Coincidence? I think not. The rivalry between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, separated by the urban sprawl of Brisbane, is very real so no surprise to see both destinations launch their new winter marketing campaigns within 24 hours of each other. Gold Coast yesterday, Sunshine Coast this morning.

No surprise either that the campaigns – like the destinations – are very different. Or so they say. The cliche is that Gold Coast is flashy and fake while the Sunshine Coast is more Melbourne old money and, ahem, sophisticated.

The reality is though that both destinations are very similar,. They are beach destinations with a lot of high-rise, an area in which the Sunshine Coast has been catching up over the past few years.

The obvious exception is stylish, low-rise Noosa, at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, but this famous beach town is not part of the local marketing conglomerate, preferring to market independently.

So, with that in mind….

The Sunshine Coast has gone with a campaign slogan ‘Come To Life’ – traditional and based around the region’s five brand pillars: beach, nature, food and produce, immersive encounters, and events

Music is a key element with a happy ukulele framed beach song ala Jack Johnson called ‘My Town’ underpinning the video.

Dan Horne, whose music underpins the new Sunshine Coast campaign

Dan Horne, whose music underpins the new Sunshine Coast campaign


The song is light and friendly but it’s a mystery why they’ve chosen to call the entire Sunshine Coast a town, defined as ‘a built-up area with a name, defined boundaries, and local government, that is larger than a village and generally smaller than a city.’

Not sexy, or correct for that matter. 

Sunshine Coast is a lovely stretch of coast north of Brisbane with a few towns, some of them quite urban, but it’s a region.

Anyway, enough of towns, let’s talk cities, which is what the Gold Coast is all about.

As Australia’s sixth biggest metropolis, it really wants to be taken seriously by the rest of the country and at times that’s been manifested in some of it’s tourism campaigns over the past few years, most notably “Very GC” a marketing stance that claimed a level of sophistication the Gold Coast simply does not have.

It didn’t work and was followed by “Famous For Fun” which has been running for the past few years.

Now it’s ‘We are The Gold Coast’ – which marketers say is ‘putting people at the centre in a bid to reveal the real Gold Coast and address dated perceptions of the destination, attracting the growing market of travellers seeking unforgettable moments over recognisable iconic monuments.’

Iconic monuments such as theme parks, for so long a Gold Coast marketing staple but which are now taking a back seat following the Dreamworld thrill ride accident late last year in which four people died, along with demand.

Visits to both Dreamworld and its major rival Movie World are way down and show no immediate sign of recovery.

So people and experiences are now the focus.

We Are The Gold Coast - really? Image from the new campaign.

We Are The Gold Coast – really? Image from the new campaign.

“We are an energy of our own, a place that moves you deep inside, a feeling like no other. We are destination Gold Coast.”

Chief Marketing Officer of Gold Coast Tourism, Jan Hutton, says the campaign was two years in the making.

“We’ve discovered that what distinguishes the Gold Coast in an ever-increasing world of choice for travellers is not our beaches or theme parks; instead, it’s the unmistakable life affirming energy that lives here.”

Meanwhile further north, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford says his campaign is “saying that a Sunshine Coast holiday allows visitors to ‘Come to Life’: to feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

“What we’re offering is a friendly, nurturing, down to earth destination that is genuine and fresh.”

Two destinations, two campaigns, one goal: to increase the number of tourists. Who’ll do best? Let’s see in a year.

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