Using humour to attract Aussies to Chch
Quirky campaign to lure Aussies to ChchALAN WOOD
Australians are being challenged with trans-Tasman humour to visit earthquake-damaged Christchurch after a dramatic fall in leisure numbers.
A quirky $1.2 million marketing campaign featuring Mayor Bob Parker is being launched today in Australia, with new images of the city to replace those from the dark days of February 22 last year when destruction was shown around the world.
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism wants Australians to see the Garden City in a different light.
Recent additions such as events organisation Gap Filler and the Re:Start container shopping mall will be used in the Christchurch Reimagined campaign.
Australia is New Zealand's top visitor source, but numbers to Christchurch have fallen dramatically as a result of earthquake worries.
Before the quakes in 2010 there were about 203,000 holiday arrivals from Australia to Christchurch, but that number dropped 43 per cent to 111,000 in 2011-12, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism (CCT) chief executive Tim Hunter said.
So while visitors from New Zealand's other source markets were rising, the primary Australian market was still to show an improvement.
"Most of them are on a good sustained recovery path, but the big one that isn't is Australia [with numbers still declining]," Hunter said.
Parker, knowing that Australians are big-hearted people who love such icons as the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour and the Big Merino at Goulburn, has come up with an idea of bringing the Big Pineapple (located near Nambour) to Christchurch to lure Aussies here.
It is hoped the tongue-in-cheek promotional clips, to be hosted on CCT's website, will be picked up as part of the social media phenomenon and appear on Facebook and other web-based pages.
The second part of the campaign, involving streaming of new images of Christchurch to the Australian public via online platforms and electronic billboards, will be launched on October 22 and run until the end of November.
Tourists can take photos or make and post them to the CCT site via Instagram and Twitter by using the #chch tag.
Hunter and CCT marketing manager Rowan Townsend said recent surveys indicated many Australians still regarded Christchurch with caution, worried that it was inappropriate for them to visit the quake-hit city where there was little to do.
To help bring Australians back, CCT was working with airline Jetstar to offer discounts alongside the fun marketing campaign.
"In terms of the cultural aspect, we're really trying to play up the Kiwi-Aussie banter. We want to displace some of the sympathy and negativity that's evoked around [Christchurch] and turn that into humour," Hunter said.
In the year to June 2013, CCT aimed to "win back 12,000 of the 40,000 holiday arrivals that had been lost", he said.
Episode two below:
- © Fairfax NZ News
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