So Where the Bloody Hell are you?!

‘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?

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6 thoughts on “So Where the Bloody Hell are you?!

  1. Such a good find Jess! I agree with you in that I don’t think the campaign really captured the stereotype of an Australian and could definitely be perceived as a something of ‘larrikin nature’.

  2. I absolutely loved the uproar about this ad. Hilarious.

    Best thing Ive heard about Aussie slang – you call your best mate a “cunt”, and your worst enemy “a bit of a bastard”.

  3. Simple, yet well constructed idea. Approaching different ideologies through connotations of the words ‘bloody’ and ‘hell’ creates huge potential for controversy. Being realists, or non-religious people helps us understand the harmless nature of the words. And you’ve argued the point that in other cultures it implies disrespect, and hence an oppositional view. I agree also with ‘all publicity is good publicity’, in this instance.

    Overall, it’s well written, very well articulated. However, it could be a bit longer.

  4. “Where the bloody hell are you?” – lets be honest, how often do we really use this? I love it, but I don’t hear it being used as a common phrase anymore. Isn’t it sad that we hear slang such as “hashtag yolo” or “hashtag swag” more often now! “Where the bloody hell are you?” is so much better! 🙂

  5. I literally laughed as i read this post! Good read! Although “Where the bloody hell are you” is largely an Australian phrase, i think that the advertisement might have benefitted and not have found itself in such a position if it would have went with a simple “G’day” or Crocodile dundee look alike. That being said i think you identified the connotations of the phrase, particularly in other cultures well and made it obvious as to how other cultures could have jumped to the wrong conclusion with the inclusion of the phrase within our tourism advertisement.

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