Ah, 2009. Yeah, for the most part it’s been a year you’d like to forget. But though they may have been few and far between, there were some stellar things worth cheering about in the world of marketing. Here is a very short list of some of my favorites, arranged in a bronze-silver-gold kinda way. If you have your own list of kudos you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you.
Bronze: The Tourist Council of Queensland (Australia). This collection of tropical islands along the Great Barrier Reef is indeed a stunning destination. The “normal” way of promoting such a destination is to produce a stunning TV spot with great footage of all the cool stuff you can do there, then run the crap out of it on TV. The Council didn’t have a “TV budget” to work with, but it wasn’t about to let that get in their way. They created an online promotion inviting web site visitors to apply for the “Best Job in the World”—the position of “caretaker” of the islands.
In the words of their web site, “The Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef is a newly created position. There are a few minor tasks that need to be taken care of, but the most important duty is to report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) and let us know what’s taking place on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.”
This promotion was pretty much restricted to online and Social Media only, and generated more than 1.4 million application videos being uploaded to the Council’s site. Once the Caretaker was “hired,” fans were invited to follow his daily progress on his blog, creating year-round engagement. Most importantly, in a year when most destinations suffered double-digit declines, Queensland enjoyed its best tourist season ever.
Silver: The “smile” campaign from American Express. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a TV campaign with such a brilliantly simple concept, impeccable art direction and timeless music. Proof you don’t have to scream at someone to get his full attention.
Gold: All the contributors who made YouTube THE Social Media story of 2009. From Susan Boyle to the Evian Skating Babies to the Microsoft slip-n-slide to the lady who uploaded the home video of her sleep-walking dog (and to the creators of all the mash-ups that followed), the heroes of this emerging platform are many.
With broadband penetration now nearing 70%, and more than 88 million videos being upload just to YouTube every month, the computer and smart phone is becoming the “screen of choice” for many. Look for 2010 to be the “tipping point” in the video revolution, where video will play an important role across all Social Media platforms.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on who deserves to be named a “Marketing Hero of 2009.” Drop us a line.
And may you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Posted by Mickey