New tourism campaign 'nothing like Australia', say critics

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The Independent Online

Australia's latest bid to lure back tourists earned mixed reviews on Tuesday, with many viewers cringing at its Crocodile Dundee-style themes while experts said it may strike a chord with foreigners.

The TV advert, under the new slogan "There is nothing like Australia" and backed by a catchy song, features broad-accented Aussies and smiling visitors enjoying well-known attractions such as beaches and the giant red rock Uluru.

Reviewers were quick to jump on the dated feel of the ad, which ignores campaigns of recent years and harks back to the 1980s "shrimp on the barbie" commercials fronted by actor Paul Hogan.

"A wonderful piece of creative from 1987," said one comment on the Mumbrella (www.mumbrella.com.au) media site.

"Why do we have to portray ourselves as a nation of backward bogans (hicks) stuck in a timewarp on the global stage?" said another comment, while the Sydney Morning Herald called the ad an "ocker (unsophisticated) shocker".

"Stone the crows, are they fair dinkum (genuine) about this flamin' ad?" asked the newspaper, parodying Australian speech. "What the bloody hell were they thinking?"

However, academics believe the advert may be popular with tourists, whose numbers have dwindled after record highs in the 1990s.

"I think it probably will work," cultural historian Tony Moore told the Herald.

Australian tourism initiatives have struggled in recent years, with 2006's "So where the bloody hell are you?" campaign deemed offensive by some.

Director Baz Luhrmann's 2008 movie "Australia", which tourism officials hoped would draw in foreign visitors, also proved a miss with critics.

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