After being trounced by the British at the Olympics, the Australian Sport’s Commission's new viral campaign to attract rising Australian sports stars for 2012 Games has caused a bit of a stir back in the Mother Country.
AuSports “Let's rip those Brits to bits” campaign has caused a minor furore, with the Pommy press unsure whether to take the portrayal as a national insult or a bit of a lark with even the Sunday Times drawn into the debate asking if “the Aussies have lost the plot?”.
“It reflects the depth of feeling among Australians that Britain finished above them in the Beijing medals table last summer and the determination of the Canberra government to redress the balance in four years’ time,” said the Times on the weekend.
The AusSports viral video campaign, developed by Sydney digital agency Bullseye, features a London chav in a hoodie, taunting young Australians about our low Beijing medal count and baiting them to stand up and be counted for the 2012 Olympics in London.
AuSports’ National Talent Identification and Development Program senior manager Morag Croser said it was anticipating a return serve from the British as a result of the campaign, despite the fact it’s not even the target.
She said AuSports expected British indignation would “be forthcoming" and I think retaliation even swifter.
The Poms took bragging to a whole new level after it finished with 19 gold medals to our 14 in China as it looks to cement a place in the pantheon. spending US$375m on its elite athletes in the London Olympics run-up compared to Australia’s US$140m.
AuSports said sporting superpowers America and China have talent pools in excess of four and 22 million respectively; the campaign is designed to increase the size of Australia’s pool, which AusSports puts at only 280,000 people.
It’s a point of national pride that we see ourselves as one of world’s leading sporting countries punching well above weight in Olympics since 1988. But being beaten by the Brits in the medal tally or, for that matter, being beaten by them in any sport is seen as somewhat of a national disgrace.
This blog originally appeared in AdAge on 17 December.