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Portland, Unpacked

The Brief:

Travel Portland’s mission for their Oceania program was to create economic development from visitors from the Australia and New Zealand market and generate awareness for Portland via cutting- edge initiatives that set the destination apart and inspire travel from this market.

For a third consecutive year, Barking Owl Communications was retained to execute a program that provided strategic collaboration, in-market implementation, account management, media outreach and media famils as well as marketing campaigns that created awareness for the destination to consumers, media and travel trade.

For the 2019/20 campaign, Barking Owl proposed that Travel Portland considered creating a travel podcast to showcase the destination and tell the stories of the characters and places  travellers to Portland would get to meet, experience and enjoy on a trip there. ​

The Approach:

Whilst Barking Owl understood that visitors to Portland are in the 25 -54 age group, they are defined more by state of mind than by age – they are curious, adventurous, enjoy good food, great coffee, fabulous wine and a well-made cocktail and we needed to capture them in new and different way and a great way to do this would be by building audio into the FY20 strategy.


Sound is powerful and drives emotions and impacts the way we feel through telling compelling stories and helps to develop genuine relationships with people who we might not otherwise easily reach, so producing a podcast became an attractive medium and one we wanted to explore further.


After conducting extensive research it was a revealed that audio is on the rise - more Australians than ever are listening to podcasts. We discovered in the last 12 months (June 2018-July 2019), the following interesting statistics:

  • The portion of Australians who have listened to a podcast in the last 30 days grew from 18% to 22%

  • Time spent listening to audio online has increased to over 11 hours per week

  • An average of six podcasts are listened to each week by those who are weekly podcast listeners.

  • “One of the biggest growth areas over the next five years will be podcasting” ​- PwC Entertainment and Media Outlook​


This final point cemented the idea for us as an agency, so then we needed to pitch the idea to the client.  This was done through a comprehensive presentation document that showed thorough research on why audio, demonstrated the strategic approach we would take, identified possible hosts, summarised the marketing campaign to support the podcast and help find and grow the audience, proposed possible partnerships and outlined the production workflow and subsequent costs and budgets for all aspects of the campaign.


The project was greenlighted by the client in June 2019 and Barking Owl immediately commenced work with the various partners to start the production workflow made up of five key phases:

  1. Research and development​

  2. Production trip #1​

  3. Production Trip #2​

  4. Edit, script & mix​

  5. Distribution, marketing​ and media outreach

The Results:

  • A six episode podcast series was produced and launched on March 16, 2020

  • Strategic partnerships with hotel and airline partnerships were secured – Jupiter NEXT Hotel and American Airlines

  • A trade campaign with Expedia was developed

  • A media paid partnership with Broadsheet was agreed

  • An earned media strategy was implemented which resulted in eight pieces of coverage with additional coverage pending

  • A full marketing campaign with paid digital and social media activity

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