Under the weather, literally: Destination Queenstown teaches Aussies how to master the art of the fake sick day

According to Wikipedia, “at least some of the workers who built the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs received paid sick leave as well as state-supported health care”. And ever since 1500 BC, employees who understandably love the idea of getting paid while doing absolutely no work have been claiming they’re ill and taking days off. Now Destination Queenstown is incentivising that behaviour and has enlisted the help of Australian comedian Dan Ilic to teach his countryfolk how to squeeze in a sneaky spring ski trip.  
2015 has been one of the country’s best ever ski seasons (The Telegraph certainly thinks so) and the “sick day, stow away” campaign has been designed to encourage our neighbours to make the most of the current spring skiing conditions and the huge range of activities on offer in Queenstown. According to Tourism New Zealand, “Australia is New Zealand’s largest international source market for ski and snow sports and, back in 2012, approximately 65,000 Australian holiday visitors, or 16 percent, ski while in New Zealand”). 

Destination Queenstown’s research showed that 81 percent of the 1,005 full-time-employed Australians it surveyed have taken a sick day at some point in their career when they’re not really sick, with the most common reason given to employers being ‘piggybacking on a bug sweeping through the workplace’ (18 percent). The average Aussie worker also takes three days to plan their pretend illnesses. So “Queenstown super-fan” Ilic has created a video guide to help people call in sick so they can hit the slopes over a long weekend.

“The team at Destination Queenstown felt they might get in trouble if they were to teach the entire Australian workforce how to skip work and escape to the snow. Something about economic collapse, trade sanctions and potential invasion… blah blah blah. As a comedian, they thought I might get away with it. So I made a video to show fellow Aussies how to take a sick day or two off work to get their perfectly healthy arse to Queenstown.” 

Air New Zealand has also been getting creative to promote the slopes to the Aussies in recent years, with massive snowfights, synchronised skiing and various other clips. 



And Tourism New Zealand has also been promoting the region to the Aussies through traditional TVCs and more experimental activities like the Dronie, which filmed visitors on the slopes and let them share it via social media. 



Destination Queenstown, which is celebrating 30 years of promoting the resort town, has also recently launched a new brand identity and tagline ‘feel the inspiration’ following two years of research into Queenstown’s brand health, reputation and position (the total cost of the research was $24,000 and around $35,000 was invested in the creative development and design, which was done by Feast Creative). 


“It’s really rewarding to see the research, planning and creative journey all come to fruition,” says Lisa Nilsen, DQ marketing manager, who led the project. “The visual change is certainly a significant one, and it strongly represents the energy and vibrancy people experience when they spend time in Queenstown. I’m really excited to see the new brand used to define our region and inspire people to want to create their own memories of Queenstown.”

The brand will be rolled out over the next 12 months across all collateral and online environments. 

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