Bucket List


UM’s task was to encourage Australians to make South Africa the next overseas destination they set out to explore. Trouble was, it faced tough competition from the likes of Thailand, the US and South America. 

The agency identified a group of mature 25-40 year old independent flash-packers as the most likely candidates to visit and affectionately called them ‘Wanderlusters’. Although they weren’t visiting South Africa, adventure and safari were high on their list. Wanderlusters tend to spark travel trends so if UM could entice them to visit and share their experiences, other types of traveller would follow.

Objective 1: Increase Wanderlusters’ intention to travel to South Africa by 5%.

Objective 2: Increase positive conversations about South Africa by 5%.

The challenge was that South Africa wasn’t even making it onto their holiday shortlist. The destination was being rejected outright meaning consumers weren’t even open to listening about the great trips they could have there.

South Africa was being rejected for two main reasons: it was seen as unsafe and too expensive. Safety was a barrier UM couldn’t control, but with Uganda and Myanmar topping the hot destinations of 2012, it wasn’t the be all and end all. Price it couldn’t change dramatically, but could reframe the cost equation. It could prove to Wanderlusters that a trip to South Africa offered real bang for their buck.


So what does value mean to a Wanderluster? It means a trip that helps them tick off items on their bucket list (their list of things to do before they die). Activities aren’t enough; they’re turned on by once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

The uncomfortable truth was South Africa had been labelled a safari-only destination. It seemed a very expensive trip for just the one experience. If only people knew what they were missing: riding an ostrich, diving with sharks, sleeping in a tree house or visiting a meteorite crater. The options were endless.

Wanderlusters are turned on by trips that give multiple once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but had labelled South Africa a safari-only destination. UM set out to prove value for money by surprising Wanderlusters with the variety of unforgettable experiences possible in a single trip.

Since the destination is the big ticket item, Wanderlusters chose this first and filled their itineraries later. As long as they kept this pattern they’d continue to dismiss South Africa before they could even hear about the brag-worthy experiences on offer there. UM had to reverse their planning behaviour.

It was clear; it couldn’t lead with a message from South African Tourism. The agency had to blaze unfamiliar territory in an attempt to eliminate immediate rejection. For the first time ever it decided to go unbranded. Yes, you heard correctly.

The idea was to ‘build your bucket list’ (a list of things to do before you die). An unbranded social application that enabled Wanderlusters to create and share their own personal bucket lists. With the brand reveal they finally discovered (for themselves) the variety of once-in-a-lifetime experiences available in South Africa.


Targeted media placements encouraged Wanderlusters to reflect on their life goals and click through to our unbranded canvas application in Facebook to build a bucket list. There they were prompted to browse through hundreds of potential bucket list items and drag them to a virtual note pad. To ensure true utility while many experiences were possible in South Africa, it included many that were not.

Only on completion of the list was South African Tourism’s involvement revealed. The app transformed into an interactive map highlighting the chosen experiences that could be done in South Africa. Users could hover over experiences on the map to view rich user-generated content, including YouTube videos, TripAdvisor reviews and photos about that experience. Had you filled out your bucket list you might have seen a video of a shark dive, notes on wine tasting in Stellenbosch or a map of walking trails around Table Mountain. From this interface you could also view itineraries and make bookings.

The Bucket List app was easily shareable with friends and the results popped up in newsfeeds. To fuel bragging rights UM built a feature that allowed Wanderlusters to tick off and share the experiences they had already completed. They could also see which of their friends had chosen the same bucket lists items as them, providing a springboard for conversation and group trips.

Captured user data also enabled South African Tourism to develop deals tailored to an individual’s bucket list as part of their CRM programme.


The variety message was received loud and clear - and South African Tourism didn’t have to do the talking. Wanderlusters discovered it on their own by putting an average of 25 of their most desired experiences on their bucket lists.

The once stagnant Facebook community grew by 46.4% as a result of the campaign. This wasn’t just measured by likes, but through a solid PTAT (people talking about this) score of 7%, high above the industry average of 2%. It also earned more than 30 in-depth mentions across print, online and broadcast media.

Objective 1: Increase intention to travel by 5% - It was safe to say South Africa had climbed up the ‘next-to-visit’ list. Mentions of intention to travel there went up by 43% to an average of 1,760 per month.

Objective 2: Increase positive conversations about South Africa by 5% - South African Tourism saw an immediate improvement in perceptions with positive mentions about the destination increasing by 10%.

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South African Tourism
November - December 2012
Media Channel:
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