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Beautiful one day, pitiful the next: is ‘philausophy’a new low for Australian tourism ads?

October 30th, 2019 | | industry

As the concept of philausophy is unleashed on an unsuspecting world, please share your views on the good, the bad and the frankly odd campaigns in Australian tourism history

Australian tourism ads
 The philausophy campaign is the latest Australian tourism ad to make locals wince. Who knows what other countries think of it. Composite: Tourism Australia/SA Tourism/Queensland Tourism/Victoria Tourism

The word “philausophy” did not exist until Wednesday and, depending on its reception, may not exist for much longer.

The latest international campaign from Tourism Australia has landed, with its awkward, crow-barred pun already dividing audiences in the same way that it inelegantly divides the word “philosophy” itself.

Costing $38m and featuring scores of celebrities over the campaign’s lifetime (Chris Hemsworth, Paul Hogan, Kylie Minogue), it is targeted at potential visitors from North America, Europe and Asia, and plays on the idea that the Australian way of life is as attractive to tourists as the country itself.

Whether that works remains to be seen. It will last for three years, meaning we only have 1,095 more days of philausophy to endure.

In light of “philausophy”, Guardian Australia has compiled a list of the best, worst and most baffling Australian tourism ads of recent years, both state and national. From “Where the bloody hell are you” to the big ball of yarn that briefly terrorised Melbourne.

Have we missed any of your favourite, or least favourite, tourism ads? And where does the latest one rank? Tell us in the comments.

The bad

Philausophy – Australia

Forget Foucault, here’s far north Queensland?

Philausophy has come out of the blocks very slowly. It’s baffling to see and to hear. The pun is strange and, once you get it, not even particularly good, reminiscent of academia rather than fun.

Technically, the full slogan is “Come live our Philausophy“. The problem is that “come live our philosophy” is not a thing that anybody really says anyway. “Come live our philosophy” is what you hear before you enter a large, sealed compound in Utah.

According to the campaign, there are nine “philausophies”. These include: mateship, “no worries attitude”, generosity of spirit, sense of adventure and boundless optimism.

The tourism minister, Simon Birmingham, said: “Philausophy is about giving travellers from around the world a taste of what makes Australia such an enjoyable destination by shining a spotlight on the people, lifestyle and personality that make Australian experiences so memorable.”

These are strings of words that are somehow emptier and more meaningless than the invented word “philausophy”. It takes a special kind of skill to take something so bad, and make it worse.

Where the bloody hell are you? – Australia

The sands of time have rendered this infamous ad – devised when now prime minister Scott Morrison was the managing director of Tourism Australia – better than it first appeared.

Many may now look back on it fondly, with a healthy dose of nostalgia and irony. But there is no escaping the fact that, like “philausophy”, it was almost completely incomprehensible to people outside Australia.

Lara Bingle’s iconic “swear” even resulted in it being banned from many countries, thus falling at the first hurdle for an international ad.

It’s also not even that appealing to those that do manage to see it. Confusing and jarring, it’s the television equivalent of a jabbed finger and a sign that says, “If you lived here, you’d be home by now”.

Old mate – South Australia

If you cannot handle too much sadness, you genuinely should not watch this ad.

South Australia’s latest campaign, launched only last month, is already one of the worst tourism ads ever created.

Actively mean, it essentially makes fun of an old man and has been described as “so depressing it needs the Lifeline number at the end”.

Try and follow the twisted logic here. The ad shows an elderly man, called Dave, touring the beautiful sights of Adelaide, but then becoming sad that he didn’t come here earlier. It ends with Dave crying, and the line: “Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate – it’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

And that’s a write-up where I’ve toned down the tragedy. Watch at your own risk.

The good

Ball of yarn – Victoria

This is a tricky one. I’m going to say that it is good. Why? Well we’re talking about it, aren’t we?

Not actively offensive. Not too confusing. Weird enough to hold your interest. „It’s easy to lose yourself in Melbourne” does what a good ad should. It highlights some distinguishing features about the place (laneways, a supposed sense of whimsy, indie music), and sticks in your head. Even if you hate it, it sort of works”

Be consumed – South Australia

This award-winning ad for the Barossa Valley shows how good SA Tourism can be when not making old men weep.

It’s mostly in here for the music – Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand. The action is earthy, the camerawork atmospheric and again, it hits the food and wine element people are looking for. Roast a bulb of fennel! Caress some eggs!

Does it remind people of the Snowtown serial killings and Adelaide’s supposedly abnormally high rate of murders? Maybe. Does the title hint that a visitor to the Barossa may not survive the experience? Perhaps.

But it also won the grand prix award at the Cannes Corporate Media and TV Awards, so something is going right.

Beautiful one day, perfect the next – Queensland

So good they used it twice.

Genuinely snappy and concise, the Queensland campaign slogan has been the state’s official tagline for decades, and has made its way into the collective consciousness.

When the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast came around, they used it again.

“When you’re on a good thing – stick to it,” said premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

It’s clearly stuck in the mind, and has now become a cultural reference in its own right, which is exactly what you want. Visiting US president Barack Obama even said it in 2015.

C U in the NT – Northern Territory

This is not actually official. But nothing Northern Territory tourism creates can ever beat „C U in the NT” – a satirical, viral marketing campaign that first popped up in 2016 and is run by a private company.

It is miles better than actual Tourism NT slogans, such as 2018’s „Boundless Possible”, which makes no sense.

You will still find many, many people who think that C U in the NT is official, and those who know will treasure it anyway.

The website sells its own merch, and has inspired tonnes of copycats, allowing it to proliferate all across the top end. Darwin City council has attempted to pass bylaws to ban it, but locals have steadfastly ignored them.

ED: Do YOU like the new Tourism Australia campaign?

Comments, please….

Source: Guardian Australia

Sourced by Mike Barrow





One Response

  1. Alan wallish says:

    Can I suggest the “next” TA ad is given to an ad company outside Australia. At least those people will know what attracts them to Australia. Or how about this for a “new” idea. Let someone who actually runs a tourism company come up with a slogan rather than clever inner city ad agencies running on too many almond milk lattes.