Australian Tourist Commission: Lyndel Gray

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Like planets aligning, marketing opportunities seemed to queue up for Australia's tourism industry last year.

"Everywhere you looked, you kept seeing Australia," says Lyndel Gray, 42, regional director for the Americas at the Australian Tourist Commission. "The Olympics really helped us deliver," Ms. Gray notes, "and then we were fortunate to have the follow-up exposure with 'Survivor 2.' "

The highly publicized events allowed Ms. Gray, who has worked for the ATC in the U.S. since 1987, to stretch her $8 million U.S. marketing budget to unprecedented lengths. Her strategy focused on PR tied to Australia's role as host for the Olympics, as well as co-marketing with Olympic sponsors. Other deals included airlines serving Australia and Viacom's CBS, the network of "Survivor: The Australian Outback."

An ad campaign ran in the U.S. last winter as Olympic hype started to wane. It featured Paul Hogan, who was seeing a second sequel in his "Crocodile Dundee" franchise enter U.S. theaters. Additionally, in 2000 Conde Nast Traveler readers named Sydney the "Top Foreign City," and in a Harris Poll Americans listed Australia as the country they would most like to go to on vacation if cost were not an issue.

Australia welcomed a record number of U.S. visitors in 2000: 490,000, up 17% over 1999. And in early 2001, American arrivals continued to rise, according to the ATC.

As part of its marketing initiative, in July the ATC gave Interpublic Group of Cos.' Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif., the account in the Americas. Previously, Bcom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles had the business globally.

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