Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake have fronted today’s relaunch of Tourism Australia’s ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign, aimed at reinvigorating a struggling domestic tourism market as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease.
The M&C Saatchi-created campaign, filmed over Zoom, builds upon the ‘Holiday Here This Year’ platform launched in January, the first significant domestic marketing push since 2013 in response to the bushfires. Just a couple of weeks earlier, the $15m Matesong campaign starring Kylie Minogue was pulled; promoting Australia to Britain became unfeasible in the context of the bushfire crisis.
But a couple of months after Tourism Australia first asked locals to ‘Holiday Here This Year’, the pandemic’s impact closed not just international, but domestic, borders, and any kind of travel was rendered not only risky, but forbidden.
Tourism Australia’s chief marketing officer, Susan Coghill, acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on the industry, and said this reinvigorated marketing push is well-timed and much-needed.
“Tourism is a sector that has been severely impacted by the events of this year, but we haven’t gone quiet with our marketing,” Coghill said.
“In fact, we’ve been deliberating focusing on providing inspiration for people to dream and plan for travel in the future and now with the latest iteration of our Holiday Here This Year campaign we’re urging those Australians who can travel to book a domestic holiday and explore this incredible country of ours.”
Managing director Phillipa Harrison echoed the sentiment, adding that, in the lead up to summer, Australians who are able should plan a domestic getaway.
“This will be just the first of a series of initiatives that we will be implementing over the coming months to continue to drive as much domestic demand as possible, particularly to those regions and operators that are typically popular with international visitors,” Harrison said.
“Our goal is to try and get Australians travelling differently by using the Holiday Here This Year campaign platform to urge them to start ticking off their holiday bucket list or heading interstate for a trip of a lifetime, and in turn provide a much need boost especially to those areas most affected by the bushfires and COVID-19.”
Last night, Blake posted a teaser video to his Instagram account and reinforced that the ad is “the first sniff in a campaign of many elements we are so stoked to be part of, that will roll out over the next year or so”.
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🦘🦘🦘🦘🦘🦘🦘🦘🦘 Uh oh, guys, me and and @zotheysay are the new Ambassadors for Australia! Ok, sorry, no, slight correction, ambassadors for Tourism Australia. This is the first sniff in a campaign of many elements we are so stoked to be part of, that will roll out over the next year or so. As the country takes the first tentative steps to opening up and allowing travel, this is all about helping Aussies think about new places to go and experiences they might not have thought of, or maybe have been putting off. Make this coming year The Year! As well as a chance to create Gold Level family mems, your trip will help everyone across the tourism industry recover from a devastating double hit from bushfires and COVID. It’s a classic Win-Win. VICTORIANS! Don’t smash your phone screens, I get it, I’m in lockdown too. But it will end one day (you’d have to assume) so even though for Melbournians all we can do at the moment is build our dream trip in a word doc, at least it’s something we can begin to look forward to for when we emerge. And when it’s safe and the time is right, we are gonna SPRINT into that holiday and I can tell you, with official ambassadorial authority now, the people who run the caravan parks, tours, lodges, hotels, hikes, weird-water-powered-hover-board things, shops, bakeries etc cannot WAIT to host you. #holidayherethisyear #whenyoucan! #TAAmbassador #FriendsOfAustralia
While the teaser involves Blake narrating grand Australian landscapes and local vastness with his signature humour, the 60s TVC sees him and wife Foster-Blake – founder of Go-To skincare and author – planning a local trip.
While, in reality, that won’t be possible just yet – the duo are still under COVID-19 lockdown conditions in Melbourne – Blake noted Melburnians can “build our dream trip in a word doc” until “the time is right” to “SPRINT into that holiday”.
“It does feel special to be able to help promote our country because we love travelling, we love adventure, and we love Australia. So we can’t really think of anything that’s a better fit,” Blake and Foster-Blake said in a statement.
“We know everybody feels like a holiday right now so it’s not exactly a tough sell, but hopefully we can help to convince those people who were putting one off or had planned something overseas, to book a holiday here. Not only will they create incredible memories, they’ll be helping the tourism sector right across the country to bounce back.”
The campaign goes live nationally today across TV, radio, print, digital and out of home, and follows on from Tourism Australia’s livestream campaign to inspire Australians in May, during the height of widespread lockdowns, and a recently-released series of immersive videos targeted at international travellers to ensure Australia remains at the top of bucket lists.
The multi-channel roll out will be supported by content across Tourism Australia’s social media and digital channels, and through industry and content partnerships. The campaign will be implemented differently in each state, depending on local restrictions.
“After all that’s happened this year, Aussies deserve a holiday. Even if you can’t get out and see the country right now, it’s a great time to start planning all the things you could do when the world gets a bit more normal,” said M&C Saatchi’s executive creative director, Avish Gordhan.
“We couldn’t think of anyone more fitting than Australia’s favourite couple Hamish and Zoe to encourage Aussies to think about getting out there again, enjoying the wonderful experiences in our backyard, and, importantly, helping the tourism industry and the country recover in the process.”
Tourism Australia has also launched a new COVID-19 travel portal to accompany the marketing push, and promised to continue providing information and inspiration.
Federal Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, noted that the tourism industry employees one in every 13 Australians, and with international borders closed indefinitely, it’s up to locals to prop up the struggling industry.
“With interstate travel now possible to many parts of Australia, there isn’t a better opportunity than right now for Aussies to book a plane ticket, head to an interstate destination and help save a tourism business or the job of a fellow Australian,” Birmingham said.
“We are urging Australians to support our airlines and airports, tour operators, hire car companies and accommodation providers, while also giving people the chance to enjoy some of the incredible experiences our country has to offer.
“With our international borders expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future and the summer holidays only a couple of months away, this is a shout out to all Australians who are in a position to do so, to try something new and consider booking a holiday to a destination within Australia they have never been to before.”