The Best Job in the World (advertising)

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In 2009, Tourism Queensland promoted the Great Barrier Reef as a global tourism destination with a website encouraging people worldwide to apply for The Best Job In The World, to be a "Caretaker of the Islands" to "house-sit" the islands of the Great Barrier Reef for half a year, based on Hamilton Island.[1][2][3][4]


Job benefits included a large salary, free lodging in a multimillion-dollar villa, and transportation there and around the islands. The application process required a web video to be submitted, available publicly for consideration for the position. The job duties listed were primarily publicity-related with web videos, blogging, and photo diaries. The submission web site crashed two days following the launch of the campaign, from excessive visits and application video uploading.[5]

Public interest[edit]

Interest continued for months. On 11 February 2009, Christopher Grima jumped off the South Causeway Bridge in Fort Pierce in Florida. The police report said that he "wanted to capture a video of himself jumping off the bridge, to gain attention of the recruiters" for this job. He quickly received a summons for breach of the peace / disorderly conduct.[6][7] More marketing-savvy applicants created blogs and established Facebook groups to create buzz about themselves. Two hoaxes also fueled interest. Tourism Queensland invested US$1m in the campaign and generated US$70m of global publicity just one month after the campaign's launch.[8]


Over 35,000 applications were received from over 200 countries, and whittled down to 16 finalists (including one chosen by an on-line vote). Finalists came from Australia (two), United States (two), United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Taiwan, India, China, Japan, France and South Korea. Ten were male and their ages ranged from 20 to 39. The candidates were interviewed on the island starting 3 May 2009. The United Kingdom finalist Ben Southall, 34, a charity fundraiser and ostrich-rider from Petersfield, Hampshire, UK, was appointed as the new caretaker of the island on 6 May 2009.[9][10]

The competition attracted 34,684 entries and after four months, Ben Southall was announced the winner of the Best Job in the World


By the campaign's end, it has generated more than $200 million in global publicity value for Tourism Queensland.[11] Brisbane advertising agency CumminsNitro [1] was awarded three top awards at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.[12][13][14] The campaign was acknowledged as very successful.[15] BBC Television made a one-hour documentary about the final stages of the campaign which was directed by Agnieszka Piotrowska. Narrated by Toby Stephens, the film was broadcast on 2 July 2009 on BBC1 at 9pm, achieving the highest viewing figures for the whole week.


The winner was Ben Southall, from the United Kingdom. In the last week of his paradise job, he was stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. Although lethal cases are known, he made a full recovery.[16]

The competition attracted 34,684 entries and after four months, Ben Southall was announced the winner of the Best Job in the World

Southall is now an Ambassador of Queensland Tourism and took residency in Queensland after the six-month period on the island had ended. Since then Ben has established himself as an adventure advocate in Australia taking on extreme adventures around the world including a 1600 km kayak along the Great Barrier Reef in 2011, running a number of marathons around the country. He set a world record to climb the tallest mountain in each Australian state (8) in the shortest ever time in April 2013 - the Aussie 8 expedition took 8 days. His website follows his adventures around the planet.

In 2008 Southall circumnavigated Africa in a Land Rover, known as Colonel Mustard, covering 65,000 km. He climbed the five highest mountains on the continent and ran five marathons in the year raising $50,000 (AUS) for charity.

He married Sophee McPhee in November 2012 back on Hamilton Island where he lived as the Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

UQBS Ambassador Ben Southall hosting the MBA Awards Dinner

Advertising awards[edit]

In 2010 the advertising campaign was awarded two prestigious D&AD Black Pencil Awards.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Best Job in the World website ( - Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry
  2. ^ "Ben Southall".
  3. ^ "Wanted: Paradise island 'caretaker'". 12 January 2009.
  4. ^ Glen Scanlon (12 January 2009). "Life's a beach with dream Australian island job".
  5. ^ "AFP: Global rush for 'best job in world' crashes Australian website". Google News. 13 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Fort Pierce Man Jumps Off Bridge To Land Job: FAU Student Says He Did It To Spice Up His Resume Tape". 12 February 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  7. ^ Ana X. Ceron (11 February 2009). "Police: Man jumps off bridge for job application". Treasure Coast Talk. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  8. ^ Bryant, Nick (1 May 2009). "'Selling' Queensland with a dream job". Sydney, Australia: BBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  9. ^ "UK man lands 'world's best job'". BBC News. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
  10. ^ Ollerenshaw, Tracy (6 May 2009). "Q&A: Fantasy island job winner". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Is this the greatest PR stunt ever?". BBC NEWS. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  12. ^ Rob O'Brien (24 June 2009). "Best Job in the World cleans up in advertising Oscars". Government News. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  13. ^ Sweney, Mark (25 June 2009). "'Best job in the world' campaign wins third top award". The Guardian. London.
  14. ^ Karen Strauss; Teresa Garcia Cisneros (24 June 2009). "Behind the Scenes at the First Cannes PR Lion Judging". Advertising Age. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  15. ^ Matt Parsons (15 January 2009). "Strewth! Queensland job ad is web wonder". Travel Trade Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  16. ^ Bonnie Malkin in Sydney (30 December 2009). "Best Job in World winner Ben Southall stung by deadly jellyfish".
  17. ^ Sweney, Mark (4 June 2010). "Australia wins first D&AD black pencil for 'Best job in the world' ads". The Guardian. London.

External links[edit]