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Tourism Australia Decides Not To Sue Parody Site

Australia, Travel News — By David Chalk on April 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Tourism Australia was reportedly considering legal action against a website that was posting parodies of ads from the new “There’s Nothing Like Australia” campaign.  After launching an unsuccessful attempt to find the mastermind satirizing the ad campaign they spent over $100 million on, Australia’s official tourism agency decided against taking legal action.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy told The Australian Online, “We expected that people would spoof the ads and we are fairly relaxed about that. Did we look at it? Absolutely. Are we taking legal action on it? No.”

The parodies on nothinglikeaustralia.net pull few punches making light of everything from race riots to the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin feeding a croc with one hand while holding a baby in his other hand to a mother who blamed the 1980 disappearance of her baby on a dingo.

The official ad campaign calls on Australians to submit photos of their favorite places to accompany the “There’s Nothing Like” tag line, and has already been panned as dull and uninspiring by parts of the advertising industry.  Like the official campaign, the spoof site is also seeking submissions.

The Australian reports that Tourism Australia had tried buying up domain names similar to the campaign, but obviously missed an important one.  Interestingly, the parody site was registered in the US minutes after the campaign’s launch and posted its first mock ads within a few hours.  The timing of the parody site could either be suspicious or impressive.  Is it the malicious work of someone with inside information? Just someone with a quick wit and wicked sense of humor?  Or perhaps more likely, a combination of the two? Regardless, Tourism Australia’s initial reaction seems likely to have shifted media attention from the real campaign to the fake one, not to mention given much more exposure to the mock ads than they might have gotten on their own.

If that wasn’t enough, Tourism New Zealand also tried to steal some of their Australian counterpart’s thunder by buying online ads that accompanied news stories about the new Australian campaign.

It seems unlikely There’s Nothing Like Australia will approach the success of the most popular Australian tourism campaign ever, the classic 1980s version starring Paul Hogan:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn_CPrCS8gs[/youtube]

[image credit: nothinglikeaustralia.net]

Tags: Asutralia, Australian humor, Crocodile Dundee, Crocodile Hunter, nothinglikeaustralia.net, Paul Hogan, satire, Steve Irwin, There's Nothing Like Australia, There's Nothing Like Australia parody, tourism ad campaigns, tourism advertising, Tourism Australia, Tourism New Zealand

    3 Comments

  • Amazing. I like this quote, “That’s not a knife, THIS is a kniiiiife” Anyone know what movie that’s from?

  • Ali Keppler says:

    This situation with Tourism Australia brings up some intriguing issues. The first thing that struck me is simply what a perfect example this is of the importance of perception in marketing. TA would be within their rights to take legal action against NothingLikeAustralia.net, but is instead choosing to simply let it slide, even going so far as to say they thought they thought the site was funny. I believe this is a case of TA simply wanting to save face. After all, “perception is reality”, and if the TA campaign can at least be viewed as easy-going and able to laugh at itself, consumers will be much more inclined respond favorably. A campaign associated with litigation is significantly less appealing than a campaign associated with the ever-attractive sense of humor. In my blog, I discuss the importance of humor, specifically in light of the recent increase in well publicized parodies. I feel quite strongly that the response to such spoofs is just as significant as the remakes themselves; would you agree that in this case, TA’s calm response clearly shows their desire to come out on top?

    Another interesting aspect of this issue is what you brought up in regards to the legitimacy of the parody site. I do not feel the timing of the site’s creation by itself is suspect. As I mentioned, I feel parodies have gained popularity in recent years, so the quick creation of the spoof site, within two hours of the original, does not surprise me. What did stand out to me is the timing in conjunction with how quickly the site then gained publicity after its initial conception. As you point out, this does raise the question of whether or not someone was ready and waiting with ammunition. While I would not be surprised if it were simply “someone with a quick wit and wicked sense of humor”, I unfortunately feel I must agree with you that this was the work of someone on the inside. I do believe that it absolutely could have been well-intentioned with the goal of raising positive awareness for the original campaign, but there is of course the chance it was not so benign. Tourism New Zealand set up fake social networking profiles drawing attention to how they truly are nothing like Australia, with their chief executive Kevin Bowler claiming they were just having “a bit of fun on April Fool’s day.” Considering how New Zealand has benefited from this fiasco, do you feel it is likely that Tourism New Zealand was behind the original spoof site? If so, I personally would give them credit for taking advantage of an excellent opportunity. Thanks for a great post!

  • Donna Brown says:

    That is a marketing strategy some time it goes wrong same thing happen with the company too. Government don’t take a hard decision on it. It will overcome.

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