Bloody hell. The launch of Tourism Australia’s new $180 million advertising campaign
yesterday caused quite the stir – at least in the media and among
conservative MPs.

The official slogan “So where the bloody hell are you?” was deemed offensive
for its prominent profanity and reliance on Australian stereotypes.

One of the ads begins: “We’ve poured you a beer and
we’ve had the camels shampooed, we’ve saved you a spot on the beach …
and we’ve got the sharks out of the pool.” A skimpily-clad woman then asks: “So where the bloody hell are you?”

The controversy at times felt more than a little
confected, although it definitely ensured the campaign’s message was
flung far and wide. And Tourism Oz certainly had no qualms in
capitalising on profanity as a launching pad – “before journos
were allowed to bloody
leave” yesterday’s launch they
were “given a bloody 14-page dossier detailing the whole bloody
history of the bloody word,” says Julian
Lee in the SMH.

Over at, Australians are suggesting alternative slogans, but it doesn’t really matter what we think of it, what are they saying overseas?

  • Now I would have thought that swearing or no swearing, it wouldn’t be
    exactly hard to convince anyone to quit London in February for sunnier
    climes, but it seems the Australian tourism minister, Fran Bailey, has
    decided the job calls for strong language … What is interesting is
    that the campaign has been heartily endorsed by the prime minister,
    John Howard. A man better known for 1950s values, only last month he
    was complaining about the decline of good manners in Australian
    society, blaming it largely on “vulgarism on television” … Lots of
    beaches populated by girls in bikinis and kangaroos, beer, sunshine and
    racial harmony. Almost sounds too good to be true … so where the
    bloody hell are you? – Gabrielle Proctor, Guardian news blog

  • If the initial reaction in Australia is any guide, the adverts could
    prompt a spell of national navel-gazing akin to that which followed the
    Paul Hogan campaign. That campaign provoked criticism for portraying
    Australia as a nation of happy simpletons. – The Times (UK)
  • The new campaign line? ” Where the bloody hell are you?” The answer, of course, is in New Zealand. Bugger. – NZcreativecircle

  • Good on the Aussies for sticking themselves out there and having the balls to tell the world exactly how good they are. – Clint Heine