Is this the future of travel? Meet the 'Remote Control Tourist'

"What if there was a way to see, hear, taste and touch a place before you even got there? What if you could go before you go?"

That was the tag line for a recent campaign aimed at drawing tourists to Melbourne, Australia, and the state of Victoria, where the town is located.

The idea: put cameras on the heads of four people, live stream the video and have folks go to a website and use social media to tell the 'remote control tourists' and what sights they should see.

The result was a fun and creative way to draw interest from around the world. The promotion, launched by Victoria's Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher, ran for five days earlier this month. Here's a highlight reel:

In all, the four remote control tourists received 8,726 requests from folks. Here are some of the other numbers:

  • 270,000 seconds of live streaming
  • 321 check-ins
  • 88 - highest floor reached
  • 203 high-fives and hugs
  • 34 coffees consumed
  • 63 drinks shouted
  • 11 burgers consumed
  • There was even one successful marriage proposal!

While the campaign only lasted for a few days, the tourism folks there say it was a success and they now have plenty to share with those who might be thinking about visiting the area.

"A legacy of the initiative is the amazing array and original nature of the footage and images of Melbourne that have been captured during the live period," Asher said. "This will be used as part of the ongoing Play Melbourne campaign, which runs through to June next year."

But what about the expense of doing something like this? Well, the tourism industry does bring $19.1 billion to Victoria and employs over 200,000 people in the region.

"People from over 158 countries and 3,888 cities checked out the website during the five days attracting more than 103,000 hits and over 150,000 visits to YouTube videos so far," Asher said. "There's also been extensive international media coverage for the uniqueness of the campaign, which has been a great advertisement for Melbourne."

A New Era in Advertising?

'Remote Control Tourist' is the latest in some wild stunts aimed at grabbing people's attention. Think about it - in a day and age where TV viewers fast forward through commercials and Internet ads tend to annoy people more than sell them something, advertisers have to get creative. And that means we starting to see some wild promotional ideas coming to life. Here are a few we've mentioned recently:

Light Forest

This 'light forest' suddenly appeared along Boston's Charles River Esplanade. Where did it come from? The folks at Lucy, a company that sells active wear, put it there to promote their company. The light forest will also be traveling to other locations across the United States.

Departure Roulette

Heineken put a giant board up at JFK International Airport in New York with a big red button. The idea was simple - hit the button and fly off to whatever randomly selected destination came up.

Dragon Skull

This stunt came from the folks at Blinkbox, who promoted their on-demand release of the popular Games of Thrones series by surprising beachgoers with a giant dragon skull.