Oh dear. Tourism Australia has just unleashed a new advertising campaign on an unsuspecting world. Why these assaults are celebrated at functions with warm white wine and canapés when they should, in truth, be greeted by an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council remains something of a mystery.
If Tourism Australia was a spotty adolescent, it would be best described as ‘troubled’. Ever since the debacle that was ‘where the bloody hell are ya?’ – an advertisement which introduced the world to a scantily clad Lara Bingle who could simultaneously model a bikini whilst sounding vaguely threatening – the ads have lacked a certain charm.
That ad is generously regarded as a colossal flop and so a new one was quickly commissioned. The Baz Lurhman directed extravaganza was a ‘scratch my back’, ‘kill two birds with one stone’ tie-in type of deal with the film Australia; a movie that, in reality, ought to have been named after another country altogether: Turkey. Statistics suggest that more people than ever were now in real danger of confusing us for ‘Austria’.
Quick to counter such a misapprehension, there’s now a new ad, one which relies for its success on a jingle that sounds as though it’s been taken directly from the sequel to the musical ‘Oliver!’ Rather than choose something uplifting or anthemic, the powers that be have gone with a tune that’s best described as ‘jaunty’. It’s the kind of song best suited to a performance by Dick Van Dyke whilst leading a small army of chimney sweeps. Presumably, however, Dick was not available at short notice. At the launch they described it as a song performed by ordinary Australians. To hear the results, they must have been very, very ordinary Australians, indeed. Apparently, the ad campaign has a budget of about squillion dollars. They could have set at least twenty bucks aside for the theme tune.
Frankly, it’s the wrong song. Again. It’s time that the tourism big-wigs tapped into the things that make this country great by choosing the right piece of music. Picking a tune that sounds as if it ought to be interrupted by a tap-dancing solo is the stuff of amateurs. If that popped up on my television screen, it wouldn’t make me want to go on a holiday – it would make me think that standards have slipped over at Eurovision.
Luckily, this country has an incredibly rich musical history to draw from. Indeed, any number of moods could be struck solely based on the song that was chosen. For those who thought that ‘Where the Bloody Hell Are Ya?’ was a step in the right direction, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?’ is, in my view, the next logical question. Surely the response would take the world by storm. However, if Tourism Australia really wants to set the controls for ‘jaunty’, then it should look no further than ‘C’mon Aussie, C’mon’.
It ticks all the boxes. Firstly, it’s as catchy as a box full of fish-hooks. Secondly, anyone can sing it. Thirdly, it is a tune that is inextricably linked to that most Australian of icons: the moustache. Forget Uluru and the Opera House; nothing says ‘Australia’ like a decent moustache, particularly when combined with an open neck shirt, a plush piece of chest carpet and a gold chain.
It was originally used to promote World Series Cricket back in the 1970s. The best thing about it is that the lyrics changed each year to refer to current players. Given that the words are already ‘flexible’, there really shouldn’t be a problem adapting it to a new campaign. Although performed by a group called ‘The Mojo Singers’ it was, in fact, the product of an advertising agency. That’s right – it’s already a jingle.
Whilst some might prefer a more contemporary piece, such as ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie (oi, oi, oi), the fact that it only consists of two words (assuming that ‘oi’ is, in fact, a word) works against it. It’s better to rely on something that has stood the test of time. But having built a tourism campaign around ‘C’mon Aussie, C’mon’, I can’t help but feel that the job is only half done. If you don’t quite catch my drift, then let me put forward a single word: anthem. Imagine if our athletes could scale the Olympic dais and be honoured with a blast of ‘C’mon Aussie, C’mon’.
I appreciate that not everyone would support it becoming our national anthem. Unlike our current anthem and our national song, it really doesn’t tell much of a story. Whilst ‘C’mon Aussie, C’mon’ is good for the tourists, perhaps it’s time we bowed to the inevitable and made ‘Up There Cazaly’ our national anthem, instead. Now that’s a song we can all be proud of.