV ads created by Common Ventures – one of 16 agencies on Tourism NT’s panel – show people lamenting how members of their family have “gone”.

It transpires they have “gone” to the NT.

Tourism NT director of domestic marketing Tony Quarmby said the campaign, unveiled last night and which maintain’s the territories Do the NT branding, is designed to instil a “sense of urgency” into consumers who want to go to the NT but have yet to visit.

He said the concept and tagline behind the creative – It’s About Time – followed research which identified “time”, or lack of it, as a key reason why people don’t act.

“This is targeted at people who have always wanted to go one day but have put it off. We wanted to impart a sense of urgency,” Quarmby said. “We have tried to be humorous by alluding to the fact that people have gone to a better place. The truth, of course, is that the better place they have gone to is the Northern Territory.

“We want to encourage people to go now and instil in them a feeling that they had better to go now otherwise it might literally be too late. But it’s all done in a humorous way.”

While many tourism agencies struggle to convert interest into actual bookings, Quarmby admitted the difficulty is “exaggerated” in the NT because people are less familiar with the destination than other Australian states.

“There is a perception that other destinations are easier to book because people know them better. We need to get the information to them that it’s not any harder to visit the NT, they just haven’t looked into it yet,” Quarmby said.

“The urgency is imparted through TV ads and when people go to the website they will find more information.”

He admitted the previous TV commercials had simply “not been noticed” by those considering a visit, with the new ads designed to jolt them into action.

“We needed to remove the sweeping landscapes, passive activities and operatic anthems and replace them with real and accessible experiences so that consumers can relate to the destination and be motivated to be a part of it,” the marketing boss said.

“In addition to making a visual departure from the norm, the strategic direction and creative execution also needed to leave audiences with a strong sense or urgency and a excitement to book a trip sooner rather then later.”

Common Ventures executive creative director Brian Merrifield said the ads are intended to “spark a pivotal behavioural change” in consumers by leveraging time as a motivator to book.

“The campaign is designed to prove that now is the best time to get away and and doubts you have can quickly be dispelled in a simple sentence – life’s too short,” he said.

The initial campaign will be in market for six weeks but will be extended over several months to target specific locations of the territory including Darwin, Alice Springs and Uluru.

Quarmby said its Do the NT branding, which launched in 2013, is expected to remain the central pillar of its marketing until 2020. Since the launch, the number of domestic visitors has climbed six per cent with awareness of the territory rising 50 per cent, he added.

“What we have found is that unless we are in market people just don’t think about the NT as a holiday destination so we now have an ‘always on’ approach.”

The media spend of $1.4m for the campaign has been handled by ZenithOptimedia with Sydney production house Milk Money and Darwin-based Simon Says involved with the production of the TV ad.

Meanwhile, Quarmby claimed the panel of 16 agencies appointed by Tourism NT earlier this year was “working well so far” and dismissed concerns it was a confusing structure.

He said Tourism NT has been “very upfront” about its intentions and insisted agencies had been “keen to jump onboard and collaborate with each other”.

“We are using different panel members for different areas of the business depending on what projects comes up,” Quarmby explained. “But it does mean they really have to work in collaboration with each other to get the best possible outcome.”

He said some projects will be put to tender among the 16 agencies – like the new campaign had been – while agencies may be hand picked for other work.

“This campaign we did throw it out to the agencies and we had select ones pitch. But with other campaigns we’ll know which agencies are best to deliver,” Quarmby said. “It depends on the size and complexity of the campaign.”

Steve Jones


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