After another highly successful Effie Awards this year, we caught up with Alistair Tavares, Destination Development Manager at Ipswich City Council, to chat about the Council’s two Silver Effie Awards and why all marketers and advertisers, not just big, household-name brands, should strongly consider entering the Effies in 2020.

TCC: How did you come to hear about the Effie Awards?
Alistair: I have known about the Effies for the past 15 years as I used to live in North America and it was a coveted award that I had always aspired to achieve. This is second year we entered. We got a bronze last year and two silvers this year.
TCC: What made Ipswich Council decide to enter this year?
Alistair: The project was significant for the city and it was important to recognise the multitude of stakeholders from multiple disciplines including staff and businesses that participated in this significant project.
The uptake in consumer engagement and immediate positive impact on businesses told us we were onto a winner.
TCC: Could you briefly describe how the ‘Discover Ipswich’ campaign was developed?
Alistair: One night at a dinner conversation I was talking to my kids about ‘Flinders Peak’, and it being the tallest peak in the Brisbane region and taller than the glass-house mountains and it is one of the most challenging hikes I had experienced.

My youngest who is 7 years pulled up Google maps on his iPad and asked me to show him and while I pulled up the location he kept looking for the street level view. His words were “Dad if it’s not on Google Maps, it does not exist and you could not have done it”. 
That ‘aha’ moment at dinner took me over 8 months to convince Google the city would put the resources together to take over the heavy lifting to map the city but in doing so we would capture people’s minds by showcasing the journey to get there. Not knowing when we would get the Trekker we took the opportunity to develop the high-level plan and had multiple multiple stakeholders and businesses involved in the planning process.

As we planned more and saw the stakeholders get on board the team got excited and when the Trekker finally arrived we could put the plan into action. While we had a high-level plan it was important to note the team was in unchartered territory not having done anything similar but a can-do attitude, daily WIPs and constant communication got us through what turned out into one of the most successful underdog campaigns in Queensland. The rest as they say is history….
TCC: Why do you think the campaign has been so successful?
Alistair: Knowing our audience – We leveraged big data to identify and understand our target market of ‘short-break’ visitors from Brisbane and SEQ as offering the greatest potential for our visitor economy.

We knew they enjoyed outdoor activity and discovering new places so promoting our undiscovered locations would entail an overnight stay and build visitation. Our audience is digitally savvy so despite a modest budget, with the right idea we knew we could reach our target audience through online platforms.
Sell the experience first – We had to compete in a highly competitive regional market against some of Australia’s most dynamic tourist destinations and we had to fight market resistance from negative perceptions of Ipswich. ‘Human Wanted’ took followers to undiscovered locations that our audience wanted to visit and revealed them as Ipswich. A good idea is better than a big budget – Being first provides an edge and as the first to use Google Trekker technology for an entire region on Australia’s #1 most visited website is just the kind of idea that gets noticed by news media and social media audiences. We achieved cut through by creating a story without needing a traditional advertising campaign.
Involve your audience… be the story – By creating a challenge involving an adventure and a new technology, Ipswich tapped into an idea that resonated with our target market. Only one candidate would ultimately take on the challenge but we’d amassed a legion of followers who were with him every step. The places he visited were now places to visit.
Everything is an opportunity – Rather than wait a year to begin reaping the rewards of investing in this new technology we saw the space between development and activation as an opportunity to create an audience and make the development stage a campaign in itself.
TCC: How long has the campaign been running?
Alistair: The campaign was planned for 3 months but it was so successful we ended running it for 8 months as consumers  got involved and asked for additional places to be mapped that were not on our original plan.. 
TCC: How did you find the Effie Awards submission process?
Alistair: The process is comprehensive and rightfully so as the award is about showcasing the best of the best, ie striving to be making a significant difference. The process is good and focuses on the ‘why’.
TCC: Would you encourage other organisations to consider entering next year who are not necessarily ‘household name’ brands?
Alistair: Yes. You do not have to be a household name to do good work and make a difference. There are multiple people behind brands that do exceptional work and make a difference every day. Take the opportunity to enter your work next year.