Victoria shifts focus to regional areas with new tourism push three years in the making

Instagram Influencers will be a key to Visit Victoria's new Wander campaign

Instagram Influencers will be a key to Visit Victoria’s new Wander campaign

Victoria has launched a $3m push to convince tourists to “Wander Victoria” in a campaign that focuses on the state’s 11 regions and aims to draw Melburnians and state-border dwellers to some of its undiscovered wonders.

The campaign, created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, has been three years in the making and plays to a state government plan to get locals to make the most of their own state and to get tens of thousands of new Victorian residents each year to spend more on the local tourism economy.

At the same time the campaign launch has be used as an opportunity to promote the new rebranded tourism body Visit Victoria, announced by the Victorian Government last year.

Clemenger’s campaign features a group of friends finishing lunch at a vineyard, with one of the group announcing “I think I’ll walk”.

Joined by his mate, the pair wander through a vast array of Victorian tourism destinations while they ponder questions such as “would you prefer to have an extra eye or an extra hand?”.

The quirky approach finishes with the bizarre challenge: “You know you can’t lick your elbow”.

Visit Victoria acting general manager regional, Melanie de Souza, told Mumbrella that the regional tourism market was in decline and the issue could not be ignored.

“We took stock of what is the largest tourism market in the state and it is the regional market and the intra-state market, we know it was in decline and we knew that we had to intervene,” said de Souza.

“We needed to re-engage with our Melburnians to remind them what is in their backyard.”

She said the push began with extensive research three years ago to understand what the root of the problem was – confirming what she said was obvious – that people were heading to destinations such as Bali ahead of local tourism destinations.

“Every year Melbourne has 90,000 new people that don’t have that family connection with regional Victoria and you have people today in technology-driven lives who need to be reminded there is an opportunity to ride the wave and make the most of looking after yourself.”

The answer was to “disconnect” and entice people to “Wander Victoria”, looking up from their screens and seeing the world that is literally on their doorstep.

In a rare move, rather than the state tourism marketing body taking full control of the campaign, all 11 of Victoria’s regional tourism bodies were engaged in the creation of the campaign to allow their unique needs to be heard and to also avoid the common criticism in tourism marketing at all levels that some had been left out – a particular challenge that Tourism Australia often faces.

Melanie de Souza

Melanie de Souza

De Souza said the result was where a regional attraction has not been directly represented in the campaign, they are happy that what they are offering has been.

While the campaign is supported by 2 minute, 60 second and 30 second ads – with the 2 minute to be shared online through social channels and the 60 aimed at cinema – the heavy lifting of the campaign will be handled by dozens of quirky 15 second vignettes that highlight various regional offers.

Each one is underpinned with slightly inane, often bizarre conversations between the two wanderers.

The tourism push is also supported by a dedicated Wander Victoria website.

While the choice of media channels had grown and changed over the three year gestation of the campaign, de Souza said having media engaged from the beginning is another important part of its development.

“The target audience we are talking to, lifestyle media, they are ahead of the curve and at the forefront of trends so for us getting people to do the advocating for regional Victoria is definitely going to be one of the key content strategies.”

The approach was highlighted by the presentation to regional tourism bodies in Melbourne on Thursday, where rather than inviting traditional media to preview the campaign, the focus was instead on leading Instagram influencers who were invited to see “Wander Victoria” for the first time.

“Today the power is with third parties to do that all important word-of-mouth we used to refer to in the ‘old days’,” she said.

“That is reliant today on all the new channels and we have Instagrammers embarking on our journey across regional Victoria who have massive followings – why would we not leverage that?” she said.

Recently Melbourne has been the focus of Victoria’s interstate push for tourists with the a campaign using periscope as a tool to promote the city.

Simon Canning

Simon Canning traveled to Melbourne as a guest of Visit Victoria.

Mumbrella’s Travel Marketing Summit returns in April. Click the link below to see the program and get your tickets.

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