Tourism Australia has a long and sordid history of failed publicity and ad campaigns. But none so eloquently summed up the problem as the infamous ‘So Where The Bloody Hell Are You?’ ads featuring model Lara Bingle which were promptly banned in the UK for, you guessed it, using offensive language.
The famously prudish Yanks also turned their nose up at our painful attempt to be the cool kid on the block and the campaign slipped into obscurity shortly after. Their next very expensive project was bringing Oprah down under but that too failed to excite the American tourist enough to cause an avalanche of bookings.
It’s also pretty cringeworthy to use John Travolta as an Australian mascot. Sure, he flies around an old Qantas jet, but he’s more Scientologist alien than he’ll ever be true blue.
By now you’re probably wondering what this all has to do with music. Some public servants have obviously been very busy trying to figure out how they can capture the attention of the world again like they did in the 80s.
Back then they used Aussie actor Paul Hogan who gave birth to the catchphrase ‘shrimp on the barbie’ which we’ve all been trying to distance ourselves from since. We’ll assume that Hogan is no longer returning phone calls from the Australian Government after they snatched is passport when the tax office tried to get him to pay tax on over $37.6 million in earnings.
This left Tourism Australia with a problem. They knew the 80s were somehow cool again but who from the 80s could they get to represent Australia? Alan Bond was busy mining blood diamonds in the Congo, and Men At Work, well, they stole that song.
But then as if by divine intervention the perfect spokesperson landed in their laps when iconic 80s band Icehouse announced their reformation towards the end of last year. Jumping at the chance frontman Iva Davies has been snapped up and made an official ‘Friend Of Australia’, whatever that means.
Davies has recorded an ad promoting Australia, which features Icehouse’s famous single ‘Great Southern Land’, and was partially filmed at Homebake Music Festival. Davies will also travel to Los Angeles for G’day LA Week joining past ambassadors such as Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman and Olivia Newton John. So is the singer a better ambassador than previous years? You can see the advert below. Let us know what you think.