Monday, February 27, 2006

New Aussie Advertising Campaign
"Where The Bloody Hell Are You?" & Singapore Is Different

Many of you might already know this, the Australian tourism folks have launched a A$180 million advertising campaign to attract foreign visitors. It goes something like this:

It begins in an outback pub with a farmer saying: "We've poured you a beer". Then follows a sequence of iddyllic scenes including a boy at the beach saying "We've got the sharks out the pool", and party goers watching Sydney Harbour fireworks saying, "We've turned on the lights". A traditional Aboriginal dancer says, "And we've been rehearsing for more than 40,000 years". The ad ends at a white sandy beach with a bikini-clad young woman stepping out of the sea asking "So where the bloody hell are you?"

Though there have been detractors both in Australia and elsewhere, if you really know OZ land, that phrase is such a harmless expression. The phrase in question automatically brings the conversation between two people so much closer and intimate, no pretences, no airs, no polite repaartee - all very Australian qualities. A great advertising idea and campaign in my mind. (Yes, I studied and worked in Sydney for about 10 years).

The funny thing about all this is that whether the new slogan will be lost in translation. Fran Bailey, the Australian tourism minister, said the "bloody hell" slogan would be used everywhere except in Singapore "to respect local laws". In Singapore, the ad will simply say, "Where are you?" (LOL... maybe Singaporeans should be only allowed to visit Wollongong or Jenolan Caves as they are largely untainted and free from harmful societal influences).

What if Singapore were to do a similar ad, trying to draw visitors to the island state? Colloquial charm to the max, hokkien-singlish mix, the ad should end with "Kan Nee-Niah, lu chor har mee, come here lah" (ha-ha... rhyme some more).

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