Tourism Queensland discovered that it takes more than the gushing of the advertising industry to ensure a high profile marketing campaign was actually worthwhile.
Launching in early-2009, unfortunately just as the global economic crisis kicked in, Best Job in the World and its various offshoots captured the imagination of marketers for its cross-platform approach and original idea, but visitor numbers to the Australian state did not mirror the enormous praise it received in numerous quarters.
Which is a shame.
But it does beg the question as to whether so-called innovative marketing campaigns, which are said to hit potential consumers in many channels and get huge mainstream media attention, actually make a significant difference compared to "traditional" methods such as long-term efforts through PPC, SEO, above-the-line advertising and others?
A relatively recent viral from MySwitzerland, the consumer-facing website from the Swiss tourism authorities, is called Holidays Without Internet and is, once again, a prime example of a campaign which captured the attention of many blogs, marketers outside of the travel industry and consumers.
First of all, the premise of what looks initially like a promotional video is funny - two elderly farmers from the sticks visit a Swiss town on their tractor, but just when the viewer thinks the clip will focus on stereotypes of a demographic not in tune with the web, both men walk into a cafe and open up their Apple notebooks.
Immediately, the pair start talking via the chat tools on Facebook, making quips about the inevitably rather attractive waitress and if she'll become a "friend".
And then the clever bit starts.
The men invite the viewer to connect with them on Facebook. If the viewer agrees (the two men wait patiently for the user to click the Facebook Connect button)
Once connected, the farmers start looking around the user's Facebook profile...
Checking how many "friends" a user has...
And browsing through the image pages...
Before uncovering the most brutal element of the whole thing - how much time the user spends on Facebook every day (tapping into the API). Which leads nicely into the point of the campaign: the user should be getting away from the internet and enjoying some piece and quiet...
Clearly the cleverest part of the entire campaign is the integration of the user's Facebook content into the film. It's very slick and smartly done.
But back to the question: would the user be compelled to research more on the MySwitzerland website to find out where those out-of-digital-reach places are?
Possibly - but not guaranteed. What is most likely is the user would simply send on the link to try it out to their friends or share, inevitably, on Facebook.
NB: For the record, the author does NOT spend 2.67 hours a day on Facebook - just leaves the window open to monitor the Tnooz Fan Page :)
NB2: MySwitzerland was showcased at the ENTER2012 conference in Helsingborg, Sweden.