Tourism Australia has placed bets on India’s cricketing fervour to attract the globetrotting Indian tourists to the continent. The tourism agency has collaborated with ESPNcricinfo to bring out a content series called UnDiscover Australia.
The initiative is pitched at high-value travellers across India and showcases some of the more unusual and remote attractions and experiences available to those coming into the country on holiday. The initiative is also aimed at breaking the stereotypes that tourists have about Australia.
The series, that would be weaved into the upcoming tour of the Indian cricket team to Australia, will be seen across ESPN’s digital platforms. The content initiative, to be hosted by Shibani Dandekar, will have interactions with Australian cricketers– Shaun Tait, Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge, Ed Cowan and Andy Bichel, who will talk about cricket, Bollywood, Australia, food, and much more.
Talking about what made Tourism Australia take the content route, John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia, said, “We think that Australia comes across better when it is told through a story. When you do an advertisement, you get the perception of a destination. You don’t necessarily get the story and the experiences, and personality as you do in content. So, that for me is the great thing about content – it brings out the personality of a destination, which an advertisement cannot do.”
The content will have shelf life and relevance beyond the series. This video series will be an integral part of ESPNcricinfo’s pre and post show called ‘Match-day’. Apart from this, a detailed long-form content created around each of the Australian city will be showcased natively across the ESPN network. To increase its reach further, a strong off-platform strategy has been planned around ESPNcricinfo’s social media platforms and curated videos on YouTube and other content syndication partners. The content series is expected to reach over 20 million fans across ESPNcricinfo and its off-platform extensions.
“Digital helps you to tell stories that are short and sharp. It’s anytime, anywhere and on-demand. We wanted a digital platform that is linked to cricket; we wanted a digital platform that we knew had credibility and authenticity with the cricket audience because we know how important they are for the Indian cricket audiences and Australian tourism. We had a great experience when we partnered with ESPN back in 2015 when we were doing some content around the World Cup. Shibani’s story is also a great one as someone who grew up in Australia, so we thought there was a great connection in her story and the country and we wanted to bring that out through our content series,” said O’Sullivan.
Jasdeep Pannu, Head of TV Initiatives, ESPN, believes that creating content for TV is time-consuming, expensive, and old fashion. While the advertisement on TV can be intrusive, content marketing is something consumers find interesting which also helps brands to find the right audience.
“We have created content that nobody is going to think of as intrusive content, nobody will skip it, it is built into the coverage. The landscape has completely changed in digital consumption and content marketing to me is not just inevitable, but the only way in which advertisers can effectively get their messages out. Whatever they create has to be content. It can’t be an intrusive content. Even Netflix and Amazon don’t have ads. So, how do you reach out to the digital audience? You can have an ad on YouTube and hope that your audience sticks to it, but if you are a smart advertisers, content marketing is your way to get to the right audience,” said Pannu.
“Finding creativity, partnerships, ideas, shared values is a challenging task. In Tourism Australia, it is a dream relationship because our values meet the kind of audiences that we serve and they are looking for, as cricket is a great match between these two countries. Ideation and distribution along with creative integration is a challenge and we solve it through this partnership,” said Pannu.
“For Tourism Australia, we are looking at an audience with high disposable income who consume English content, but going forward we will be looking at Hindi content. I think everybody will need to do that because there’s some kind of democratisation of bandwidth as it is reaching out to smaller markets. People are hungry for good content. Content doesn’t need to be different, but it ne to be in the language and tonality that they understand,” said Pannu.