Campaign: Making Tracks

Client: Tourism Australia

Agency: DDB Sydney

2011 IAB Awards – ‘Best in Show’ Winner (Social Media Marketing)


Social media marketing took a step to the front of the crowd in the 2011 IAB Awards, with DDB Sydney’s Making Tracks campaign for Tourism Australia being crowned 2011’s ‘Best in Show’ winner.

The campaign faced steep competition as the broad range of Award entries demonstrated that advertisers and their agencies are delivering even more sophisticated, well-executed digital campaigns with clear targets and exceptional results. Both the quality and volume of entries in 2011 shows that marketers are now realising the multitude of benefits that can be offered by online campaigns, with a number of advertisers entering into new areas of online marketing to achieve their business objectives.

Making Tracks was an elegant concept that was beautifully executed across multiple social media channels to reach its target audience and promote Australia as an ‘experience’ destination. The strategic thinking behind the clever, distinctive and imaginative use of all available channels impressed the judges, in particular its use of multiple Facebook, blogs and YouTube streams to maximise reach and showcase the initiative to as broad a global audience as possible. As one judge said, “No stone was left unturned, with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s online presence even linked to the Tourism Australia website.”

DDB Sydney’s richly crafted storytelling also resonated and was a great example of best practice in creating a deep connection and conversation with its intended audience, drawing the viewer into the journey and establishing a personal relationship. One judge commented, “Successful social media marketing initiatives are all centred on giving value before expecting anything in return and this absolutely delivers,” before going on to praise the campaign for the way in which it embraced the audience and allowed them to take part in the musicians’ travels across Australia.

The campaign was also lauded for using digital channels to promote and encourage the arts, at the same time as meeting its objective of encouraging its target audience to visit Australia. Critically, the entry also included well-documented results and demonstrated a creative strategic thought process.


After a sell-out performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2009, YouTube selected the Sydney Opera House to host its YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2 (YTSO2) in March 2011. YTSO2 brought together classical musicians from across the world via online auditions for a week-long musical festival.

The objectives of Tourism Australia were to maximise the attention of the festival, showcase Australia to the world and inspire both Australians and international visitors to explore Australia. The event provided an opportunity for Tourism Australia to tap into its experience-seeker target market through a culturally diverse program connected to music and the arts. With millions of people expected to watch the final concert, the project sought to use social media channels to leverage the event to show Australia in unique and inspiring ways, to promote and generate interest and buzz around the event and ultimately encourage the audience to visit Australia.


The creative solution to maximise interest in the concert and to showcase Australia to the target audience was to challenge members of the visiting orchestra to create a musical track influenced by the world’s most inspirational country – Australia.

In February and March 2011, four YTSO2 musicians were paired with contemporary Australian musicians to travel to various parts of the country. During their trip, they would absorb the landscape, people and experiences and then compose an original score of music inspired by their adventure. Their journey, inspiration and subsequent compositions were then shared with a global audience through a series of films featuring rich visuals of the awe-inspiring backdrop of Australia.


The musicians visited the most stunning parts of the country across every state and territory. They discovered the remote beauty of Kangaroo Island, wandered through the enchanted Red Centre and Uluru, surfed and kayaked off the gorgeous beaches of Bondi and Manly, fell in love with the art inspired laneways of Melbourne and relaxed among the enigmatic lakes of Fraser Island. These locations and landscapes provided an inspiring backdrop for the musicians to collaborate, compose and discover their musical journey. This resulted in four very different tracks, each one reflective of the diversity and beauty of Australia. The final output, known as Making Tracks, was the creation of four inspiring short films and one evocative compilation film.

Each episode was crafted into three components. First, the musicians were introduced to the audience with a narrative on where they were from and their personal and musical background. They were then given the opportunity to tell the story of their musical journey, including their musical struggles and successes, their friendship and the discovery of themselves and their music. Finally, their unique musical tracks were shot as music film clips against the backdrop of their exploration of Australia. This three-sequence approach allowed viewers to understand each musician’s background story, their challenge and their subsequent musical achievement.

Five key media channels were used for the campaign, starting with an m-site, which was created to enable visitors to get to know the musicians, their biographies and musical backgrounds, their itineraries across Australia and the journey they shared. This created a connection with the audience and allowed them to participate in their travels and engage with the composers.

The musicians also uploaded written blogs during the trip, supported by photography and video clips, which were then extended through social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to allow fans to interact and comment on their trips and the final episodes. This was replicated on the musicians’ personal social media sites to extend the campaign to a wider word of mouth audience.

The episodes were also broadcast through the Tourism Australia YouTube branded channel and through the YTSO2 website, a portal dedicated entirely to the project and the festival. The episodes were syndicated globally through content programs in both traditional and digital media platforms, including (US), radio (UK), Fairfax newspapers (Australia) and through Tourism Australia’s Visiting Opinion Leaders Program, where influential bloggers covered Making Tracks and the YTSO2 event.

Finally, a digital seeding strategy was executed via a mixture of bought and earned media through sharing and social channels.


Each episode was broadcast through YouTube in the lead-up to the final performance and, at the time of entering the IAB Awards, had received over 2.7 million views with a significant increase in subscription to the Australian YouTube channel. The films were so well-received that episode four was showcased on the big screen in Time Square, New York on 22 March 2011.

Further, Making Tracks received such a positive response from viewers that a six-minute compilation film of all four episodes was created and streamed live to a global audience in the masthead of as part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Concert pre-roll.

The campaign received a number of YouTube accolades. In the Travel and Event section in March 2011, it held Australia’s number one spot in the Most Viewed, Most Discussed, Top Rated and Top Favourite categories and was also Australia’s 25th Most Viewed of all time and the seventh Most Viewed worldwide.

The final YTSO2 concert itself has been viewed by 33 million globally with 11.1 million live streams, making it the most watched live music concert on YouTube (ahead of U2, which pulled in 10 million viewers). The mobile live stream was viewed by 2.8 million, again a YouTube record, and 19.1 million streams took place as the concert was replayed on YouTube in the 24 hours after the concert.

While it is too early to determine if visitors to Australia have or will increase as a result of the Making Tracks campaign, it has certainly succeeded in creating positive sentiment and significant media attention among the target audience. This campaign was the first time that Tourism Australia had used digital media to leverage such an event and its expectations were exceeded by the campaign.

Making Tracks has also received international recognition, making the short list of the Media Lions category at the 2011 Cannes Lions Festival.

Belle Kwan
BY Belle Kwan ON 30 August 2011
Assistant editor, Marketing magazine &
A marketer's dream who believes everything she sees on TV.
Advertising is not evil, it is an artform and a science.