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Skift Take

Tonight’s big reveal of Tourism Australia’s new video marketing drive suggests that the bureau is losing focus of what makes the country special, devolving instead into a Bloomingdale’s summer catalog.

— Greg Oates

Tourism Australia trotted out actor Chris Hemsworth — People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive in 2014” — tonight in New York City to launch a new promotional video for the tourism board’s food-themed Aquatic & Coastal campaign.

Hemsworth was announced a couple weeks ago as the new spokesperson for Tourism Australia, replacing Paul Hogan, also known as Crocodile Dundee — although someone needs to remind us when the last time Dundee was used to promote the country.

The Aquatic & Coastal campaign is a continuation of the highly successful Restaurant Australia initiative launched in 2014, which we reviewed last month. Overall, the Aquatic campaign is a US $28 million initiative by the tourism bureau.

International visitors to Australia spent a record $34.8 billion in the 12 months ending September 30, 2015, up 13% year-over-year, marking the highest jump in inbound traveler spend since 2001. Much of that is attributed to the success of the food tourism campaign designed to attract a higher spending customer, and more of them.

While we’ve lauded Tourism Australia for its content marketing delivery in the past, the new video tonight is a series of tired cliches. [see video advertisement below]

“Australia isn’t just a place you see,” says Hemsworth in the video, in his deep and throaty Thor voice from The Avengers. “It’s a place you feel.”

Really? How much did Tourism Australia pay its ad agency to come up with that line?

One wealthy-looking 40-something couple after another looks longingly out to sea from helicopters, beaches, boats, and hillsides with kangaroos hopping by. There are a few shots of casual dining experiences but nothing that really grabs you.

The soundtrack is great, and the imagery does bring a fresh visual narrative to the Australian coastal experience, but nothing all that special. The tourism bureaus for Vancouver, Cape Town, and Carmel made this same video in the 1990s.

“To help promote our beautiful country and encourage people to come and visit it is something I’m absolutely happy about,” said Hemsworth at the event in New York’s Bryant Park. “This campaign has a very fresh contemporary feel. There’s nothing that feels like it’s in the past. It feels very new and slick, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Tourism Australia pulled off a bit of a coup signing up the hunky local star because, like Paul Hogan, he’s going to stand out on billboards and magazine spreads, and he’s going to sell a lot of vacations to Americans.

Hemsworth called the Crocodile Dundee version of the Australian brand “somewhat dated,” but it appears the tourism board is turning to some easy cliches without embracing what the cliches meant to tourism there in the first place.

At least Hogan was uniquely Australian and selling something bigger than eating oysters on a pretty beach.

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