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Brand Australia Image Marketing

From The Business Spectator:

Could a ‘Clive-zilla’ help sell Australia?  And unlike other parts of the ‘five pillars’ plan the Coalition took to the 2013 election, it would take a special kind of incompetence to stuff up this sector (tourism is one of the five ‘services’ pillars, with the other four being manufacturing, agriculture, education and research, and mining).

But that is an important point, given that we’ve seen such incompetence once before.  In 2006 M and C Saatchi created a major global marketing campaign for Tourism Australia featuring Lara Bingle asking the world “where the bloody hell are you?”

The resounding reply was “stepping onto a plane headed somewhere else”.

Though the $180 million campaign was initially hailed as a success, it quickly dawned on the incoming Rudd government that numbers of tourists coming to Australia had fallen and ‘Brand Australia’ was flagging in the global tourism stakes.

From being the ‘most valuable country brand’ in the world in 2008, it gradually slipped to sixth place by 2012-13 in the FutureBrand Country Brand Index…..

….. Marketing initiatives of recent years have not had the cut-through of the legendary Hoges ads, but despite its detractors, the film ‘Australia’ by Baz Luhrmann provided the launch pad for a fairly successful ‘Come walkabout’ campaign by Tourism Australia in 2008.

Because it piggy-backed on the movie, that campaign did significantly better on the PR side than on the advertising side – it cost just $0.28 to reach 1,000 people via the global PR campaign, compared with $1.50 to reach the same number via paid advertising.

Is there a moral in that story? Is it worth ramping up advertising without launching a hit movie at the same time?

Both Paul Hogan’s ‘Crocodile Dundee’ in 1986 and Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ in 2008 broke box office records in the US.

So do we need a new hit movie to get things moving again?’


Yes and no!  Films, music and related content are excellent, but only if they are authentic and produced by users themselves, or existing successful cultural content.

Good example was “Crocodile Dundee” in 1980s, bad example the cringeworthy film “Australia” when classic Australian films appreciated internationally already exist e.g. “The Castle” (research by a UK tour operator found most informed their destination choice by film or cinema influences).

Further, with music such as Peter Allen still calling Australia home…… in the case of Western Australia it already has fantastic music known internationally, evocative of WA and accessible for any campaigns e.g. Eskimo Joe “From the Sea”, The Stems “At First Sight” and The Triffids “Wide Open Road”.

Tourism Australia does a good job especially by using and encouraging digital marketing via SEO/social media and ‘Aussie Specialists‘, internationally (vs ‘old school’ state tourism and international education marketing bodies who don’t seem to get digital excpet for outbound digital campaigns, and merely ‘allocate’ budgets for one off events, websites not well SEOd and only contacts are state offices or paying advertisers) .

Further, for past 15 years Tourism Australia has been seemingly used as a propaganda arm of governments promoting an image of Australia back to Australians themselves, or how some Australians want to be viewed by the outside world?

Australian white nativist forces via ‘Australia’s best demographer’ who is informed by racist networks in USA, has led a xenophobic campaign of ‘dog whistling’ through informing mainstream journalists (from Andrew Bolt through to the ABC) and lobbying politicians.  This has been through proxy issues of opposing ‘population growth’ for ‘sustainable population’, WHV backpackers, international students, 457 workers, (Asian/Mid East/African) immigrants, refugees, those of non English speaking background, Moslems, Chinese etc. (especially influential with previous government via Labor MPs Bob Carr and Kelvin Thomson)

Till Australians are encouraged to be positive about our diverse multicutural society, it’s a hard sell, even though it’s what impresses most international visitors?  Is Australia going to be forward looking or do we still keep one eye on the rear vision mirror for a sepia tinted image of the 1950s?

For more information about Australian business, investment and services exports click through.

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