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?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Related articles:
South Australia’s best-kept secret
Max sails to South Australia
Why you should visit South Australia

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula could be the state’s best-kept secret

South Australia's Yorke Peninsula could be the state's best-kept secret.

Max Williams rates his budget cruise to South Australia

Is a budget cruise a great way to see South Australia?

Six great reasons to visit South Australia

South Australia is an understated gem. Here's why you need to visit the Wine State.