“The people we’re trying to tap into are essentially community influencers,” says the Visit Canberra director.
“The more successful bloggers are the ones who stay true to being authentic; they’re not in the advertising world, they’re in the storytelling world and in their communities, they’ve become a very trusted source of information.”
Hill says that at the same time as 2012’s “Human Brochure” participants from interstate were swanning around on the ACT taxpayer’s dime, they actually snapped more than 5000 photos and composed countless positive messages about our fair city, all seen by millions of people, and the important thing, says Hill, is they were genuine.
“It’s really about authentic experiences being shared through a group of people with significant social media reach,” he explains.
Being genuine is often said to be the key to effective marketing and the local tourism body has picked up a swag of awards including an Australian Tourism Award for destination marketing this year.
The “101 Humans” equals one social-media savvy human from Canberra for each year the city has existed, each inviting a plus-one to experience some of what our region has to offer in terms of arts and culture, food and wine, family friendly and/or nature-based activities.
“They get to match their interstate friend or relative to the things they like to do, so if you like mountain biking, you can do a guided tour with [Canberra’s own six-time gold medal winning Paralympian skier and cyclist] Michael Milton at Stromlo Forest Park, or if you like arts and culture you can get a behind the scenes tour at the National Gallery, so you will get these experiences matched to the things that you’re personally interested in,” Hill explains.
The new campaign has four phases, which will be drawn out over the year. In the first, the 101 lucky locals will get to discover things they didn’t already know about the city they call home.
“We’re going to showcase to them some of the best experiences their home town has to offer,” says Hill. “We are going to be making them world-class ambassadors, so some of those discovery-phase activities could be behind-the-scenes tours of places like Poachers Pantry, the Australian War Memorial, Questacon or the National Portrait Gallery, or it could be a Mount Majura wine tasting with French black truffle brie.”
As well as being a great “prize” for the “101 Humans” and their interstate guests, he says, this also ensures “they can talk about the experiences with real conviction and first-hand knowledge”, creating marketing content with a far stronger whiff of authenticity, albeit with a small risk of some being less than flattering.
Since few locals know much about Canberra’s hotels, for obvious reasons, the local accommodation industry is going to show the chosen 101 around some of their latest properties during the discovery phase, and they’ve also chipped in free accommodation for when their guests arrive in October and November (travel costs are not included).
The recruitment closes April 10 with the 101 participants announced by the end of April, the fun of the discovery phase runs through May and June and the VIP events will be organised to catch the spring weather in October and November.
Apply to be one of the “101 Humans” at 101humans.com.au