13 October 2008

It's just bad timing for Baz Luhrmann's Australia tourism campaign.

The launch of Australian director Baz Lurhmann's $40m advertising campaign for Tourism Australia might just suffer from a case of bad timing.

Two new film advertisements ("Come Walkabout" and "Boabs") have so far been produced which will screen in 22 countries, with the first ad shown in cinema's in the UK last week. It's hard to understand the logic of this media planning decision when none of the advertisements begin in London. The first two film ads featuring the bustling metropoli of New York and Shanghai, before moving to feature the Australian outback.

Altogether 11 different ads are to be shot in all Australian states and territories but it is not clear whether these will be Luhrmann produced film advertisements or a combination of online and print ads.

Each ad is to feature the keywords "arrived" and "departed", with the emphasis on replacing a stressful everyday life with a holiday that promises a traveller will return home a new person.

I wonder what kind of segmentation study, if any, was conducted by the agency for this new campaign and what input Tourism Australia had into both the content and timing of the launch, which seems more aligned with the much slated November release of Luhrmann's film Australia.

On the basis of the the "Come Walkabout" and "Boabs" film advertisements, did Luhrmann have exposure to Nic Roeg's Walkabout and Peter Weir's The Last Wave, as both seem very much in this tradition.

DIFFUSION understood Tourism Australia's strategy was to move away from the standard iconic images of brand Australia into a broader expression of the sum total of an Australia experience. On this basis, while the film ads are beautifully shot and produced there is no real movement away from what is already regarded as an atypical set of images of Australia.

Further, both ads appear targetted at highly paid DINK couples. I was in New York late last week and given that this segment is the one going to be most exposed to the global financial meltdown it seems a rather cruel and ingenuous campaign.

Put simply, bad and unfortunate timing and more of the same against a segment who may very well be concerned about their jobs and financial security than with a holiday in Australia.

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