DES: It's official! The 'So where the bloody hell are you' campaign for Brand Australia has been a flop - visitor numbers are down for the first ten months of 2006 - particularly from its three biggest markets: UK, Japan and New Zealand (See Footnote: Barmy Army).
TINA: After 76 focus groups worldwide, a multi-million $$$ advertising campaign, even a CanAm ad ban made in media heaven, couldn't show Australia 'in a different light' to the rest of the world.
DES: And you can't point the finger of blame at the advertising agency - M&C Saatchi - whose 'brutal simplicity of thought' philosophy failed to turn round what was a destination brand strategy error to begin with.
TINA: A reality check shows that it's a marketing mission impossible to change the perception of Australia, especially when it's competing against popular TV shows such as 'I'm a celebrity - get me out of here' and endless Australian beer TV commercials - all re-inforcing the rough, tough, macho image of Brand Australia.
DES: And if that wasn't bad enough, here comes the umpteenth repeat of the blockbuster film - Crocodile Dundee - with sequel in tow.
TINA: Also the recent world-wide media coverage of the sad but untimely death of Aussie Steve Irwin - star of The Crocodile Hunter TV series.
DES: So what are the destination managers of Oz to do?
TINA: They should accept reality and continue to welcome the low-spending backpackers of today who will return as the big-spending visitors and investors of tomorrow, provided Oz's sub-brands - its sophisticated cities and wine regions - are brought into play (See Footnote: Brits Abroad).
DES: So Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne, and the country's wine regions such as Hunter Valley and Margaret River should be developed as destination brands in their own right?
TINA: Ofcourse. Blog buddy Laura's father - Al Ries - says it so elegantly: Australia and its cities and wine regions may be lumped together on the world map, but it's in the influential mind map where they occupy very different places.
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"Don't just think Country brand, think hierarchy of Country, Region and City brands - right down to street level - each with their own individual big brand idea and future-focus."
(See Footnote: Australia's States).
The Barmy Army of English cricket fans are bringing some seasonal cheer to Australia's tourism industry as The Ashes series plays out from November through to January.
Brits Abroad: The stronger Pound and buoyant house prices at home have made foreign investment very attractive to the British, with Australia the Brits' favourite investment destination followed by Spain, USA, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Germany and Cyprus.
The branding of Australia's States leaves alot to be desired especially the states of South Australia: A Brilliant Blend - hinting that it's alot more than a wine region, and Western Australia: The Real Australia - suggesting that the rest of Oz is the fake Australia.