South Australia slammed for ‘saddest tourism ad ever’

The ‘seven things to do in your ’70s’ blog and promotional video may have missed the mark. Or did it?

South Australia slammed for ‘saddest tourism ad ever’

Brett Hill is no slouch when it comes to promoting South Australia.

The South Australia Tourism Commission’s executive director of marketing, already the mastermind behind the State of Wonder campaign earlier this year, knows how to get a response from his promotions.

So, when his latest campaign is labelled ‘the saddest tourism ad ever’, you know he knows he’s had a win. He knows the buttons to push.

The advert, titled Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate, depicts a man in his late seventies, visiting a range of South Australian attractions, with a sad, almost morose look on his face. At one point, while hovering over what looks to be a football match at Adelaide Oval, he even sheds a tear.

The advert closes with the hook: “Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate. It’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

Social media slammed the ad, with some claiming it was so depressing it should have included a link to a suicide hotline at the end of it, reports Travel Weekly. Some of the comments read:

“If it truly is an advertising campaign, then it’s a terrible mistake.”

“Don’t like it at all. It’s not funny or quirky, [it] just mocks an old man who is lonely.”

“It’s so depressing it needs the Lifeline number at the end.”

“It’s offensive to our state and older people.”

But Brent Hill defended his tactic.

“You’d be crazy if you made an ad like this and didn’t expect to get some response,” he told ABC Radio.

“That’s obviously what it was designed to do – we definitely wanted to put something out there that was getting a message across. We knew it wasn’t going to be of everyone’s cup of tea.

“We want to punch home that message that too many people were saying, ‘We’ll get to Adelaide one day’.”

The campaign is backed up by a mock blog written by the ad’s protagonist, Old Mate, as well as his very own Instagram page.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he wrote on his South Australia tourism ‘blog page’.

“Adelaide? Isn’t that the sort of place you go in your twilight years, to while away the hours in a dated doily-clad BNB, with an Agatha Christie novel and a glass of port? That’s what I thought. And that’s why I’m writing this to you, full of regret. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Adelaide but were leaving it for a more cerebral time in your life, let me tell you, you’ve got it all wrong. Here are just a few of the things you should do, see and experience in Adelaide now, before it’s too late.”

Check out the ad and see what all the fuss is about.

Do you think the ad missed the mark? Or was it a clever promotion?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    28th Sep 2019
    It's missed the mark. I'm in my 70's and if this is how my solo senior years travel would be almost mocked in South Australia then I'll take my money elsewhere.
    28th Sep 2019
    Seen SA - no further interest...... back-packing Europe for me...
    28th Sep 2019
    I don't get it. It's about a senior travelling and enjoying himself. People travel at any age. I love travelling on my own.
    5th Oct 2019
    what's sad is that this ad has caused so much attention, who cares.
    5th Oct 2019
    what's sad is that this ad has caused so much attention, who cares.
    28th Sep 2019
    It got people talking, which was the point. I used to never give Adelaide a thought, it’s over there, might go some time, whatever. But then with nowhere else to go, I did! What a wonderful surprise - I absolutely loved it! Fantastic art gallery, museum, zoo, botanical gardens, walkable city, wine regions, lovely small towns - it’s got everything. Been back again. The old guy should have gone sooner, and he’s sorry he didn’t.

    28th Sep 2019
    The most ageist thing about tourism is the simple reality that there are, in many places, no reasonable stop-overs where those unable to walk the required ten kilometre track can see things. Our recent tour of Tasmania's Wilderness was marred by such things as seeing a sign called Surprise Valley - the surprise was we got all the way down without seeing any placed to stop so the ex could view it... same even around here in 'Paradise' - many spots that would be excellent and provide sweeping views etc are inaccessible for those who can't climb it or walk it...
    28th Sep 2019
    Im in my mid seventies & I wish I had traveled when I was younger I think the add hits the mark,dont leave it to late
    28th Sep 2019
    I agree bandy. But for whatever reason many didn't travel when they were younger. In our younger years travel was very expensive and most of us were busy earning a living or raising a family - often both.
    Although we might wish we'd been able to travel when younger, we didn't. I'd like to think that now we finally can, we're going to be welcomed with respect and not treated as 'that old bloke' or 'that old woman' who were too stupid to have traveled earlier in life.
    The ad should be canned, along with the advertising company that thought it was clever or appropriate.
    28th Sep 2019
    Sorry, sure wouldn't inspire me to visit. I don't appreciate ads that use people's misfortune or discomfort to get their point across. If this is the standard for advertising now, I think it's fallen a long, long way.
    28th Sep 2019
    Same old whingers, whinging about anything and everything. If they cannot label something as racist, misogynistic, homophobic or, as in this case, ageist they are not fulfilled. The ad in question did nothing to me, I have been to Adelaide many times; if I never go again I will not shed a tear but I was not the least bit offended by it.
    28th Sep 2019
    My impressions of this guy are that he recalls the good times throughout his life compared to sick self centered society we are now living in. Not confined to SA.
    2nd Oct 2019
    Political correctness has outlawed anything that even remotely depicts its most treasured "identity" groups negatively. However, it doesn't seem to included seniors on this privileged list. Imagine if this ad had instead targetted blacks, Muslims, homosexuals or transgendered individuals - there would have been far louder outcries. I often wonder why the aged - one of the most vulnerable groups in society - are not offered the P.C mantle that protects other vulnerable groups against so-called 'hate speech'

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