Building a big billion dollar tourism brand through “Little Adventures”

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2020

Domestic tourism to Australia’s NSW Central Coast had fallen significantly over four years, largely due to negative perceptions of the region. This paper outlines how the area won back tourism revenue and increased market share in a multi-phase brand campaign that targeted Gen X and ‘Empty Nesters’. The approach used novel data analysis to distinguish claimed from actual behaviour (purchase behaviour), with insights gleaned informing the brand platform and a campaign spanning digital, TV, PR and outdoor. By inspiring ‘little adventures’ across the Central Coast, tourism revenues grew 22.7% in 2017-19 (compared to a target of 5%), contributing A$240m of additional tourism revenue over two years.

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Tourism plays such an important role in creating healthy economies for most of Australia’s regional areas. This is very much the case for the Central Coast. We had a big responsibility to make a real difference, to help start the process of reinvention for the entire region. The Coast’s poor reputation meant it was not somewhere you wanted to go to spend your precious holiday time. We knew we only had one shot at changing people’s minds about the Central Coast as a holiday destination and we didn’t have the budget to produce a mass media campaign. Plus, after a five year decline in tourism, our local operators were less than optimistic we could bring about a change of fortune. So, we definitely had some big hurdles to overcome. To get the industry on board we needed to adopt a more evidence-based approach from the outset. With data at its core, we were able to build a bullet-proof business case which gave operators the confidence to contribute more than we’d targeted for. Importantly this groundwork also meant we had identified a brand positioning that would go on to deliver the very real perception change we needed and incredible growth in tourism for the region. Thinking about specific learnings from this campaign I’m struck by the realisation that we’re in an industry obsessed by big one-off ideas, almost to the exclusion of anything else. We found that by applying the same degree of rigorous thinking to each and every aspect of a campaign, we were able to deliver exponential outcomes. We learned very much that the small details matter, and can make the difference to produce huge impacts – the legacy of which will help the region for years to come.

Russell Mills, Director, Industry Services & Partnerships
Tourism Central Coast

Winners 2020

Silver Winner

Best International (The Tim Broadbent Prize)


Building a big billion dollar tourism brand through “Little Adventures”


Central Coast


Tourism Central Coast



Principal Authors

  • Luke Brown - AFFINITY
  • Angela Smith - AFFINITY

Contributing Authors

    Credited Companies

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