In 2009, Tourism Queensland outshone the big ad agencies by placing a job vacancy in a few carefully chosen news publications. The ad simply read, ‘“The Best Job in the World.” Live on in luxurious beach-front home, on a beautiful vacation island off the Greater Barrier Reef with an annual salary of $150,000 Austrialian/year. The only work: feed the fish, clean the pool and blog about it.’. In doing so, the campaign received what is estimated to be worth more than $80 Billion US in free publicity with more than 6,000 news stories worldwide. The web site received more than 4 million hits an hour on day one of the campaign, more than 1.4 million applicants for the job, and nearly 3.4 million unique visits to the web site over 6 weeks.
Additionally, the campaign harnessed social media networks to whittle down and follow applicants in a “Survivor” style elimination process. This created a series of a hooks for those applicants, that had them coming back and back to the website and importantly had them talking to their friends about the progress or otherwise of their application. What indeed was happening, was that Tourism Queensland had cleverly disguised a competition prize as a legitimate occupation.
What this example shows and reinforces, is that by engaging individuals imagination, building rapport and engaging them in a process, as oppose to simply pitching at them, the result can be much more effective. Public relation building, as oppose to advertising.