You have to wonder what’s in the water cooler in the marketing department of Tourism Australia. First they tried to impose a new “Philausophy” on us, and now they want to seduce the Brits with a “Matesong”.
Unless you live under Uluru you will have heard all the hype about the new three-minute, $15 million tourism ad starring our darling, Kylie Minogue, and co-starring Adam Hills. It also features cameos by an honour role of Australian sporting identities including Ash Barty, Shane Warne, and Ian Thorpe; as well as a scene stealing appearance by an adorable little quokka – destined to overtake the koala as our favourite furry mascot.
Kyles, bless her, gives her best larrikin, working with a song that would musically be better suited to grave digging, and lyrically is more cringeworthy than a parliamentary speech by Bob Katter. It’s all tongue in cheek, of course, with poetic jewels like ‘When you need an end to what ails ya / call on your friends in Australia” and “go grab your cosies, you’re Aussies tonight” having been scrawled by Eddie Perfect.
The feature length ad cum music video takes several swipes at our British friends with not so subtle references to Brexit, bland cuisine, emotional repression, and snobbery, but this is offset by the gracious pop-in of the beloved Charlene.
It is as cluttered with idiosyncrasies as the Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony (although there aren’t any flying trams or Websters), and has “Australia” spread in glorious diphthong across the firm buttocks of a row of lifesavers, but will our Miss be a hit? Can Kylie and Adam’s beard overcome any concerns the Brits might have about being roasted alive?
The timing of the campaign has been criticised with some calling it insensitive. However, given the lead time and scheduling involved in a marketing campaign this size, it’s probably more unfortunate than inconsiderate that is has launched during our worst bushfire season ever.
Something else that has been noted is the lack of diversity among the people and themes featured. There’s not a lot in the way of coloured skin or coloured flags, nor any reference to cultural offerings that might appeal to visitors who don’t want to surf, trek, or kiss quokkas.
Or, is Kylie, by her very presence, (with all due respect) a dog whistle?
Who the bloody hell knows?