Destination Marketing: Tourism Australia's Controversial Campaign

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG197 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Tourism Marketing/ Destination Branding/ Marketing Communications
Case Length : 21 pages
Period : 2006-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Tourism Australia
Industry : Tourism
Countries : Australia/ Global


This case is about an advertising campaign started by Tourism Australia in 2006, the controversies it created, and its eventual withdrawal. The case revolves around the 'So Where the Bloody Hell are You?' campaign that was withdrawn in early 2008.
Australian tourism had been facing the unique problem where the interest shown by the people in visiting the country was not translating into actual tourist inflows. The campaign was intended to solve this problem by translating the huge interest shown by the people to visit Australia into actual tourist inflows. The theme of the campaign was to invite the people to visit Australia and enjoy the diverse range of experiences available there.

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The campaign was launched through multiple media channels and Australian model Lara Bingle was the face of the campaign. The campaign was developed after extensive marketing research and strove to target 'Experience Seekers' -- early adopters who played a major role in influencing the purchasing behavior of other people.

The campaign became controversial right from the time it was launched and was even initially banned in some countries such as UK and Canada. The campaign attracted the wrath of the regulators in these countries because of the use of swear words such as 'Bloody' and 'Hell'. These words were part of the Australian slang but their use in the ad campaign was perceived as offensive in some of the target markets. Tourism Australia was criticized for not taking the cultural aspects into account before developing an advertising campaign for the international markets.

In addition to being controversial, the campaign failed to show any significant results though the experts were divided on the effectiveness of the campaign. Faced with increased criticism from various quarters, Tourism Australia withdrew the campaign in February 2008. Tourism Australia said that a new advertising campaign would be released in the place of the withdrawn campaign and all precautions would be taken to avoid any controversies in its future campaigns.


Understand the issues in Tourism (destination) development and marketing and how Tourism Australia addressed these issues

Understand the issues and challenges in destination branding

Understand how Tourism Australia planned an implemented a bold advertising campaign to promote Australia as a destination brand

Appreciate the importance of taking into account cultural issues in target markets while developing a global marketing communication

Understand the challenges faced by a public sector organization/governmental organization in sustaining an innovative program


  Page No.
End of an Innovative & Controversial Campaign 1
History of Australian Tourism 2
The Problem 4
Preparing for the New Campaign 5
Launching the New Campaign 6
Controversy and Criticisms 9
The Results of the Campaign 11
Outlook 13
Exhibits 15


Destination marketing, Destination branding, Marketing communication, Tourism, Marketing research, Marketing, Branding, Campaign, Advertising, Tourism Australia, Australia

End of an Innovative & Controversial Campaign - Next Page>>

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