Australian tourism promotion has never quite got over Paul Hogan.
The ‘Say G’day’ campaign set a high bar and was so successful it launched Hogan’s overseas acting career as well as inserting “throw a shrimp on the barbie” into popular culture.
Well, you may be surprised to learn that that campaign was in 1984, 38 years ago. And Tourism Australia has never managed anything quite so successful since.
There was a brief burst of notoriety with the ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign of 2006, when pearl-clutching UK residents went wobbly at the knees with the language. British sensibilities were so offended the ad was eventually banned.
Well, Tourism Australia has again turned to classic Australian icons and launched the next instalment of its ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ campaign with an animated fuzzy toy kangaroo named Ruby showing off Australia’s natural beauty.
Australian actress Rose Byrne will be the English voice of Ruby, with the campaign officially launched on Wednesday 19 October, although Ruby was unveiled on a digital billboard in Tokyo this week to kickstart her world tour.
Minister for trade and tourism Don Farrell was on hand for Ruby’s Tokyo launch.
“Ruby will resonate with international audiences as the campaign is rolled out across key international markets to remind the world why ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’,” Senator Farrell said.
Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said the campaign was designed to tip consideration to concrete bookings.
“We know that Australia consistently ranks high on people’s consideration list but we need to get travellers to take that critical next step and book their holiday to Australia to experience everything we have to offer,” Ms Harrison said.
“Visitor economies around the world are looking to rebuild as we emerge from the pandemic and that will make the tourism landscape more competitive than ever before, which is why we have made sure ‘Come and Say G’day’ will cut through and make Australia stand out today and in the long term.”
There has been immediate backlash from wildlife campaigners.
Former Australian cricket star and Kangaroos Alive ambassador Jason Gillespie told Travelweekly.com.au that while the industry was using the image of a kangaroo to draw tourists to Australia, the government was ignoring the commercial killing of kangaroos.
“I’m guessing actress Rose Byrne, who is the voice of Ruby, doesn’t realise what really goes on at night,” Mr Gillespie said.
“’Where the bloody hell are you then?”
What’s your favourite tourism campaign? Do you think Tourism Australia is hitting the spot with its promotion of the country? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?