7 years ago

Is the new Australia ad campaign wonderfully and intentionally ironic, waiting for viral stardom?

Huge debate in Australia and spreading around the globe following the release of a new TV ad for Tourism Australia.

The new ad follows the marketing campaign to encourage residents to send in photos of their favourite locations in the country – content that was subsequently used in a new inspiration site.

The idea in April was it might be a good idea to change perceptions of the country, hinting that it would be an important part of new campaign.

Fast forward a few weeks and a new TV ad emerges, appearing first of all on highly-trafficked advertising and marketing site Mumbrella.

The clip is stuffed full of cliches, with sequence after sequence almost mocking the original idea from April.


The ad has since managed to attract almost 20,000 views and generate plenty of debate. Perfect viral fodder maybe…

What do you think?

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  3. Charles

    As an American this makes me want to go to Australia, it’s about familiarizing other cultures with Australia. American tunes mixed British pop structure is smart. That Delta Goodrem music is something that would make me want to avoid Australia personally speaking.

    So it is smart advertising universally speaking.. Going with a pop singer is always a bad idea. Bias doesn’t make good advertising.

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  5. Helen

    I’ve just listened to the tune for the first time and I must say it is more than “not an enjoyable experience” … it is awful and I never want to hear it again, let alone sing along with it as suggested by Andrew McEvoy!

    Hey Andrew “Where the Bloody Hell are you?” Australians are much more sophisticated people today and won’t be bobbing along with this 70’s style song.

    Robert’s analysis is spot on, except for the Delta Goodrem bit.

    • RobertKCole

      Ok, as opposed to Delta Goodrem, let’s agree that they should have had a contest for the song. Or is there a better/more relevant Aussie songwriting prospect?

      • Kevin May

        Kevin May

        @robert – methinks Nick Cave is not gonna make it (who, apart from Cat Empire, is probably the only decent musician to come out of Australia).

        Cue another round of anger………..

        • Graham

          What about Cut Copy? and Architecture in Helsinki? there’s lots more…

          • Kevin May

            Kevin May


            Now you’re talking about modern journalism and tourist guides to finland, surely?

  6. David Whitley

    Given that most of the criticism of the ad is that it’s a 1970s throwback, I’m not sure Wolfmother would make that go away 🙂

    But as you say – it’s not about who does the song, but how the song portrays the country.

  7. David Whitley

    There are many reasons why this isn’t an ironic ad, alas. Robert’s analysis is pretty good here (although I’m not sure I’d agree on Delta Goodrem – the aim of the ad is to be fun, not schmaltzy).

    The heart is in the right place. Everyone bangs on about the Where The Bloody Hell Are You? campaign being a disaster, but it arguably worked better than the most recent Baz Luhrmann-directed one. That was aimed too upmarket and didn’t showcase many of the things that people would consider coming to Australia for.

    After that, they needed a more populist mass-market campaign. Hence this one isn’t ironic. There’s also the issue of attempting to make jokes (such as “that’s not a bear”) and largely failing. There would be more of it if it was supposed to be ironic. Oh, and it’s clearly taken a fair bit of money to film – far too much for a risky attempt at a viral internet campaign.

    As Robert said, much of it is spot on. They’re aiming at the right audience, and the theme is absolutely spot. To encourage people to travel so far (and currently so expensive – check the exchange rates), Australia has to focus on what makes it unique. The ad largely does that – even if it cycles through the cliches somewhat.

    The problem is indeed largely the song. It is cringe-inducing and makes the ad stink of cheese. Take it away and replace it with text across the screen (There’s nothing quite like… this X) or replace it with a narration and everything changes.

    As for the lack of non-white faces, yes, it is rather tokenistic, but there are Asian and Aboriginal faces in there. They could have gone further down that route, but let’s face it, if you want Italian restaurants tou’ll go to Italy rather than Carlton and if you want Vietnamese shops you’ll go to Ho Chi Minh City rather than Cabramatta. The large cultural mix is certainly one unique aspect of Australia, but it’s very hard to explain quickly within a short ad and it’s not really one of the key selling points for foreign visitors.

    • RobertKCole

      It really didn’t need to be Delta Goodrem (and/or her collaborators) writing the song. I simply wanted to offer a viable alternative to the the current soundtrack.

      I would have preferred that they opened the competition up to providing songs as well as vacation ideas.

      That said, in the blog post I subsequently decided to write on the topic: http://j.mp/8Z24Xu, I make the case that Goodrem is more relevant, experienced at commission pieces, and had a history with both Director Michael Gracey and creating videos that incorporated film of regular people. That’s a good enough background for me.

