The Australian media is having a field day with Tourism Australia’s new three-year global campaign “Come Live our Philausophy,” which also marks the launch of a new word.

The Guardian Australia derided it as an “awkward, crow-barred pun already dividing audiences in the same way that it inelegantly divides the word ‘philosophy’ itself.” It moaned having only 1,095 more days of philausophy to endure.

More groans came from The Sydney Morning Herald in a headline, “You call that a pun, Tourism Australia? Now here’s a groaning campaign idea.”

“Australia has a grand history of groan-inducing tourist campaigns…we can’t seem to hit the mark when it comes to selling Australia,” wrote the Herald.

To be fair, some of Australia’s tourism campaigns did hit the mark although the ones that didn’t tend to live on, which is why a campaign launch is always an occasion to see the brouhaha that ensues.

The unforgettably bad ones include Tourism Australia’s “Where the Bloody Hell are you?” — probably the only tourism campaign that was ever banned in a string of countries — and “C U in the NT,” a campaign launched by a private company to promote Australia’s Northern Territory.

May be the local media just have had enough. Locals last month slammed South Australia’s “Old Mate” campaign as “depressing” and “ageist,” Australian Broadcasting News reported. Its final scene shows the old man undertaking the roof climb at Adelaide Oval before starting to cry, with a voiceover then proclaiming: “Don’t feel sorry for old mate. It’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

Peculiar Humor

The new campaign’s big idea is to shine a spotlight on Australian people, lifestyle, and personality that make Australian experiences memorable. This is a departure from previous campaigns that focused more on promoting the destination’s assets, be they the spectacular coastal environments or world-class food and wine.

Philausophy is an Australian play on words aimed at capturing the philosophy of Australians and their informal approach to living, which research shows is highly appealing among visitors. 

“We know from our research that 70 percent of international travelers believe that Australians have a different perspective on life; 79 percent believe that the Australian people are an important part of the Australian lifestyle; and 82 percent would like to travel to Australia to experience our lifestyle,” said Tourism Australia’s managing director Phillipa Harrison.

The Australian sense of humor surely is a must experience, along with nine local philausophies that the campaign will celebrate, such as “mateship,” a welcoming, open, and curious attitude towards strangers.

People from the tourism industry and well-known Australian personalities, and their way of life, will feature prominently in a campaign rollout in 15 key international markets from mid-November.

The three-year $38 million campaign, developed with agency partners M&C Saatchi, Digitas, UM, and Opr, comes at a time when Australia expects to see more moderate tourism growth. Its biggest trading partner, China, is being impacted by the trade war and a softening yuan, while competition for international guests has increased.

“Our $143 billion tourism industry is such a vital part of our economy, and in order to grow the industry further and create more tourism jobs, we need to find new ways to sell Australia and differentiate ourselves,” Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement.

“In such a competitive global market, the sell is tougher than ever. We need to stand out from the crowd and find a unique selling point that sets us apart from our competitors.”

The campaign has its supporters, including Peter Shelley, managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council, who notes that Australia also faces “increasing competition from destinations willing to invest significant marketing budgets into attracting international visitors.”

“The campaign will highlight the Australian lifestyle and outlook on life in order to create inspiration to travel here, and with international visitation expected to almost double in the next decade, it’s campaigns like this that will help to drive this growth,” said Shelley.

Let’s see if its results will bring grins or groans at the end of it, in 2022.

Photo Credit: Brenda Miley, founder and director, Let's Go Surfing, is one of several industry people who will be featured in the campaign. Tourism Australia