Second phase PR: Hit or miss?

Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign has rightly been hailed as the best PR campaign in recent years; wiping the floor at awards ceremonies across the globe and heralded as setting a new standard in the PR industry.   

The campaign itself, by Australian agency CumminsNitro (now Sapient Nitro), proved the power of a simple, well-timed good idea. It captured the attention of the world, and the possibilities that the competition presented brought a quick smile to even the most downbeat-recession faces.

It’s disappointing then that such a successful campaign has fallen into the trap of so many great ideas – attempting to recreate its laurels by launching a second phase. The announcement that island caretaker Ben Southall is now looking for “four mates” to keep him company reeks of a campaign that is attempting to trade on its former glory.

Don’t be mistaken, second phase PR has its place and it is important to factor in an element of follow up into the lifespan of any campaign. However, this latest announcement makes the organisation come across as ‘milking a concept for all it’s worth’, as travel site Travelmole terms it. In launching a second phase as part of this campaign, Tourism Queensland has undermined the power and potency of its original idea. Had they come out with an entirely new and fresh campaign that didn’t attempt to squeeze every last drop of media coverage out of its original concept, the organisation would have achieved a reputation for being continuously innovative and pushing the boundaries for ways in which to market the product.  After all, when you’re tasked with promoting a product like that, the possibilities seem endless.  (A school tramping trip in the Outback anyone? Or what about a graduation party on Whitehaven beach?)

You will never be able to emulate the success of a campaign such as the ‘Best Job in the World’ by regurgitating the same idea in a slightly revised format. And PROs and organisations should never try.  Instead, they should focus on upholding their reputation as an idea-driven agency that pushes the boundaries and constantly brings a fresh approach to the table. Some will undoubtedly be better than others, but your reputation for consistently developing great ideas will at least remain intact.

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