      If I was looking for a soundtrack from an Australian artist to back the ad, I might personally like to go with Wolfmother – now that would break some stereotypes… 🙂

      • Graham

        I think you’re on to something with the Wolfmother comment. Thats exactly what I was saying they were MISSING! Music is a huge deal, I met a girl travelling here from Canada who went to three music festivals in the few weeks she was here. (My post http://bit.ly/PWtourismAUS)

  8. Love Australia; Sorry - Hate the Commercial | Views from a Corner Suite

    […] 2010NOTE: This post was originally written as a comment to a Tnooz story on the Tourism Australia There’s Nothing Like Australia television commercial. Due to the large number of video links – some of them to truly great […]

  9. Graham

    I think my own post made it pretty obvious what I thought of this, but I have to add a few more things.

    I showed this to my wife, who Australian born Malaysian-Chinese, and her first question was, “Whats with the lack of non white people?” and it’s true. An aboriginal kid in a billabong? Come on, it’s a constant challenge to get aboriginals standard of living level with that of the rest of Australia. There are a lof of examples of successful, modern aboriginals, so why choose something like this?

    I sent the link to my mom and gave her a call on skype to hear what she thought of it. She made her first trip to Australia last year (Sydney). She felt it was not representative of the true experience of this country.

    To put this in perspective, it would be like having (Fictional) Tourism America make a commercial featuring Native americans hunting on the plains, guys in jacked up trucks 4×4’ing in the mud with cowboy hats and a few shots of a nascar race. Does that represent America? You could say it does, but does it sell America short? Of course it does.

    As a government funded business, Tourism Australia has a duty of care to represent Australia in a proper, balanced and TRUE way to the rest of the world. We’ve evolved from the Crocadile dundee days of yesteryear, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from this.

  10. RobertKCole

    Wholeheartedly agree that the ad is ironic. Unfortunately, based on some of the quotes I have read from Tourism Australia officials, it was unintentionally ironic.

    On paper, it should have worked. But it didn’t.

    Tourism Australia spent big $$ with DDB Australia using director Michael Gracey who had previously directed the excellent and highly viral Evian “Roller Babies” http://j.mp/aIFSnY Lipton “Tokyo Hotel” http://j.mp/9ETL3r and T-Mobile “Dance” http://j.mp/aA7qkF videos.

    Josh Abrahams, who penned the theme music also has a pedigree, having co-produced the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge http://j.mp/cszjzQ

    So why didn’t it work?

    It was not the:
    Tagline – There’s Nothing Like Australia
    (Great – and factual)
    Images – People enjoying the experience Australia
    (Very Good – visually engaging)
    Messaging – Eliminate preconceived stereotypes of Australia
    (Good – clearly outlined in this video http://j.mp/d6wIrL soliciting user contributions for the campaign)

    No, it was the damn song.

    It appears that the objective was to capture something simple and memorable – a catchy melody that would stick with the viewer.

    An that is where they went wrong. The grating, sing-songy tune not only gives one the desire to immediately forget it, but also unintentionally invalidates all the underlying cornerstones of the campaign:

    a) There are innumerable simplistic jingles just like it
    b) Listening to the song is not an enjoyable experience
    c) It reinforces bad stereotypes of low quality travel-related jingles

    Tourism Australia completely missed the point that the design of their relevant, user generated campaign would be undone by the one component that was not user generated.

    The final result was not a clever Tourism Australia strategy. Before the ad’s release, Managing Director Andrew McEvoy was quoted by the Herald Sun earnestly stating “Maybe people will start singing along and make it a bit of an anthem for Australia.” That is not irony – that is delusional.

    This narrow-miss style disaster has happened to Australia before – The 2006 “So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” ad http://j.mp/aOkYOu was banned in the UK. Again, a great ad, this time, undone by an easily modified tag line that prevented it from becoming wildly successful.

    Of course, it is easy to play Monday-morning quarterback and criticize the “Nothing Like Australia” ad without providing recommendations for improvement. I have two:

    First, it would have been a much better idea to extend the direction of the campaign and have a competition to select a user-composed song.

    If that was considered too risky, then they could still have gone the professional route.

    My suggestion would have been to commission a song by Delta Goodrem. Not only is she a talented Aussie native, but a much more relevant composer than Josh Abrahams whose big chart success was Puretone’s formulaic “Addicted to Bass” in 1998 http://j.mp/ath8tm

    Goodrem also has experience collaborating with user generated content for her “You Will Only Break My Heart” video http://j.mp/bDuA9X More importantly, Gracey had earlier directed Goodrem in her “Innocent Eyes” music video http://j.mp/8Zh1ep

    My bet would have been on someone like Goodrem to create a more modern and unique song, while providing a memorable melody that could have dramatically altered the impact of the ad.

    A great song could have made “There’s Nothing Like Australia” a great campaign.

  11. Tweets that mention Is the new Australia ad campaign wonderfully and intentionally ironic, waiting for viral stardom? | Tnooz -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jane @CMH Ski & Hike and Jane @CMH Ski & Hike, Kevin May. Kevin May said: Is the new Australia ad campaign wonderfully and intentionally ironic, waiting for viral stardom? http://bit.ly/d5qasr [Tnooz] @mumbrella […]


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