The strategy behind Tourism Australia’s Dundee reboot

The strategy behind Tourism Australia’s Dundee reboot

Thirty years after his conception, Crocodile Dundee once again sparked hype leading up to Super Bowl LII. It was a dream come true, our beloved Australian icon would once again grace our screens promoting the land down under.

Anticipation grew exponentially in the two weeks before the game, gaining more popularity than Super Bowl heavyweights such as Pepsi and Budweiser. And this was done with just four trailers.

When the big day came around, audiences around the world had their eyes ready and waiting to see what will come next from the Crocodile Hunter. As the trailer kicked off it felt like this reboot, though very Hollywood, was going to be gracing our cinemas in the coming year.

And though it wasn’t the reboot we thought was going to happen, it definitely put all eyes on us.

Here’s how a government agency got the world talking about a fictional character.

Constructing their audience

Every great strategy starts with a goal, and according to Lisa Ronson, Chief Marketing Officer at Tourism Australia, and with the Dundee reboot their goal was to be “the number one desired … destination to visit by the US consumer, and secondly to increase the market value from $3.7b … to $6b [by] 2020.”

While in previous years Tourism Australia focused on promoting Australian tourism in the Southeast Asian market, the next target would be American consumers. And more specifically, affluent American consumers.

They needed to sell Australia as a long-haul, high-end destination and showcase what Australia has to offer. Due to the distance it was evident tourists would need a strong incentive to visit. This resulted in the core pillars of the campaign – art, sport, food and wine and nature.

Understanding what we want to sell, the big question now was how can we create curiosity? More importantly, be noticed?

It was decided that the Super Bowl was going to be the best location to advertise, with Lisa noting that it has more than 100 million viewers, 50% being their ideal demographic.

With the location and target set, now it just came down creating a concept that would speak to them.

A government agency gets creative

Drawing ideas from arguably the most famous Australian ad campaigns targeting Americans, Paul Hogan’s ‘Shrimp on the Barbie’, all signs were pointing to one thing – Australiana. It was the accent, our foreign culture and Australia’s unfamiliarity that grabbed US attention.

Why not do it again?

With the popularity of reboots in Hollywood, why not just ‘reboot’ Crocodile Dundee? The idea of Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home was born.

It received the tick of approval from Tourism Australia’s minister, CEO, stakeholders and brand partners as well as Australia’s brand ambassador Chris Hemsworth and a list of Australian actors wanting to get involved.

Though requiring $36 million, responses to the idea behind the scenes were very positive.

With the approval to move forward, Tourism Australia worked towards producing a campaign that would get the world talking. How often does a government agency get the freedom to make a fake movie with prized Australian actors? The Dundee reboot was a-go!

The result

The campaign was highly regarded as one of the best for Super Bowl LII, both Forbes and Adweek ranking it in their top lists competing against heavyweight companies such as Tide, Amazon and Pepsi.

Across social media the results were even more impressive, 80% being from US audiences:

  • 15,000 news articles
  • 102 million views across trailers, Doritos receiving 65 million
  • 250,000 social media mentions
  • 25,000 retweets on Twitter

For a government agency to spark such a conversation is a big step forward. Understanding the need to go where your audience is opens the door for further exploration in government campaigns.

Lisa shared that overall, for Tourism Australia and their brand partners, the social growth and online traffic exceeded original expectations, some experiencing double their current digital capacity.

With so much hype surrounding Dundee, this won’t be the end of our favourite character and if anything, it stands as an example of putting creativity in government campaigns. Maybe we’ll get another Dundee reboot next year…

Watch: Dundee Content Series

Listen to our exclusive conversation with Lisa Ronson, Chief Marketing Officer at Tourism Australia


Also published on Medium.


Donovan has a double degree in journalism and politics from the University of Canberra. Building his experience at contentgroup in writing, research and social media marketing, Donovan enjoys furthering his understanding of political theory and policy science.

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