Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Official sleaze in Australia?

Sleazy or not, it sure seems stupid
"Five simple words could bring Brisbane's latest $600,000 tourism campaign unstuck, with a warning its slogan may be considered sleazy.

The six-month print and online blitz, an initiative of Tourism Queensland, is due to start on January 31 and hopes to cement Brisbane as the nation's capital for girls' weekend getaways. But it will carry the catchphrase "Brisbane. What are you up for?" – an expression often used colloquially as a sexual advance.

The campaign is part of the State Government's Tourism Action Plan to 2012 and follows the spectacular flop of Tourism Australia's $180 million "Where The Bloody Hell Are You?" drive with a bikini-clad Lara Bingle in 2006.

That campaign failed overseas with some audiences offended by it and others confused by the Aussie vernacular. Splash Consulting Group managing director Amanda Stevens, who specialises in marketing to women, described the 'What are you up for?' tagline as "sleazy, cheap and nasty". "It is something some drunk bogan would say to someone at a pub," Ms Stevens said.

QUT cultural studies expert, Professor Axel Bruns, described the slogan as "risky". "Its interpretation could go either way," he said. Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said the slogan's objective was "to highlight the adventures and experiences Brisbane offers to women".


I've never heard the expression myself and I live in Brisbane. I guess it depends on the circles you move in. I would have condemned the slogan as meaningless. I think the ad guys were not as clever as they thought they were. A desperate attempt to be original, I think. If you want to maximize your audience, surely you should use words that everyone can easily understand!


I HATE Commercials! said...

Not being from Australia, i see nothing offensive about the phrase. But if some Aussies find it offensive, the advertising idiots should air it only overseas.

Here in the US, i often see commercials that run every day for some product or service. When you read the "fine print", it says "not available in your state"! If that's the case, why is it being shown to me?

Brian from Virginia said...

Ever since the huge success of Las Vegas' 'What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas' slogan, remember the movie made with that as a title, every other place has been trying to catch the same lightning in bottle, so to speak. This was Brisbane's attempt, and it didn't work out. Okay, admit your mistake, apologize to those offended, and try again.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Acknowledgement you! I many times wanted to ignore in my locale something like that.

Bobby said...

Having work in advertising I know it's extremely difficult to do anything creative.

1. It's not your idea, you have to compete and fight with lots and lots of coworkers, managers, account executives, etc.

2. You have to struggle wtih all kinds of limitations. Thinking outside the box? Impossible, you have to think in their box when it comes to legal regulations, moral codes, hangups, political correctness, etc.

3. You can't please everybody. I love the what happens in Vegas campaign, yet I'm sure some people find it offensive. Ideally the goal should be to delight the highest percentage of people but clients often want to please everybody which ends up pleasing no one.

I liked "Where the Bloody Hell Are you." It was different, edgy, it gave Australia a whole different attitude compared to other countries, it's too bad it failed.

As for "What are you up to?" Well, I'm not Australia so to me it has no sexual connotation.

With that said, I would love to visit Australia someday but I'm not sure I could stand their really long flight from Los Angeles, I heard it was like 23 hours or something, I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

Bobby, don't make excuses for the insatiably greedy advertising industry which is the cause of us drowning in endless commercials, junk mail, banners, ads, pop-ups, and all the other crap that drives us crazy.

Bobby said...

"Bobby, don't make excuses for the insatiably greedy advertising industry which is the cause of us drowning in endless commercials, junk mail, banners, ads, pop-ups, and all the other crap that drives us crazy."

---I wasn't making excuses for them, I was writing about the way things are in that environment. And remember, it's CLIENTS that are responsible for all that crap that drives us crazy, they're the ones that demand it, finance it and without their money no agency in the world is going to do anything.