A grassroots marketing committee of Mary Valley representatives has used the popular “Mary Valley Country” phrase for a stunning new billboard campaign on the Bruce Highway.
A grassroots marketing committee of Mary Valley representatives has used the popular “Mary Valley Country” phrase for a stunning new billboard campaign on the Bruce Highway. Kaili Parker Price

Billboard status for Valley

WITH school holidays around the corner, the Mary Valley has put itself in the spotlight to ensure it gets a cut of the tourist market.

A grassroots marketing committee of Mary Valley representatives has used the popular “Mary Valley Country” phrase for a stunning new billboard campaign on the Bruce Highway.

The first billboard skin was installed this week to catch the eye of north-bound traffic near the Traveston Crossing entry to the Mary Valley.

The tagline “come out to play” underwrites the spontaneous fun portrayed by the image.

The face of the moment is three-year-old Max Johnson, who takes to life in the Mary Valley at full speed - camping, playing, running barefoot on his parents’ acreage and helping to feed the chickens and gather the homegrown fruit and veggies.

The imagery of the billboard suggests that there is more to the Mary Valley than meets the eye, according to Gympie Cooloola Tourism board director and chairman of Gympie Council’s Sport and Recreation Committee, Gympie Councillor Jan Watt.

The billboard campaign is a collaborative effort between member groups of the Mary Valley marketing committee, specifically Gympie Cooloola Tourism, Mary Valley Inc and Bishopp Signs.

The “Mary Valley Country” theme is the key recommendation from the Mary Valley Identity Report released by Tourism Queensland and Tourism Sunshine Coast this year.

Cr Watt said the research presented in the identity report indicated that while the Mary Valley was “special in its own right”, not enough people knew about it.

The research team identified that the best way to understand the Mary Valley was to experience it first hand.

“The report’s research found that once someone discovers ‘Mary Valley Country’ they return up to six times a year,” she said. “The main reason for visiting the valley was outdoor sporting and recreational pursuits and we are building on sustainable and natural tourism activities.”

She said the marketing committee’s first step was to install two skins on the highway this year.

The decision to fund the billboard campaign was made by community organisation Mary Valley Inc and Bishopp Signs have backed the project.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism has dedicated one of its billboards to the Mary Valley signage for 12 months.

Once natural outdoor recreation and activity enthusiasts discover “Mary Valley Country”, they come back often, the identity report states.

It goes on to say that most people are not aware that the Mary Valley is an outdoor recreation hub and yet for many of the outdoor activities offered, the Mary Valley does it better than many other South East Queensland destinations that compete to attract visitors.

The marketing committee has taken the recommendations on board and will begin a campaign to promote the different kinds of “come out to play” activities in the valley one-at-a-time with depth and specificity.

To get this underway, the marketing committee is looking for activity champions who will drive the activities they are passionate about, for example, a camping champion and a horse riding champion.

An open discussion with the community about this marketing direction will take place at the Kandanga Hotel on October 5 with details to be confirmed.

Inquiries to Julie Worth on 5484 3195 or Kaili Parker-Price on 0447 053244.

The committee has also adopted the suggestion to market the valley by personalising “Mary” as an active girl who doesn’t give up her secrets easily.

Gympie Times


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