Product / ServiceFOOD AND WINE
CategoryA04. Travel, Leisure, Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains


Name Company Position
Geoff Ikin Tourism Australia GM, Global Media & PR
Joleen Booth Tourism Australia Global Manager, Events Marketing
Emma Sturgiss Tourism Australia Global Manager, PR, Advocacy and Broadcast
Nicole Foster Tourism Australia Global PR & Advocacy Manager
Minta Burn Tourism Australia International Media Manager
Stephanie Denman Tourism Australia PR & Advocacy Coordinator
Natalie Miller Tourism Australia Visit Coordinator
Chloe Knight-Gregson Tourism Australia Social Media Producer
Courtney Barry Tourism Australia Global Manager, Campaigns
Shannon Blanchard The Cru PR Director
Jeanine Bribosia The Cru PR Director

The Campaign

Building on the momentum of our highly successful ‘Restaurant Australia’ campaign, we secured Australia as the host country for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards held in Melbourne in April 2017. Sponsoring the awards gave us the perfect hook to target the largest and most high profile group of culinary influencers in our organisation’s history and host them in Australia for an unforgettable food and wine experience. We would take an already successful event program and make it bigger and better, leveraging every opportunity to showcase our destination messaging though bespoke activations, dinners, media calls, parties and ceremonies. We would earn the advocacy of influential figures who resonate with both industry and consumers so they could share our story through their global channels of influence. These included the 50 Best chefs, international media from top-tier outlets and international culinary tastemakers such as The 50 Best Academy Chairs.


Phase 1:Took four of Australia’s top chefs to New York to cook a recovery brunch after the 2016 awards –a cocktail brunch with a twist on an Australian BBQ. Phase 2:Hosted domestic top-tier food media and industry at the QT Melbourne rooftop for an event program briefing. We invited influencer targets via a custom-built site, designed to excite and inspire. Phase 3:Sponsored numerous culinary events globally, engaging with top chefs and food media to excite them about Australian gastronomy and the awards in Melbourne. Phase 4:We took an already successful event and grew it to a program of 11 events over eight days. We created exceptional media moments that brought our destination messaging to the fore. These included surprising laneway murals, sunset beach BBQs, rooftop Yum Cha with an Aussie twist and more. We created over 250 itineraries before and after the events, to showcase the unforgettable experiences around Australia.

• We secured 47 of the 50 Best Chefs (succeeding a target of 35) as well as all of the 26 Academy Chairs (on target). We hosted 75 international media (succeeding a target of 30), along with over 50 domestic media and hundreds of local industry. • The campaign generated over 5,000 media articles with an audience reach of 5 billion and an Equivalent Advertising Value of over AU$55million. • 2 of the top 6 chefs who drove global coverage on the awards were Australian. These two were the only Australians on the 50 Best list, ranking # and #44 respectively. • Victorian restaurants saw immediate and significant results, with a 50% spike in restaurant bookings for the week of the event program, according to booking service Dimmi. • Brae who debuted on the 50 Best list received over 16,000 website views in the hours after the awards, marking an increase of 3,900% from a daily average of 400 views. • Over a quarter of the 50 Best Restaurants now serve Australian wine. Most importantly, we turned the influencers into lifelong advocates: “Everyone has been raving about how amazing their experience has been in Australia and in particular they have made mention how wonderful your organisation has been treating them. I really think it’s by far the best they have ever been treated and they are raving about you guys. This is definitely the first time I've heard chefs and journalists rave about a Tourism board.” Ben Shewry, Attica

The Situation

The brief: Solidify Australia’s position as a must-visit culinary destination and close the perception gap relating to the quality of our food experiences. To do this, we came up with one of the most ambitious advocacy projects ever undertaken in international destination marketing. We persuaded The World's 50 Best Restaurants to move the most talked-about annual awards to Australia, using it as the hook to bring hundreds of culinary influencers and media and tell our food story to the world. We turned an already successful event into a two week event program, leveraging every opportunity to showcase our destination messaging.

The Strategy

The PR and Advocacy strategy used a phased approach: Phase 1: Launch announcement – Grab the attention of these influencers, show them first hand our culinary credentials and convince them our food was worth taking time out of their busy schedules for a trip down under. Phase 2: Program announcement – Rally the Australian food and wine industry and raise the profile of the awards in Australia. Target the top 50 chefs from the 2016 list, the 50 Best Academy Chair Judges and international media; and invite them to Australia for the awards and bespoke famil program. Phase 3: Momentum – Build on the momentum created in phase 1 and 2 and create global excitement about the awards in Melbourne. Phase 4: Official event program – Showcase outstanding food and wine experiences to hosted influencers and create media moments that highlight our destination messaging.