There are few things I love more than a gutsy attempt at something new. Anyone can easily replicate something that we’ve seen before (again and again and again) and more often than not that’s what we see…but it takes someone with real balls to flip an idea on its head and present it to the world. This is what we’ve seen with the new Human Brochure campaign devised by the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) tourism board.  

For anyone that has been to or head about Canberra (the Australian Capital City) you would know that it has a bit of a reputation…and not a very good one. It’s not that it’s crime or drug ridden with sewerage flowing in the streets it’s rather that it’s boring. Incredibly boring. Mind-numbingly-doesn’t-have-a-bar-that-stays-open-past-10pm boring. It’s known as a city staffed, run and devised by and for bureaucrats who don’t get out very much. This is something that Canberra tourism wants to change and it is doing so in a rather ingenious way. Enter the #HumanBrochure campaign. 

So what is #HumanBrochure? Well this video should help explain it to you:

Great idea! According to ACT Tourism they chose 500 applicants out of a total of 31,406. If you read the (rather lengthy) Terms and Conditions you would find that each of the 500 applicants is costing the ACT government $1,160.00 and so the total campaign (not including media and advertising) is setting them back $580,000. This includes basic travel arrangements, meals, entertainment and accommodation. Yet delving further into the Terms and Conditions you would come across this little jewel: 

As a condition of accepting a Prize, each Winner and their Guest(s) (if any) agree to engage in social media activities and produce a certain level of content in the manner directed by the Promoter (Content) Winners and their Guest(s) (if any) will be required to engage in providing social media updates based around the activities set out in the Code of Conduct. This includes making posts on Twitter and Facebook relating to the event.

Essentially….you want to come on the trip you’ve got to promote us. For a cost of half a million dollars the ACT government will be flooding Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and every other social network available. Social networks will be filled with pictures, movies, tweets, quotes and other memories all for the ACT to capitalise on and use within its future marketing campaigns. Furthermore it’s not just the social media impact of the campaign but they will be sending 500 Canberra ambassadors back to their home cities to talk about how great the capital city really is. Whilst all of the tweeting, pinning, Facebooking and YouTubing is going on the ACT is displaying all of the comments on their website for all the world to follow each of the individual brochures. 

So while the ACT may be bearing the brunt of the initial half a million dollars for the human brochures it will be reaping the benefits over the next several years. This campaign may, in all honesty, fail. It may not pick up any traction and as soon as the weekend is over then the human brochures may simply never visit Canberra again…but still I sit here in awe of a fantastic idea by the ACT and implore everyone to continue to think outside the box when it comes to marketing. 

My sincerest thanks to Twitter follower Daniel Wong for bringing this campaign to my attention.