Will the real Australia please stand up?

Will the real Australia please stand up?

It seems like everything is going wrong for Australia at the moment, losing the cricket to England, being knocked off as the best brand in the world and suffering the indignity of just a solitary vote in the football World Cup voting in a race that we were hotly tipped to win. People have been very quick to lay the blame for all of these performances as always, but the video that was supposed to sell Australia as the destination to hold the 2022 World Cup has come under particular scrutiny.

Much of the criticism has come from Australians who once again have been subjected to the same old efforts in attempting to bottle everything that we think outsiders like and know about Australia and sell it to the world.

From inside, we see this as a dated effort and clearly now question it’s worth as a marketing tool. Externally though, is this still how foreigners see Australia or more importantly how they want to see Australia portrayed?

The video of the surfing kangaroo amongst the quintessential Australian backdrops, the occasional (retired) sports star and (should have retired long ago) movie star has divided the nation with over two-thirds believing it did nothing to boost the chances of Australia winning the bid. This was a poll on an Australian website and most likely taken by Australians, who in the end are not the audience that the video was aimed at. The real question is what the FIFA representatives thought. In the end, it obviously wasn’t that much.

Who’s to Blame?

Although the blame can’t be put solely on the video itself, the question is raised whether the world is tiring of ‘brand Australia’ and if the stereotypical images which we send out through tourist campaigns are getting old and have lost their impact. Surely we can do better than rolling out Paul Hogan, whose image is solely built upon a movie released over 20 years ago now. Is that what foreigners are still thinking about when the word Australia is mentioned? I hope we’ve come a long way since then, but do outsiders?

I’m sure that research is being done by Tourism Australia to establish if the view that outsiders have of Australia is still one of Fosters drinking, BBQ eating, zinc wearing, beach goers or whether there has been a shift to reflect our more modern culture that, internally at least, we’ve been trying hard to change.

We have moved on and grown up as a country, but does the rest of the world want us to?


Photo credit: MartinPhilps via photopin cc

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