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DDB Catching Some Crap For Australian Campaign

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With the news of horrific fires coming out of Australia, the country’s tourism board along with DDB needs to surge on. Their most recent campaign was crafted by Baz Luhrmann in an attempt to wipe the slate of a previous effort, which was widely considered a flop and came with the tagline, “So Where The Hell Are You?” For the third effort in this series, DDB is supposedly going to include “just about every cliche of Australia.” Slated to launch in June, the campaign will echo the theme of transformation that was kicked off by Luhrmann with its copy line, “Come Walkabout.”

The problem? Australians are up in arms about the planned work. As The Sydney Morning Herald said:

“With the global tourism market in the doldrums – overseas visitors are forecast to drop by 4 per cent – do we really need to have a one-size-fits-all ad for Australia? Unlike a Mars Bar or McDonald’s, which delivers the same experience the world over, people come to Australia for different reasons. Yes, Luhrmann and TA made two Walkabout ads – one for Westerners and one for Asians – but they deliver the same message that Australia offers a transformative experience. Now is not the time to have another stab at creating a brand for Australia as a tourist destination. It is the time for getting more bums on seats.”

Basically, the newspapers of Australia are not only re-working the creative, but building a media plan for the campaign, while the Tourism Board and DDB sit in the wings preparing to do what they damn well please. The ad campaign is ignoring travel trends caused by the global recession: trips closer to home and smaller budgets, which may knock out trips to bush country. Australians are thinking – there’s more to our country than just the bush. The Tourism board also has no intention of shifting their media dollars to countries that are better weathering the economic decline. Instead, the largest feeder markets (Japan, New Zealand, America) are getting small slices of the overall spend, while nearly 10 percent is targeted to Australians themselves.

When newspapers and citizens are acting as planners, perhaps one should listen? The wisdom of crowds and all that.

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