“Who lives sees much. Who travels sees more.” — Arabic proverb
My fascination with Africa runs deep — and it all started when I was eight-years-old when Disney’s masterpiece, ‘The Lion King’ hit the big screen. Yes, you read that correctly; it’s so cliche, but it’s my truth. I vividly remember crying in a Sears when my mother refused to purchase the movie on VHS (her reasoning: I saw it in theaters), she eventually caved (those tears) and I excitedly went home and watched the movie on repeat over and over and over again for weeks, maybe even months. It became an obsession.
One of my wildest dreams is to visit Africa, specifically South Africa. While there, I hope to embark upon an adventurous wild safari ride, where I can spy on lions, cheetahs, zebras, elephants, giraffes and whatever else the scorching sun brings out; I also hope to cruise the gorgeous coast of Cape Town, known for its spectacular views. One day, I hope to make this rather expensive fantasy a reality; but until then, I will settle for planning this fantasy vacation through the “My Mission South Africa“ campaign and will start by creating my very own fantasy mission.
‘My Mission South Africa’
South African Tourism recently launched “My Mission South Africa,” a social media campaign aimed to boost tourism by showcasing the diversity of South Africa’s rich landscape and stunning destinations. Interestingly, the campaign is aimed at the UK market and hopes to persuade UK travelers into making South Africa their next travel destination.
Matthew Armstrong, acting country manager for the UK who worked in collaboration with South African Tourism, says: “This magnificent country offers something for everyone… South Africa is a country where just about anything is possible and this is why we’re inviting travelers to create their own mission.”
The ‘My Mission South Africa’ campaigns invites prospective travelers to create their own South African mission (what they plan on doing while there) and implements several quintessential social media marketing elements:
The campaign tapped four popular British celebrities: Jamie Theakston, Monty Don, Gloria Hunniford and Chris Packham, who will be traveling to South Africa for their first time in September and focusing on their personal areas of interest. All four celebrities will document their experiences on video and then share these experiences via Twitter, Facebook, a micro-site and a specially designed mobile application throughout their time in South Africa.
Four lucky couples will be selected to win their chosen celebrity’s mission and will even spend a day with their chosen celebrity in South Africa. All that is required is entering the contest before August 6th, which after watching the “enter to win” video seems like a rather easy task. Likewise, the idea of being on vacation with a popular celebrity can be rather alluring to some, which will certainly attract more entries.
Interactive Social Media
Prospective travelers will be able to create their very own South African missions online using the interactive ‘My Mission’ builder. The ‘My Mission’ builder allows you to quickly and easily build your ultimate vacation itinerary from a list of predefined activities which are considered to be four key attributes of South Africa:
- Sport Culture and Heritage
- Wildlife and Safari
- Affordable Luxury
Upon creating your fantasy vacation, you can then store the full details online, send to family and friends, and even share on your Twitter and Facebook pages.
Along with these exciting interactive tools, South African Tourism is active on Twitter and Facebook, and has also built a new website dedicated solely to the UK market, which provides everything you need to plan your trip, including airfare.
In life, it’s always helpful when you have support from others. And when it comes to promoting tourism within a specific country and more specifically on a global scale, having an airline on your team certainly doesn’t hurt. South African Tourism has partnered up with South African Airways who is now the official sponsor of any related initiative, including the ‘My Mission South Africa’ contest.
Digital Application and Integration
There is no doubt that South African Tourism understands the value of using a digital platform to promote a campaign. Not only are they planning to implement video into the campaign through their celebrity endorsements and stream these videos throughout their vacations, they have also taken advantage of the functionality of QR code technology by placing it in advertisements within traditional media outlets, and also built mobile applications that support smart phones specifically for the ‘My Mission South Africa’ campaign.
I really love that this is a deeply and fully integrated marketing communications campaign that uses so many social media marketing tools and tactics. It’s not often that you see organizations effectively using so many different elements at once, but South African Tourism seamlessly incorporates several social media marketing elements which only further enhances their campaign.
Furthermore, what I find exceptionally fascinating by the ‘My Mission South Africa’ campaign is that it is aimed at a market outside of South Africa’s borders, a market actually on another continent. Given the level of detail in this campaign, South African Tourism certainly sends the message that they not only understand the value within the UK market, but that they understand the UK market and, more importantly, want to better understand each traveler individually. This gives me the impression and the confidence that while any traveler is on vacation in South Africa, it will be nothing short of impressive and amazing. Why? Because they genuinely understand exactly what travelers are looking for in their vacations and are willing and eager to provide those experiences.
Now my mission is to see all of South Africa!