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Top Melbourne chef star of new Wellington tourism campaign

A top Kiwi-born, Aussie-based chef is fronting Wellington’s new tourism campaign in Australia, which aims to lure travelers across the ditch for a weekend of food and wine.

The campaign, developed by WellingtonNZ in partnership with Bauer Media Australia, aims to drive Australian weekend travel to Wellington, primarily from Sydney, during the autumn shoulder season (February to April).

At its heart is a series of four videos narrated by award-winning chef Ben Shewry whose Melbourne-based restaurant Attica is frequently ranked as one of the world’s best restaurants.

Ben extolls the freshness and variety of produce found in the Wellington region via four YouTube webisodes which share different parts of Wellington’s food story, from fishing on the Ka¬Åpiti Coast with local fisherman Scott McNeil from Awatoru Wild Food, wining and dining in the Wairarapa, foraging for Maori ingredients with Hiakai chef Monique Fiso, to the diversity of the city’s cheaper eats.

The video will be backed with travel stories online, in print and via social media.

"It’s great to see the evolution of the city, so many wonderful people doing amazing things. It’s a city that’s not resting on its laurels or sitting on its hands. I’m blown away by the evolution of this place," says Ben.

The videos were made by campaign partner Bauer Media Australia’s content division, Story54. Bauer Media Australia produce quality magazines such as Gourmet Traveller, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Country Style.

WellingtonNZ marketing general manager Anna Calver says Bauer Australia provides a fantastic gateway into Australia.

"Partnering with media outlet Bauer Australia means we're able to substantially extend the reach we'd be able to achieve via a traditional marketing campaign. In fact, the total video views for the campaign are expected to exceed 1.2 million through media buy and online traffic.

"And having the videos fronted by Ben Shewry is also a coup. He’s one of Australia’s leading chefs with substantial profile within our target market of travelers aged between 29 and 65 years old.

"We wanted to work with Ben because he has ties to Wellington, having been mentored here by Mark Limacher, chef and owner of Ortega restaurant."

Anna says to further strengthen the campaign's impact, it's being targeted specifically at Sydney, focusing on the Wellington region culinary story.

"Research shows local food experiences are one of the main things people look for when planning a short break and the Wellington region is packed with them."

WellingtonNZ is also working with Air New Zealand's Australian office to drive conversion off the campaign.

The campaign launched in Australia on Wednesday 29 January.

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