Tourism Australia has embraced the latest in virtual reality (VR) and 360 mobile technology as part of its latest marketing push, focusing on Australia's aquatic and coastal experiences, in a bid to lure more international visitors to Australia.
The new creative, the latest instalment in Tourism Australia's global There's Nothing like Australia campaign via Clemenger BBDO Sydney, was officially unveiled at an event in New York on Australia Day eve attended by Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon. Julie Bishop.
Tourism Australia managing director, John O'Sullivan, said the new campaign would focus upon one of Australia's key competitive advantages.
Says O'Sullivan: "Already 70 per cent of our international visitors enjoy an aquatic or coastal experience as part of their trip to Australia, so this is a campaign we know will resonate strongly across all our key markets.
"While Australia is known for its natural beauty, the world still doesn't have a full appreciation of the breadth, depth and quality of our aquatic and coastal experiences. They've always been an important part of our destination story but they've never before taken centre stage."
O'Sullivan said that Hemsworth's voiceover for the new broadcast ad would provide an authentic and influential Australian voice to help tell Australia's story.
Says Hemsworth: "I have always been so proud to be Australian and it's a pretty special feeling knowing that I will have a role in promoting my country to the world and encouraging more people to come down under and experience our amazing beaches and landscapes for themselves."
A range of new assets, developed by Tourism Australia with its global creative agency Clemenger BBDO, will help bring the country's aquatic and coastal experiences to the fore and demonstrate to the world that Australia is 'a place you feel'.
Tourism Australia chief marketing officer, Lisa Ronson said the campaign would be brought to life using the most comprehensive range of assets ever featured as part of a Tourism Australia campaign - including ground-breaking virtual reality (VR) technology and compelling user generated content (UCG) on a size and scale never before seen in destination marketing.
Says Ronson: "The world of destination marketing is increasingly competitive. We have to constantly push ourselves to find new ways to gain a competitive edge in the global travel market.
"Australia has always had the advantage of being a highly desirable destination. The challenge is how to create a sense of urgency to visit that counters those perceived barriers such as time, distance and cost.
"This campaign has been designed to be incredibly immersive and capture what it feels like to be in Australia and to experience for yourself being on, in or near the water.
"By using VR and 360 technology we hope to inspire prospective travellers considering Australia for their next holiday and get them to take that crucial next step towards making a booking."
Helping to deliver the campaign, Tourism Australia with Clemenger BBDO Sydney and FINCH, the respective creative and production agencies, partnered up with Vrse.works, international leaders in VR and 360 content creation.
Says Paul Nagy, executive creative director, Clemenger BBDO Sydney: "Being tasked with telling the world about the country you love is a great honour indeed (and a bit scary if I'm honest). I absolutely believe there's nothing like Australia, and it is a place you feel like no other. From the sand between your toes, the clean air in your lungs, the sun on your back, to the warm, welcoming people and culture. We've tried to deliver that feeling through this work.
"The film tries to capture it visually, and I think Chris Hemsworth did an amazing, heart-felt job of giving it a voice. The 360 degree experiences are just about the closest you can get to feeling this amazing country without actually being there."
Using more than 40 cameras, eight unique 360 camera rigs and three drones to make the campaign's 17 edits of the 360 degree films and 2D content, Tourism Australia's latest campaign takes viewers through over a dozen distinct aquatic and coastal experiences representing every Australian state and territory.
Experiences featured in the campaign include a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles; swimming in Sydney Harbour; snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef; kayaking through Katherine Gorge; driving on the beach in South Australia; cycling around Lake Burley Griffin; sailing through the sparkling blue waters of Rottnest Island; and walking the recently opened Three Capes Track in Tasmania.
International award-winning director, Nic Finlayson said the shoot represented the largest and most complex film and virtual reality project ever undertaken to capture Australia's aquatic and coastal experiences in ways never seen before.
Says Finalyson:"I love this idea that Australia is a country you can feel. For me, it's the perfect relationship between tech and story - there is just no better way to explore extraordinary landscapes than this. The places are the hero, and the VR just gets us a lot closer to them, in terms of feel."
The VR footage can be viewed on multiple platforms, including mobile, using Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR apps.
Ronson said Tourism Australia's recently revamped consumer website australia.com would also provide an additional platform for the new campaign.
Says Ronson: "This campaign is about showcasing content produced by Australian tourism business, international visitors and Australians through our social and digital channels on a size and scale never before seen in destination marketing.
"Ultimately, it is about creating stronger linkages between consumers and tourism product and in turn converting the huge interest in Australia into more visits."
Tourism Australia will spend A$40 million over the next six months rolling out the new creative - starting in the US with a joint campaign with Virgin Australia and then across other key international markets, including the UK, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and New Zealand.