• Tue. May 16th, 2023

South Australian tourism campaign to promote state slammed

A South Australian tourism campaign has been labelled “embarrassing” after it paid influencers to flip the misconception that the state is “boring”.

The South Australia Tourism Commission (SATC) partnered with marketing firm Komodo to host a TikTok creator camp in the state last year.

Chloe Grayling, Adele Maree and the Mescia twins, who together have millions of followers, were among the 12 influencers invited on a four-day trip to visit the state’s oceans, rolling hills and wildlife.

Locations included McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills wineries, an oyster tour in Coffin Bay and strawberry picking at Beerenberg to promote the state and experience “the very best that SA has to offer”.

Some of the influencers began their clips with the caption: “Ready to run amok in the most boring state ever? There’s not really much to do in Adelaide is there?”

It was then followed by footage proving that SA is the complete opposite – with photos and video showing it’s an amazing and interesting place to visit.

The Tourism Commission said: “A diverse mix of 12 creators landed in SA to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip filled with personalised itineraries showing them the very best that SA has to offer.”

However, it has been slammed by opposition deputy leader John Gardner as missing the mark.

“I understand we’ve got to explore new ways to market South Australia to the rest of the world, but I’m not convinced having a dozen influencers calling us ‘the most boring state ever’ is the right way to do this,” he said in a statement.

Mr Gardner questioned how much was spent on the “trip of a lifetime” and how South Australians benefited from it.

“What money was returned to SA for these influencers to ‘run amok in the most boring state ever’?” he asked.

“I’m sure many South Australians who are struggling to pay their power bills and other everyday necessities wouldn’t appreciate their taxpayer dollars going towards TikTokers running amok and calling us boring.

“[Premier] Peter Malinauskas and [Tourism Minister] Zoe Bettison need to come clean with South Australians and reveal how much taxpayer money was spent on treating 12 TikTok creators to a luxury jaunt.”

Following backlash from the opposition, the SATC explained the idea of the campaign was to flip on its head a trending social media notion that SA was boring, according to the Adelaide Advertiser.

“This form of content typically performs well on TikTok – trending audio is the most important driver of viral content on the platform,” they told the publication.

“The audio of a young man (interviewed with critical comments about SA on TV) already going viral on social platforms at the time, was repurposed and flipped to showcase the best of South Australia and challenge negative, outdated perceptions.”

‘Greater transparency’ needed for Tourism Commission

Meanwhile, earlier this year the SATC paid for 30 social media influencers and media personalities to attend an exclusive Sam Smith concert held at McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg Cube winery earlier this year.

The State Government reviewed the event after questions and concerns were raised about the commission’s marketing campaign, the ABC reported.

The review found the SATC should have a “greater level of transparency” when choosing which social media influencers it engaged with.

According to the publication, figures released in the review showed the influencers reached 2.4 million people, while the television advertisements reached 8.3 million people and the national radio competition reached six million listeners.

SA Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison said the advertising value equivalent of the campaign was $32 million, however the cost of attracting the event and the British pop star to SA remained “commercial in confidence”.

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