‘Bloody hell’ (‘Sorry, what was that, luv?’)
This has been discussed on the blogosphere for quite some time, but not in a negative sense: Australia’s latest tourism campaign. Some folks like the TVC, and the tagline, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’: This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics wrote on March 10, ‘Australians have so perfected the art of bonhomie that they can trade in frankness without being rude.’
I’ve been enjoying the campaign for all the wrong reasons for the last couple of weeks (young Australian models) but it reminds me of the good times and the friends I have there. And in terms of nation branding, it is not unreasonable: it presents a positive face that a tourist will ﬁnd reasonably realistic, and it underlines a sense of freedom and liberty that the antipodes are known for. It connects to the Australian idea of frankness and the campaign has a nice sense of irony and understatement—something else antipodeans do well without being falsely humble. And it makes me, as I write this, very grateful that down here, we have true freedom of speech (perhaps unlike Virginia Beach, where the photograph below left was taken).
And even Markoos over in Queensland likes it: ‘Tourism Australia launched it’s bloody good new campaign to much fanfare (see the tv ad here). It’s a bloody good ad that presents the aussie people as warm inviting people who are laid back bloody and inviting’ (sic).
Having just posted on my standards of cussing, I never thought of this commercial as being rude. But the Brits do: they think bloody is a curse word and the young lady the end has had to make do with the missing word. I believe she is dubbed now, but frankly, I wasn’t listening. How could I be? She is very, very attractive.
I would like to say for humorous effect, ‘Wake up, Brits! She’s prettier and less common than Denise van Outen,’ but I have to bite my tongue. For one, I still hold a Pommy passport (dual nationality). And secondly, isn’t the root of this the same misunderstanding as behind the whole Mohammed cartoon thing? You think it’s wrong, and I don’t.
And the Australian tourism board simply said, ‘We understand the Brits. We’ll alter the ad,’ instead of persisting with it and pissing people off.
Apparently the objection to the word is Victorian, according to National Radio here. There is no etymological connection to the blood of Christ. Instead, it may be literal, or it is connected to aristocrats (the ‘blue bloods’) and negative antics prescribed to them.
The Aussies are taking it in their stride. Their research showed the Brits liked the campaign and weren’t offended, even though evidence from the regulatory authorities there disagreed. They are welcoming it as a PR dream come true: the news coverage of the change—and the fact that www.wherethebloodyhellareyou.com remains a destination for everyone—has propelled this A$100 million-plus campaign into the limelight. Before the launch of the campaign in the UK, Brits had already downloaded the commercial 30,000 times (on March 9).
Watch the commercial here and if you are a young bloke like me, tell me you heard what she said. She could have well been saying, ‘Oy, you bloody perv, my face is up here,’ and you wouldn’t even know it.
Del.icio.us tags: nation branding | Australia | freedom | frankness | liberty | tourism | destination marketing | Australian Posted by Jack Yan, 05:32
Update: from Adfreak, it seems the Canadians are ﬁne with bloody, but not with hell.
Struth, the National Radio people are well behind. On the 20th, the Brits had already reversed their decision, as discussed at Adfreak. Another sign of the mainstream media playing catch-up with the blogosphere.
it's an advertisers dream come true for ther to be so much talk - or "sneezing" as seth godin would say - about this new campaign.
you can't buy this type of viral spread.
True, Markoos. I would have enjoyed the ad but would not have gone to the web site if it weren’t for the buzz. I really notice it now, although the three young women—the NSWer, the Aboriginal, and Miss Jiggle TV on the beach—were more than enough to make me have positive, warm feelings about your country.
Apparently, this does not even translate into Japanese, who do not swear. From the Fairfax press. What did the Japanese do with all the swear words we Chinese gave them?
Update: a parody is now available here, referred by a comment at This Blog Sits at thePost a Comment
Intersection of Anthropology and Economics.
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