Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Island of Social Media

I just read a great story on MSNBC about the power of social media.

Tourism Queensland, an Australian state's tourism bureau, invited entrants to submit videos explaining why they should be chosen as the caretaker of an island on the Great Barrier Reef.

The winner of "The Best Job in the World" is to spend six months exploring the reef and report on the experience via blogs, a photo diary, video updates and interviews.

As if that's not enough, he also gets about $110,000 in salary.

Nearly 35,000 video entries were received and news of the event was amplified throughout the blogosphere.

And while the number of entries was impressive, consider this: Tourism Queensland calculates that the $1.7 million it spent on the campaign translated to about $110 million in global publicity.

"This is probably the first time that a campaign has achieved this sort of reach with so little advertising spend other than a few strategically placed job ads around the world," said Australian marketing analyst Tim Burrowes, editor of media and marketing Web site Mumbrella.

"This has all been about the power of people passing things on, largely through YouTube. The main lesson to be learned here is that if you have an original, exciting idea that gets people talking you don't need to spend huge on advertising."

The winner of the contest is Ben Southall, of Britain (shown in the photo above).

But the real winner may be the allure of social media.



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