It was the most successful, award-winning tourism campaign of the year. And yet "The Best Job in the World" was not enough to get its creators hired as Tourism Queensland's lead agency. Sure, the quirky quest for an Australian island caretaker sparked international buzz and racked up every top-shelf prize in the industry, including three Grand Prix at Cannes. What you may not have heard is that the project's agency, SapientNitro (formerly CumminsNitro), was passed over in August when Tourism Queensland put its account up for review. The snub was a hot point of debate this weekend, as "Best Job" won Australia's top newspaper ad prize. "How can that happen?" the award committee chairman vented. "That's just not fair." I posed the same question on Sunday to Michael Branagh, national managing director for SapientNitro Brisbane. He told me: "We participated in the review, but we actually weren't successful. We thought we were in pretty good stead, but we were beaten by a global behemoth." That winner was incumbent lead agency Clemenger BBDO, which promptly launched the "Hey hey, this is Queensland" campaign, which has been roundly panned. The new campaign even featured "Best Job" candidates, and tourism officials continue to find ways to milk the project for even more publicity. (Branagh says SapientNitro's involvement ended in July.) So, if you're one of the countless tourism marketers looking to piggyback on Queensland's success, here's some good news: You can actually hire the agency that made "Best Job" a global phenomenon. Just cut them some slack if they seem insistent about a long-term contract.
—Posted by David Griner