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WATC markets nature shots

PUTTING the focus back on the environment is the thrust of the WA Tourism Commission’s latest advertising campaigns.

Supported by the Government’s $5 million in-crisis funding for the tourism industry following September 11, the WATC has produced two television campaigns and an extensive print and press campaign for our inter-national markets.

The new positioning line, Be Touched By Nature, sharpens the focus on the real hero of tourism in WA, the natural environment.

The total budget for the local, national and international campaigns has come in under $1 million, leaving a lot left over to get the ads on air, according to WA Tourism Commission chief executive Richard Muirhead.

The previous television campaign featuring Elle Macpherson made headlines in relation to Ms Macpherson’s fee.

Mr Muirhead said the advertisements only ran on television in the UK for about three weeks because of the high media cost.

The weak Australian dollar has forced the WATC to abandon television in the UK, leaving it to explore opportunities in print and press.

“We knew for a while that the research showed we needed to feature the State more,” Mr Muirhead said.

There is also the risk that a high profile identity will obscure what’s going on in the background, the real tourism sell.

In the highly competitive tourism market, Mr Muirhead felt the WATC needed to find an execution that really made WA stand out.

“We could use a personality and get more of the same but it wouldn’t allow us to differentiate ourselves,” he said.

And a beefed-up budget has allowed the WATC to produce two different television campaigns tailored for the local and interstate markets.

The Elle campaign built a profile for WA and the new campaigns build on those foundations, weaving in some new features, including the Internet and references to reality television.

“My view is we’ve now got a fantastic arsenal of marketing tools,” Mr Muirhead said

“What we tried to do was put some currency into it and I think you’ll find travel on the Internet is one of the high areas.

“People are booking airfares on the Internet. They don’t book packages, but they do their research on the Internet and then go to a travel agent to book.”

The $157,000 television campaign developed for the local market features home movies

of people enjoying holidays in

WA and includes a web-based competition to encourage Western Australians to send in their own digital holiday movies.

“We’re spending up to $800,000 on media for within WA, as related to last financial year when the spend was around $140,000,” Mr Muirhead said.

“It needs to be remembered that 50 per cent of our revenue comes from tourists from WA, so the largest part of our yield comes from residents of WA.”

The new television campaigns were developed by local advertising agency 303 and shot by production company Cyclops Films and Sauce Films using highlights of the natural environment to sell holidays in WA.

“We wanted the product to be the hero and it’s very difficult to do that with a personality with its own brand,” 303 managing director Stephen Wells said.

“We looked at a range of creative alternative or options and we tested in all markets.

“We’re extremely happy because they’re very well grounded in strategy.”

It is hoped the campaign for the local market will produce natural advocates for holidays in WA.

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