In May 2019 Tourism and Events Queensland launched a ground-breaking global tourism campaign promoting the Great Barrier Reef – ‘scUber’. In a unique partnership with rideshare giant, Uber, a ride in the scUber submarine allowed travellers to go beyond the limits of conventional diving to explore the Great Barrier Reef at depths of up to 30 metres, with 180-degree views, and all without getting wet. The once-in-a-lifetime experience was bookable through the Uber app, strictly subject to availability.

scUber Hero Image

About the campaign

On 23 May 2019 Tourism and Events Queensland together with Uber launched ‘scUber’ - the world’s first rideshare submarine on the world’s greatest natural wonder – the Great Barrier Reef. For a limited time only, scUber was exclusively available for visitors to explore and experience Australia’s Great Barrier Reef like never before. The once-in-a-lifetime experience was bookable through the Uber app, strictly subject to availability.

The scUber promotion aimed to reset the story on the reef and grow positive awareness by showcasing the diversity and dimension of this underwater world and was supported by an integrated marketing campaign across digital, out of home, social media, EDMs, influencers and PR.

The campaign was delivered in key western markets including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada and France. Partnering with Uber gaveTEQ unprecedented access to millions of loyal Uber customers to help tell the story of the Great Barrier Reef to global audiences. Great Barrier Reef holiday packages were also marketed through key distribution partners in these markets to support the campaign and drive visitation to Queensland. The campaign also included a consumer competition allowing one winner from each key western source market plus a friend to win a trip of a lifetime to the Great Barrier Reef and ride in the scUber.

How did travellers experience scUber?

The once-in-a-lifetime experience was bookable through the Uber app in two Great Barrier Reef locations:

  • Heron Island, off the coast of Gladstone in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region
  • Quicksilver Cruises’ Agincourt Reef off the coast of Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland

What is scUber?

scUber provided the experience of a lifetime, allowing people to go beyond the limits of conventional scuba diving in a comfortable and unique environment. The unimpeded viewing ability and nimble manoeuvrability of the speciality submarine allowed guests to explore the Great Barrier Reef in depths of up to 30m, with 180-degree views, all without getting wet. scUber introduced guests to a world that few people get the privilege of experiencing. 

Visitors witnessed first-hand the extraordinary biodiversity of species and habitats that make the Great Barrier Reef one of the most complex natural systems on Earth. From the ‘Great 8’ - Clown fish, Potato cods, Giant clams, Manta rays, Maori wrasse, sharks, turtles and whales - to hard and soft corals such as brain and staghorn coral, sea anemones and elephant ear coral.

Why this campaign?

The scUber campaign was a direct outcome of TEQ’s Great Barrier Reef Framework 2018 – 2025, within which growing positive awareness and demand for Great Barrier Reef experiences is a priority action.

The Great Barrier Reef continues to rank highly as a desirable holiday destination in Queensland’s key international markets and is a significant driver of visitation to Queensland. However, perceptions of the reef internationally are changing and building a greater understanding of the biodiversity of this remarkable eco system – the very basis of its World Heritage listing – is central to inspiring future visitors. This campaign aimed to reset the story on the reef by showcasing it from angles rarely experienced by tourists, infecting travellers with a sense of awe and creating new stories to tell about the reef.

Queensland’s tourism operators play a critical role in giving visitors direct, personal access and presenting the reef’s story. As well as enabling a ‘great’ Great Barrier Reef experience, tourism is a powerful way of communicating the environmental and cultural values, diversity, resilience and recovery mechanisms of our greatest natural wonder. And research shows that those who visit the reef, love the reef – and are more likely to inspire others to visit. 

Why scUber?

A sense of awe profoundly affects everyone that scuba dives and provides a heightened awareness of the importance of working to protect and share this natural wonder. The scUber experience itself aimed to grow positive awareness of the Great Barrier Reef through showcasing the diversity and dimension of the underwater world, and it was supported by a campaign that showed the variety of Great Barrier Reef experiences (both water and land based), encouraging travellers in key western markets to book a holiday to Queensland.

What were the results?

The initiative has generated almost 4,700 articles globally since its launch, with a potential reach of 4.7 billion and a global publicity value of more than $130 million. From the campaign website there has been more than 6,200 product clicks, including leads to retail partners offering Queensland holiday deals.

It is anticipated the campaign will help support an additional 1.4 million visitors spending $1.8 billion over the next three years to the Great Barrier Reef.