Tourism Australia rolled out its latest campaign to invite the world Down Under to mixed reactions, mostly at home. The campaign attempts to identify and package the definitive character of ‘Australia and of Australians’ to tempt travellers to experience it first-hand. 

This three-year global campaign, ‘Come Live our PhilAUsophy’ hopes to elevate one of Australia’s greatest assets: its people and ‘personality’. Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison explains, “we know from our research that 70% of international travellers believe that Australians have a different perspective on life”.

The deliberate play on words aims to capture the philosophy of Australians and their informal approach to living, which research shows is highly appealing for visitors. Local tourism operators, those at the coal face of travel in the country, were central to the campaign video launched last week. 

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Chris Hemsworth will be part of that campaign ©James D. Morgan/Getty Images for Tourism Australia

Ironically, unimpressed responses amongst the locals were probably the best examples of the very ‘PhilAUsophy’ that the marketers were trying to capture. Many thought the play on words was a little too clever for its own good (Australians value egalitarianism); some worried how non-native English speakers would interpret the word play (they value inclusivity); others noted there was only one Aboriginal Australian in the debut video (they’re awake to diversity and the indigenous story of Australia); and others just cringed at the clichés (Australians are also rather self-deprecating). But as many realised in their typical Australian perspective: this campaign is not for them. 

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham explains: “PhilAUsophy aims to not only encourage people to book a flight to Australia and visit our incredible destinations, but go a step further and actually immerse themselves in the best of the Australian way of life.”

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The campaign has caused controversy in the Aboriginal communtity ©evantravels/Shutterstock

Speaking about his involvement in the new campaign, Aussie film star and Global Ambassador for Tourism Australia, Chris Hemsworth said that Australians have something truly special to offer to the world. “To say that Australians are laid back, outgoing, and have a great sense of humour would be both buying into widely-known clichés and admitting an absolute truth. “An incredible sense of adventure and an insistence on having a great time is truly born into our DNA,” Hemsworth said.

As Phillipa Harrison said: “the Australian character and way of life has long been woven into our marketing. The journey began with Paul Hogan and ‘Come Say G’Day’. In more recent times Chris Hemsworth, our global ambassador, has been integral in embodying the Australian character for our audiences. And promoting our people is at the core of our Friends of Australia advocacy program. Our new campaign will continue to build on this narrative by inviting the world to come and live our ‘philAUssophy’."

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Koala-spotting is a highlight for many visitors ©Gekko Gallery/Shutterstock

Interestingly, New Zealand has taken a similar approach to marketing on realising that the people are part of what makes a travellers experience so memorable and unique. In its latest iteration of the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign which has been running since 1999, New Zealanders are showcased, along with the country’s natural beauty, in ‘Good Morning World’ videos where locals greet the world every day of the year from different parts of the country. 

Australia has only just launched ‘Come Live our PhilAUsophy’, time will tell whether the unique spelling of philosophy will catch on.  

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