How Tourism Australia’s Crocodile Dundee campaign won the Super Bowl


Each month, as part of our Extraordinary Minds series, we profile a professional who is doing incredible things in their field.This month, we talked to Lisa Ronson, CMO at Tourism Australia. 

The ads for the 2019 Super Bowl may not have been anything to write home about. But last year, there was one campaign that really stole the show. 

Tourism Australia’s Crocodile Dundee Super Bowl ad was seen by an estimated 100 million viewers when it aired last year. It featured a star-studded cast including Danny McBride and the Hemsworth brothers with cameos by Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Isla Fisher. And of course, the OG Crocodile Dundee himself, Paul Hogan. 

The commercial was one part of a larger multi-phase, integrated campaign that, since its launch, has generated nearly 14,500 news articles with an equivalent advertising value of over $85 million.

The woman behind the massive success of this project is Lisa Ronson, Chief Marketing Officer of Tourism Australia, who recently claimed the top spot on the 2018 CMO50 list


We asked Lisa what went into creating this global marketing success story and how the results of the campaign have impacted the brand. 

1. The Dundee campaign for Tourism Australia has been extremely successful – some publications even say it ‘Won the 2018 Super Bowl’. Where did you come up with the concept? Why did you believe a spoof reboot of Crocodile Dundee – and the collection of superstar Australian cameos – would resonate so strongly with your audience? 

Tourism is a $113 billion industry for Australia. We have a long-term goal to grow our tourism sector to more than $115 billion annually by 2020. The US in particular is a critically important market for Australian tourism for achieving these goals. 

However, we are operating in an increasingly competitive and cluttered market and when you factor in the real and perceived barriers of time, distance and the associated costs of visiting Australia, we have some challenges to overcome to achieve conversion.


Crocodile Dundee put Australia on the map for Americans, and many other international travellers. Paul Hogan’s ‘Come Say G’Day’ campaign, the 1986 film and Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee helped shape the American view of Australia and is still relevant today. 

The ‘Dundee’ campaign launched in 2018 is an example of this, where we tapped into the emotional triggers associated with the original Dundee franchise and used the Super Bowl to kick-start our new $36 million marketing campaign aimed at super charging the value of American tourism to Australia.

2. For the Dundee campaign, what role has data played in gaining insights across different markets?

We conduct regular research across 17 key markets to understand our customers, how they view Australia and what experiences motivate them to visit our country. Insights from this research (the Consumer Demand Project) have been used extensively to inform and support development of Tourism Australia’s strategic direction, campaign development, as well as to inform the tourism industry of potential opportunities to build the value of Australian tourism.


To cut through the increasingly competitive and cluttered global travel market we need to focus on creating a point of difference in the experiences we market and how we reach our customers. And our data and insights into our target customers helped to inform our marketing decisions to be effective.

For the Dundee campaign in particular, we used data so that we could personalise the content for consumers when they visited our website – which is the call action for our marketing globally – and present tailored holiday ideas to better move potential visitors through the purchase cycle – from aspiration to inspiration and booking. It’s about improving the customer journey as they explore our sites for the various holiday experiences on offer in Australia.

3. You’ve marketed some of the biggest brands in Australia – from Carlton United Breweries to Visa, Telstra and David Jones – is there a universal marketing truth you’ve learned that applies to all of them?

The biggest learning has been to put the customer at the heart of everything you do. This for me this is always a guiding principal and always underpins the marketing decisions.

Customers want an emotional connection and authenticity with your product or service so when you put the customer at the heart of what you do, everything else follows.

4. You’ve spoken in the past about using emotion and behavioural economics in marketing. What types of emotional triggers do you think are the most effective?

In marketing Australia to the world as a destination for leisure and business travel having that emotional connection with the customer is key.

Holidays are about creating memories that last a lifetime but unlike other marketing categories in destination marketing there isn’t that sense of urgency to make the purchase.


Australia is fortunate that it is a highly aspirational destination for travellers internationally – the emotional triggers of our world-class natural beauty, flora and fauna, and friendly and welcoming people really contributing to the strong desirability to visit. 

5. It’s going to be hard to top Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home – but what’s next for Tourism Australia? What plans do you have in the pipeline for its next great marketing campaign?

In October 2018, we launched the second phase of the Dundee campaign – Visit the Set of Dundee: Son of a Legend – to build on the momentum of the successful first phase of the campaign.

This second phase of the Dundee campaign was timed to run throughout the peak booking period in North America to reinvigorate the buzz created since the campaign launch at 2018 Super Bowl. It features actor Luke Hemsworth inviting Americans to come and visit the ‘set’ of the movie and explore Australia.

A series of videos will see the actor take viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the country, showcasing the breadth of spectacular and unique experiences on offer and encouraging Americans to book a holiday. 


6. What advice would you give aspiring marketers who are new in the game? Is there anything you’ve learned that’s held true throughout your career?

For me there are six key principles that I have learned and guide my work as a marketer and leader: 

  1. Customer: Putting them at the heart of everything we do
  2. Clarity: Providing clear expectations/objectives
  3. Context: Understanding how your role contributes to the performance of the organisation
  4. Care: Knowing you personally and your style, and providing direct and honest feedback on performance
  5. Removing obstacles: Getting barriers out of the way so you can be successful
  6. Celebrate success: Success as a marketer is not just about learning from mistakes it is also about celebrating success and calling out achievements

Want to learn how to build extraordinary experiences for your brand? Sign up to our next free live, digital and virtual experiences masterclass

Author bio


A proud Kiwi, living in Sydney with my English husband and two Aussie kids. An avid fan of music festivals, and keen ocean swimmer; I relish connecting talented people, and seeing the magical results they create for clients.