Another week and another Facebook brand crisis. This time the brand that’s been hijacked is Tourism Australia and making matters worse, it’s been duped by arch rival Tourism New Zealand, according to Australian trade publication B&T.
Yesterday (April 1 down under) Tourism Australia launched a $150 (AUS) million advertising campaign called “There’s Nothing Like Australia” in which it aimed to tap into that whole user-generated content thing by inviting people to visit a dedicated microsite and “upload a photo of your most unique and memorable Aussie holiday experience.”
All very social I think you’ll agree, (even overlooking the fact that nearly every tourism authority does this type of campaign and no-one can upload anything until April 15). But Tourism Australia appeared to forget the first rule of social media marketing – you have to be where your social media community is rather than expect them to come to you. That left cheeky Tourism New Zealand to jump into the social void and establish a Twitter account titled “NothinglikeAus“, a similarly named Flickr account and a Facebook page called “Nothing like Australia… Welcome to New Zealand” which featured this message: “love from your friendly neighbours, New Zealand.”
Not to be outdone some other individual quickly set up a parody blog called Nothing Like Australia.net featuring spoof Tourism Australia ads, including one of the late Steve Irwin tangling with a crocodile while holding his baby accompanied by this tagline: “There’s nothing like taking your child to work.”
Within hours New Zealand’s prank was over. The Facebook page was removed, the Flickr accounts sits dormant while the Twitter account points back to Tourism Australia. On its own site Tourism New Zealand wrote: ‘‘So, April 1st is almost over… Thanks to Tourism Australia for having an great sense of humour. We’re looking forward to handing over this page to them real soon. Cheers to everyone for sharing the fun. ~ Love NZ,’’ the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The independent parody blog remains however.
Ultimately all this publicity may well be good for Tourism Australia but for the moment the war of the word of mouth seems to have been won by the Kiwis. As one Tweeter posted: “LOL-I’m actually enticed to visit New Zealand after their latest stunt.”"