SA Tourism Commission hires Carat

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has appointed Carat as its new media agency of record, following a competitive pitch against incumbent Wavemaker. Hit hard by both bushfires and Covid, the region will spend money usually earmarked for international tourism to bolster domestic campaigns. 

What you need to know:

  • Carat has secured the media account for the South Australian Tourism Commission.
  • While the next financial year's campaign will include all channels, "digital – and digital capability – is still a major piece of how we go about our business." – SATC Executive Director, Marketing Brent Hill.
  • Those close to the pitch told Mi3 the annual billings could be worth up to $10m.

South of the border

Carat Adelaide has won the South Australian Tourism Commission account. The contract covers SA's 2021/22 domestic marketing campaign, which under the terms of the SA Government’s Master Media Agreement (MMA), is reviewed each year.

Wavemaker had held the account for the past two years under this arrangement, while Carat has handled international media buying.

Only Wavemaker and Carat were involved in the pitch.

"It was a very tight process and close run between two fantastic agencies, but in the end the small differences between the two meant that we have gone with Carat," SATC Executive Director, Marketing Brent Hill told Mi3.

"Both are local agencies who we know well and work well with. We want to acknowledge the fantastic work we have done with Wavemaker over the years, and look forward to working more closely with Carat."

The account will include traditional, digital and performance media with Carat highlighting the ‘Rewards Wonder’ campaign aimed to increase travel to South Australia as a destination which offers “a little bit more” for the tourist.

During the pitch, Carat worked with fellow Dentsu brands Isobar on programmatic display and video across Adobe, and The Story Lab for ideation.

"You can expect to see that the percentage of media bought for domestic will continue to be incredibly high," Hill added.

"With only NZ active, international spend has been diverted heavily into domestic for obvious reasons."

Hill said there is more still to come, with the SATC putting a range of assets out in market over the coming months, including press, outdoor, digital and TV, supported by tactical plays, including tie-ups with airlines such as Virgin.

Late last year, Hill told Mi3, South Australia's tourism media spend was returning to an even split following a 80:20 pivot to digital as Covid brought down the shutters – and led the state to redistribute its marketing budget to aid impacted local businesses. 

Hill explained that the strategy was to ensure that operators had a better chance of seeing out lockdowns and remaining solvent.

While the push over the next year will encompass all channels, "digital – and digital capability – is still a major piece of how we go about our business," said Hill.

Carat Adelaide MD, Vikki Friscic said: “The Carat Adelaide and Isobar teams are tremendously happy to be working with the South Australian Tourism Commission. The SATC Domestic account is one of the most prestigious and exciting accounts in the Adelaide market and we feel privileged to be a part of their amazing team.”

Wavemaker have been approached for comment but understands the agency will continue to work closely with the SATC as part of the state's master media panel.

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