Yeah, I'm talkin' to you.
In the history of ad campaigns, cities, states, and commercial attractions have tried all sorts of come-ons to attract visitors. Such as? Well, appeals to a sense of adventure, for one. Or dangling the lure of bargain rates. But from Australia comes word of what may be a whole new concept in tourism promotion: swearing at the target audience. Last week, the government minister in charge of tourism, Fran Bailey, announced a $133 million blitz that's about to make its debut. Commercials tout sun-splashed beaches, magnificent coral reefs, the Sydney Opera House, and other enticing scenes, following which a shapely female in a bikini looks into the camera and asks potential visitors from overseas, "So where the bloody h-ll are you?" Tourism Australia officials admit receiving negative feedback on grounds that the epithet risks offending people from cultures where strangers expect to be addressed more civilly ... and that the campaign dumbs down a country that's already perceived as one of the world's most laid-back. But they insist the money is proving to be well-spent. In fact, as word of the campaign has spread, a website of the same name (with a .com on the end) has been averaging 11,000 hits a day so far - all from overseas.