The Annual: 'We must cut through the sea of sameness'

Tourism Australia CMO Lisa Ronson
By Tourism Australia CMO Lisa Ronson | 9 January 2019
Lisa Ronson

This first appeared in the AdNews Annual 2018. Buy the special issue as one-off here or support AdNews by subscribing here.

As part of the AdNews Annual 2018, celebrating 90 years of AdNews, we featured a range of perspectives from brands, leaders and top marketers, to share what creativity means to them and how important it is. We also asked some to throw in a future–gazing thought or two on how advertising could shape out in the next 90 years.

Tourism Australia was founded in 1967 and has 220 staff globally. We hear from Tourism Australia CMO Lisa Ronson (who announced her departure this week).

Creativity makes us think, act, and often smile. At Tourism Australia, we view creativity as a source of competitive advantage. It is a core tenet of our overall business strategy.

To engage our target consumers and emotionally connect with them to inspire action, we must cut through the sea of sameness inherent in tourism, and many other, categories. Looking back on our business performance over the last 50 years it’s the most creative campaigns that have had the most impact on the Australian economy. Most notably, the Paul Hogan 'Shrimp on the barbie' campaign back in the late 1980s.

Tourism Australia screen

This first appeared in AdNews in-print

Creativity is crucial to developing advertising that is meaningful and has cut–through. When we get it right, it can not only change consumer behaviour, but also push us forward as a society and global community. Creativity and big ideas are good for business. Based on analysis of 16 years’ worth of Cannes Lions data and financial information, McKinsey developed an Award Creativity Score (ACS) to quantify creativity. This showed clearly that higher ACS scores correlate directly with greater business growth and stronger financial performance.

Cannes this year was no exception. There was some brilliant work submitted and awarded and an outstanding showing from Australian brands. Out of only six Titanium Lions awarded globally, Australia won two — the 'Palau Pledge' project by Host/Havas and, I’m proud to say, Tourism Australia and Droga 5’s  'Dundee Super Bowl' campaign.

In terms of current themes or trends, after a long period of being beat up about last click attribution and a short–term focus in general, marketers are getting back to where we add the most value — a relentless focus on the customer and customer experience. Creativity and innovation, two concepts that are inherently linked, are crucial to this focus on the customer and putting them at the centre of everything we do and every decision we make. I think we’re also going to see much greater focus on customer experience across all touchpoints available to us. This is crucial as we know brands with better experiences command greater loyalty and higher prices.

In terms of the next 90 years, I think the fundamentals won’t change. Sure, the channels in which we place our messages will continue to evolve and change, but we will need to emotionally connect with consumers in these evolving channels. And focus on both short– and long–term outcomes to have sustainable brands into the future.


Actor Chris Hemsworth 


Paul Hogan ads started in 1984 and went through to 1986


See more Annual Perspectives from these people below:

Vegemite marketing manager Matt Gray.

Clemenger executive chairman Rob Morgan

McCormick Foods Australia (Aeroplane Jelly parent company) managing director of commercial Paris Golden.

To support AdNews sign up here to get the in-print edition sent to your door.

comments powered by Disqus