Toursim Australia campaign.
Dear Tourism Australia, You suck. You need to hear this from a loyal expatriate Australian, forced to sit through your embarrassing attempts to entice foreigners to visit. I have some criticism, but also some ideas on fixing this horrible mess.
First - stop trying to please Australians. They already live there. So while you, your mates, your ad agency and your political overlords think super glossy, super expensive and thoroughly cliched ''beauty shots'' look great, they're actually soulless, confusing, and a waste of time to those overseas. Enough with the aerial beach shots, and images of little white kids jumping in a billabong with little Aboriginal kids. They don't represent the average visitor's experience (crocodiles anyone), they represent a political correctness that has no place here.
Next - you have a huge problem with New Zealand. I'm constantly having conversations with strangers who say, ''I'm thinking about going to Australia and New Zealand'', as if they're connected. Or worse - they think a two-week holiday should be divided evenly between the two nations. That's like dividing a holiday between the USA and Puerto Rico. Ever heard anyone trying to make that choice? Neither have I, because it's ridiculous. And yet Americans lump us together. I blame you.
Also - you need to stop ignoring people. You continue to portray Australia as a beautiful, beachy land, totally lacking in experiences that don't involve Sydney, a mountain or a bathing suit. Heard of the wine country? Canberra? Culture? Which doesn't equal a flaming pole outside Melbourne's Crown Casino.
Here are my suggestions.
Please find a sense of humour. ''Where the Bloody Hell Are You'' doesn't count. The world loves Australians - we're a friendly, funny, blunt people, which you ignore entirely. Your current ''There's Nothing Like Australia'' shouldn't refer to landscapes and turtles. Newsflash, the rest of the world has those. But it doesn't have the Aussie spirit - which is what makes us unique, and a tourist's visit special.
You also need to dump the Kiwis. We're bigger, we're better, and the world needs to know the difference.
Scrap the glossy, crazy expensive Sydney ad agency rubbish commercials. Put down the helicopter-eye-view and the fancy tracking shots. Launch a cheap campaign that lets Aussies talk, focuses on the spirit, and attacks New Zealand. I promise if you run an ad with lines like ''Australia has culture, New Zealand has sheep'', or ''Comparing Australia and New Zealand is like comparing a Ferarri with a hobbit-obsessed loser on a bicycle'', you'll attract the world's attention. And I dare you to do an ad without the freaking Opera House.
Enticing tourists should be fun, not overwrought, bland drivel.
You've said the world dreams about Australia but doesn't visit. You're right. Have you seen the exchange rate? Australia is expensive. So stop making ads which make Australia look even more expensive, and an unattainable fantasy.
I hope this helps. I'm happy to discuss my ideas and provide a reasonable budget at any time.
Yours sincerely, Tim.
Tim is a writer, TV producer and proud former Canberra resident who has lived in Los Angeles since 1997.