28 November 2013

SAT North America wins prestigious HSMAI Adrian Award

South African Tourism North America has won a gold Adrian Award for its ‘Shark FRIENDzy’ campaign, which was aligned to Discovery Channel’s 2013 edition of Shark Week.

Users were encouraged to engage with the campaign’s ‘virtual shark dive’ application Users were encouraged to engage with the campaign’s ‘virtual shark dive’ application

The campaign allowed us to capitalise on the popularity of sharks with minimal financial investment. We were able to effectively redirect trending conversations about sharks to conversations about sharks in South Africa, and the results have been stellar. – Sthu Zungu, president of SAT North America

This is the second consecutive year that SAT North America was honoured with a gold Adrian Award for its marketing campaigns.

The HSMAI Adrian Awards are presented by the United States-based Hospitality, Sales & Marketing Association International – an international organisation of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality, tourism and travel industry.

The ‘Shark FRIENDzy’ campaign capitalised on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week of programming, which heavily features South African locations.

This was a nearly two-week long social media campaign that promoted South Africa’s hardcore adventure offering.

Sthu Zungu, president of SAT North America, said SAT’s goal was to leverage the overwhelming interest in sharks and redirect some of that interest back towards South Africa, which featured in many of the Shark Week programmes.

‘The campaign allowed us to capitalise on the popularity of sharks with minimal financial investment. We were able to effectively redirect trending conversations about sharks to conversations about sharks in South Africa, and the results have been stellar,’ she said.

A secondary goal was to provide value to partners, including South African Airways and Marine Dynamics (shark cage-diving), in order to drive interest among those looking to travel immediately.

SAT focused on its usual target of travel-loving adventure seekers, and broadened this to include lovers of sharks. This included the nearly one million Facebook followers of Shark Week. Making use of the trending shark-centric pages and hashtags, SAT zeroed in on those individuals in the US and Canada who not only have an interest in sharks, but also a proclivity to learn about, and travel to, South Africa.

Users were also enticed to engage with the campaign’s ‘virtual shark dive’ application, which simulated diving with great white sharks in South Africa. They created their own dive avatars using their Facebook profile photos, and then virtually dived into a shark cage designed to look exactly like the real thing in South Africa. The ‘FRIENDzy’ element came in getting users to invite their friends, through social media, to join them in the cage.

A sweepstakes gave away a trip for two to South Africa to actually go on a shark cage-dive The contest was entered into by participating in the virtual shark cage-dive and followers inviting their friends.

The 10-day 'Shark Friendzy' campaign generated 2 635 sweepstakes entries, 13 909 new Facebook fans, reached more than seven million people and generated 19.5-million page impressions on SAT North America’s social media sites.

The shark-themed Facebook content gained 16 220 likes, 2 430 shares and 1 306 comments. SAT North America also gained 560 new Twitter followers, received 428 twitter mentions and 171 retweets.