The latest salvo from the Australian Tourism Commission, a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of everything Australia, is reminiscent of the original “Come on, Aussie, Come On” campaign from the 70s (and it looks a little like the Discovery Channel ad, and sounds a bit like this one and a lot like this).
As an Australian, I get the humour, and it’s appealing in a daggy kind of way. The fact that it references all these familiar tunes fits in with the postmodern twist.
As usual, there will be the usual postmortems about why this ad is so much better than that embarrassing “last one”.
But, as I’ve said before, though, most of the world knows Australia is a great place. The issue is one of perceived distance and the psychological, financial and temporal barriers to get here.
Most of the people that I’ve spoken to around the world over the past ten years, all have an impression of Australia that is similar to that portrayed in this new campaign. But the common response that I get when I ask them if they have visited, or plan to visit, is that it is too far away.
They know that they will have a great time when they get here, and they desperately want to come, but Australia is perceived to be too difficult to get to.
I think that branding a country is a good idea, but I also think that if the Australian Tourism Commission is serious about getting people to visit, they have to work with the airlines, hotels and other tourism organisations to reduce the perceived barriers.
Obviously lower airfares would be a start – it would certainly increase the likelihood that people would be able to afford to come here.
The Tourism Commission need to come up with more sophisticated ways to lure people to buy their “product” in a mature market. Back when Paul Hogan told Americans to “throw a shrimp on the barbie”, most of the world didn’t really have a sense of Australia. Now they do.
Another ad campaign won’t reduce the barriers to visitation.
We need to get a bit more sophisticated in our approach. There’s more to marketing than advertising.