The Sandra Leach Company Representation, PR, Marketing

Virtual Reality Campaign

BACKGROUND
As part of the ongoing partnership with Qantas and Tourism Western Australia, we had already secured extensive coverage of the historic non-stop flight from the London to Perth using the route launch, fare announcement and a countdown mechanism to generate fresh hooks. Ahead of the inaugural flight, we wanted to create another spike of coverage which focussed more on the destination and its extraordinary experiences to drive additional demand of this historic flight.

The challenge was to promote Western Australia as a must-visit holiday destination in a way that would not only secure national press coverage, but also catch the attention and imagination of the public.

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OBJECTIVES

  • Raise awareness of the experiences and key destinations in Western Australia
  • Generate widespread interest in the launch of the first ever non-stop flights from the UK to Perth
  • Generate high volume of positive media coverage over short period of time

 

STRATEGY
Commuting to work on a cold, winter Monday morning ranks amongst the most depressing day-to-day experiences, with many people claiming to suffer from S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) in the long winter months. In stark contrast, Western Australia (WA) boasts amazing weather and a wealth of beaches, islands and wildlife experiences. A world away from commuting on a grey British Monday morning. So, we partnered with Chiltern Railways to bring some WA sunshine to the commute and offered Londoners the opportunity to escape the daily grind through the power of virtual reality.


Following the UK's coldest spell in five years, we took over a train carriage en route to London and offered each commuter their very own VR experience in transit that transported them 'down under'. The VR films focussed on extraordinary experiences only available in WA including swimming with whale sharks at the world's longest fringing reef, Ningaloo Reef and meeting adorable quokkas on Rottnest Island to surprise and delight commuters enabling them to 'travel' without leaving their seats.


As well as creating an unforgettable experience for the commuters on that morning, this world-first was captured in fantastic photos and an engaging video pitched to media to generate creative and eye-catching headlines alongside the images of Western Australia and the commuters using the headsets. In addition, we added further depth and news interest to the campaign by enlisting Dr Darrel Greenhill from Kingston University who shared his insights on the future of travel entertainment – he predicted that it won't be long before wearing VR headsets on the train will be the norm.


To further extend the reach and drive interest in the destination into intent we secured Travelbag, a long-haul travel specialist, to act as a call to action. They created lead in WA packages mirroring experiences showcased in the films which were promoted through their website, newsletter and in-store digital posters as well as being distributed to commuters through flyers and shared with media. The VR heCreative1adsets were also taken on a tour for instore activation to give members of the public who read about it a chance to take part as well as help drive local footfall to stores and engage customers.

 

RESULTS
The campaign generated 194 articles with an EAV of $320,217 in the UK alone. Coverage ran in the Mail, The Sun, The Guardian and The Evening Standard as well as being picked up by popular BBC TV show, 'Have I got news for you', showing how it had permeated the cultural consciousness.

The story also made a splash in Australia, where ABC radio, Channel 7 and 9 News ran the story.

From the coverage, the overall key messages landed were:

  • The VR experience was set up by Tourism Western Australia
  • The launching of the first ever non-stop flights from UK to Perth
  • Western Australia is home to spectacular sites and tourist attractions
  • The embedded quote from Paul Papalia, Minister of Tourism

Travelbag also reported a rise in passengers and room night bookings for Western Australia over the month.

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