Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, February 23, 2021

Like a boomerang to the head, Australia’s official “So Where The Bloody Hell Are You?” tourism campaign is hitting a nerve all over The Land Down Under.

The ad takes in all the familiar shots - beaches, deserts, the outback - with a host of typical Aussies imploring you: “We’ve poured you a beer, we’ve had the camels shampooed, we’ve saved you a spot on the beach… and we’ve got the sharks out of the pool.” It culminates in a scantily-clad girl on a beach asking, somewhat incongruously: “So where the bloody hell are you?”

Despite a few complaints about bad language, “bloody” is hardly considered a swear word in Australia anymore. Tune into any radio or TV station and, unlike in Britain, you will hear it, and worse, used constantly. Even the recent death of Kerry Packer was a reminder that despite his status as a multi-millionaire media tycoon, he is best remembered for the (im)mortal lines, uttered after his first heart attack: “Son, there’s fucking nothing there.”

Asked about the ad, Bailey defended it: “This is presenting Australia as we are. We’re plain-speaking, we’re friendly. It’s using the vernacular.”

Insert the predictable/obligatory penal colony joke here…

I’m more amused by the vaguely intimidating tone — probably not an approach advocated by the hospitality industry’s code of conduct. I mean, if they’re going to curse at you during their sales pitch, wouldn’t you expect a lot of profanity during your visit? I know I would.

Just in case this approach doesn’t pan out, the Australian tourism folks should make sure Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan is on-deck for a quick damage-control countercampaign. And if he’s not available, then perhaps Yahoo Serious.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/23/2006 11:14 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg.
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eat your wheaties
During my trashing of Bode Miller, I noted that the biggest tragedy lay in the marketing angle: A fundamental dearth of star power for Team USA, in all sports. (I would cite Men’s Hockey, since you’d assume NHL players would bring their own aura of celebrity with them, medal or no medal… But I’ll defer on that rant.)

That lack hasn’t gone unnoticed on Madison Avenue. Advertisers are cringing at the lack of anyone on whom to hitch a wagon, and are declaring Torino to be the weakest Olympics to come down the pike in years.

There were high hopes for Sasha Cohen:

Salvaging positive spin has been largely left to Cohen. She is leading the competition entering the women’s figure skating long program Thursday and could rise above her American teammates in marketing appeal by winning the gold medal. She replaced Michelle Kwan as the face of figure skating after Kwan withdrew with an injury shortly after arriving here.

If Cohen can protect the lead she earned in the short program and become the third consecutive American to win the Olympic women’s singles, marketers agree she will be the enduring face of these Games.

“The big names have fallen by the wayside,” Bob Dorfman, the executive creative director for Pickett Advertising, said Wednesday in a telephone interview from San Francisco. “Now it’s Sasha Cohen’s game to win or lose. If she wins a gold, she’ll be golden with the marketers. If she wins silver or bronze, it will be seen as a bit of a disappointment.”

Cohen stumbled to a silver, so I guess disappointment rules.

Actually, I’m not sure why Cohen isn’t better regarded. She was already a big name in figure skating before these Olympics; she certainly has enough endorsement deals already to prove her marketability. I’m betting she emerges as the most-endorsable figure from these Games.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/23/2006 08:48 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Other Sports
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I was reminded of a peculiar modern-day phenomenon while watching last night’s “Late Show with David Letterman”: Non-alcoholic vodka.

Non-alcoholic. Vodka. What an unholy melding of two completely separate concepts.

I guess Skyy is the chief purveyor of this weird concoction. One of the Letterman segments last night had his assistant, on location at the Olympics, walk into an official Skyy Vodka Ice Bar and order a shot of vodka. The bartender actually asked, “Alcoholic or non-alcoholic?”

Something like that would stop me dead in my tracks. Not just because I’m unfamiliar with the widespread availability of such a drink, but because it would never occur to me that there even would be a demand for it.

I realize there’s plenty of precedent. Non-alcoholic beer first reared its faux-foamy head nearly twenty years ago now. Even decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soda follow the idea of neutering normally potent brews for the sake of preserving taste.

Still, I have to say it: What’s the point? Why bother drinking vodka at all if you’re not going to get buzzed on it? I happen to like the harsh flavor, to the point of preferring it straight up without mixers. But I know I’m in the minority.

I wonder if the proliferation of flavored vodkas over the last few years led to this. Drinking orange, berry, or vanilla-infused brands probably got many people used to the idea of drinking vodka without the “vodka taste”.

What do I know, though? I railed against non-alcoholic beer, and that didn’t go away (although it seems to be a distinctly niche product these days; the beer companies certainly aren’t pushing it like they used to). If the masses want to detoxify their liquor, let ‘em. It’ll leave more of the real stuff for me.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/23/2006 07:58 PM
Category: Food
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