‘We’ve bought you a beer
And 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
We’ve got the roos off the green
And Bill’s on his way down to open the front gate
Your taxi’s waiting
And dinner’s about to be served
We’ve turned on the lights
And we’ve been rehearsing for over 40,000 years
So where the bloody hell are you?’
In 2006, Tourism Australia committed $180 million to introducing a daring, yet cheeky campaign to entice foreigners to visit Australia. The campaign concentrated on the catch phrase ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’, an Australian colloquial quote which caused an uproar as the connotation of ‘bloody’ and ‘hell’ in diverse cultures could impose impoliteness.
The television commercial aired in front of 20 million American TV viewers, including members of the American Family Association, who were not impressed by the use of inappropriate language. The uproar lead to expected boycotting of Australia as a tourist destination. As well as the UK banning the ad as it was deemed offensive.
Australian stereotypical characteristics include; informality, casualness and friendliness. As an Australian, the phrase ‘So where the bloody hell are you?’ communicates something of a larrikin nature, whereas in say, the Christianity religion ‘hell’ refers to the place of state of punishment of the wicked after death. Therefore, the connotation of ‘So where the bloody hell are you?’ to an Australian is a non-offensive, slang term used in everyday language. Disregarding Tourism Australia’s ironic playfulness on Australian slang, the media should be mindful of the ripple-effect such controversial advertisements could have on the campaign and the product.
Although… All publicity is good publicity, Right?