A problem worth solving: Cairns Airport Parking – Meet the Parkers Project

In June 2016 Cairns Airport Parking was losing share to other transport modes including taxis, free drop off and offsite airport parking, showing a 10% loss to other transport modes.

Social media platforms had also highlighted another problem – negative conversations taking place around the perception of Cairns Airport Parking’s “price and value”. A focus group was used to confirm these perceptions.

The Plan

The plan was to engage with a local creative media agency to deliver core campaign messages, in a way that would engage and resonate with the target market. A campaign was required to re-frame the Cairns Airport Parking conversation now, and into the future by positively influencing the conversation around Cairns Airport Parking. The campaign would need to entertain and cut through, whilst delivering a value message across selected car park products and increase car parking revenue across all products and locations.

The following plan was established:

  • Set clear campaign goals from data analysed.
  • Engage creative agency to develop high-level campaign concept and its delivery.
  • Communicate concept to management team to confirm campaign goals were delivered and results achieved.
  • Undertake focus group to test concept and campaign engagement. Adjust campaign accordingly based on results.
  • Locally produce all video and publishing content required for campaign delivery.

Utilise local companies and talent as part of Cairns Airport’s “community first” core value.

Campaign Creation

  • “Meet the Parkers” concept was developed and delivered to management through visual storyboards and campaign drafts, which included television, press and outdoor executions.
  • The “Meet the Parkers” idea was kept simple to address the issue of potential customers “tuning out” any message delivered about car parking, which can lack excitement and is perceived as a grudge purchase. It also addressed the issue of a lack of engagement in any message from Cairns Airport Parking due to negative perceptions in the market place.
  • “Meet the Parkers” used “car parking” characters to engage with the potential customers. Research undertaken had indicated that individual parking traits could be broken down into several categories. “We all know one” was a major driver behind this campaign; the engagement sought to have people associate with e.g. “Hey Dad, that’s you!” or “100% you Mum”. Once engagement was achieved, a value offer was always to be delivered.
  • Initially there were five categories of parking traits put forward. This was reduced to three after a focus group was undertaken to test overall campaign engagement, along with individual character traits. Three characters tested highly for relatability and likeability. The following three characters were chosen, along with a presenter. Let’s “Meet the Parkers”:
  • The “Perfect” Parker – everything must be just right. Must be parked exactly in the middle of every parking space. Just the right distance – front, back and sides. Has been known to get out of the car to check. Will keep reversing in and out until perfect.
  • Mr “There’s Always A Closer Spot” – We all know one. Maybe you are one? Will never take the first spot they see. “There’s going to be a closer spot”. This is their catch cry. Responsible for more passenger anguish and divorce, than any other parker.
  • I See Parking Fairies – Seems to always get that parking space right where they need it. Perfect position, every time. It’s like they call upon their very own “Parking Fairy” whenever they need it. We all need a Parking Fairy, but only a special few have the power to summon the fairy.

Location filming was undertaken over two days. This included video and still image capture. Seasonal images were also taken e.g. Christmas, Easter, State of Origin. All creative assets were completed and approved for launch.


  • “Meet the Parkers” launch. All the characters were introduced to the marketplace. Even in this early stage a value offer was always included. The launch phase was delivered across synchronised and multiple platforms – Television, Cinema, Outdoor Billboards and Digital Media – Facebook, Instagram, Google Display.

After initial launch, eNewsletters were delivered to the existing database, along with offsite bus advertising. Lightboxes and other prominent display locations throughout the airport were also utilised. Ongoing, seasonal, targeted campaigns were undertaken e.g. Christmas and Easter, with the continuing above the line “Meet the Parkers” main campaign.


The results of the successful “Meet the Parkers” campaign can be seen across the whole car parking business. Despite a drop in local passengers travelling, there has been a year on year revenue growth and a 25% growth in online revenue.

The campaign has also positively re-framed the conversation around Cairns Airport Parking. Along with revenue growth and effectiveness in digital platforms, social media interactions around the Meet the Parkers campaign have also been positive:

  • “I guess that’s a fairy good deal” G.S
  • “I just booked 23 nights for $141… closest car par parking facility was $187 for the same period, and we had to use a shuttle” E.S
  • “I love the parking fairy!!!!” T.B

The Outcome

It was clear that this campaign achieved broader reach than initially anticipated. For example, a local radio breakfast show ran an unpaid segment referring to the “Meet the Parkers” campaign, asking people to discuss their parking trait, and who they know with different traits. This was a positive and entertaining segment. In another example a local school used the “Meet the Parkers” campaign to showcase to students the elements behind an advertising and marketing campaign. This was reported to have achieved very high engagement from students.

Onsite feedback – Secure Parking (car park management company) staff advised of positive interactions revolving around the “Meet the Parkers” campaign with customers asking, “Where is the parking fairy?” or “Now that’s a perfect park”. Overall, very positive interactions are being seen.

Cairns Airport Parking has become part of the local community. We now have an identity, a very magical one, thanks to our Parking Fairy, and other parking characters.

Cairns Airport Parking won the Outstanding Marketing and Communications Award at the 2017 Parking Industry Awards. Feedback from the judges identified that, “Cairns Airport addressed a common issue faced by many parking operators and tackled it head on, bringing human emotion, fun and creativity.” Praise was also awarded for the broad-reaching outcomes. “Great involving a local company who also understand local issues – seems simple but many don’t! The campaign characters are fantastic. Outstanding. Really like the flow on to schools. A real pleasure to read and judge your submission. Thank you.”


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