Online ambushes hit Tourism Australia's new campaign

Tourism Australia’s new $150 million advertising push has been ambushed, with a spoof website and a subversive social media campaign set up within hours of the slogan’s launch.

The national tourism body yesterday invited Australians to reveal their favourite places to lure visitors down under with the slogan ‘‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’’.

But within hours of the launch, the sentiment had been brand-jacked, with Twitter handle ‘‘NothingLikeAus’’ redirecting users to New Zealand’s official tourism site.

Tourism New Zealand could not be contacted for comment this afternoon, but a message on the Facebook page ‘‘Nothing Like Australia ... Welcome to New Zealand’’ pointed to a cheeky Kiwi April Fool’s prank.

‘‘So, April 1st is almost over... Thanks to Tourism Australia for having an great sense of humour. We’re looking forward to handing over this page to them real soon. Cheers to everyone for sharing the fun. ~ Love NZ,’’ the message said.

Comments posted on both sites were removed by 3.30pm and all links returned to the official Tourism Australia site.

But in further evidence of the campaign left on Twitter, followers praised Tourism NZ on its ‘‘delightfully subversive response’’ to Australia’s new campaign.

‘‘I’m actually enticed to visit New Zealand after their latest stunt,’’ ‘meerajane’ tweeted.

Tourism Australia launched its new website - - at 10am yesterday encouraging the public to spill the beans on local secrets.


Two hours later, the first post appeared on satirical website, which showcases mock ads featuring the likes of Lindy Chamberlain and Steve Irwin.

A photograph of Ms Chamberlain and her daughter Azaria is depicted with the official Tourism Australia logo and the words ‘‘There’s nothing like a dingo taking your baby’’.

A similarly spoof ad featuring wildlife warrior Steve Irwin with his son Bob in front of a crocodile says: ‘‘There’s nothing like taking your child to work’’.

And one using an image from the Cronulla riots says: ‘‘There’s nothing like welcoming the new guy’’.

Following reports of possible legal action against the tumblr page today, the site’s operators posted a message under the heading ‘‘There’s nothing like legal trouble’’ reminding readers they were not affiliated with Tourism Australia ‘‘in any way, shape or form’’.

‘‘No harm is intended through this site,’’ they wrote.

‘‘We’re just trying to have a laugh and we’re sorry if we’ve offended TA.’’

The page administrators have taken steps to shield their identity, using a Whois guard to block searches on the page’s origin.

Tourism Australia said this afternoon it thought the website was funny and would not be taking legal action.

In another hiccup for the Aussie campaign, the " There's Nothing Like Australia" ads coincide with a New Zealand push telling Australians: “There’s No Place Like Wellington”.

Commentators on media and marketing website Mumbrella said today the New Zealand campaign ruined the Australian strategy.

‘‘Thats the risk you take when you select an incredibly generic line like ‘There’s no place like (insert town)’,’’ ‘Riva’ wrote.

A Tourism Australia spokesperson said there were ‘‘a lot of similarities in destination marketing’’ but the Australian campaign would go global, while the Wellington ads were aimed only at Australia.

This latest campaign is the newest tourism marketing strategy following Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 Australia-themed advertisements and Lara Bingle’s ill-fated ‘‘Where the bloody hell are you?’’ approach in 2006.