Tourism Australia launches new ad for international visitors
Tourism Australia's launches its new advertisement for overseas markets featuring Chris Hemsworth.
One of Australia's biggest international stars, actor Chris Hemsworth, has lent his voice but not his famous face or physique to the latest advertisement aiming to lure foreign visitors to Australia's coast.
Unlike previous campaigns which put Australian celebrities like Paul Hogan and Lara Bingle front and centre, tossing prawns or strolling along the beach, the new commercial from Tourism Australia doesn't actually feature its new global ambassador Chris Hemsworth in person, rather using his recognisable baritone for the narration.
The new ad was launched at a splashy party in Bryant Park in New York City on the eve of Australia Day, attended by Hemsworth, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and her partner David Panton, actor Sullivan Stapleton, model Andreja Pejic and the evening's host, Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone.
With snow piled several feet deep outside the marquee, inside guests viewed the new advertisement which - perhaps cruelly under the circumstances - focuses on Australia's beachy weather, coast and inland swimming spots, from Sydney Harbour, to the Katherine Gorge and Great Barrier Reef.
"How can the colour blue be a feeling?" the star of Thor and The Avengers says in his familiar, deep Australian drawl at the opening of the ad.
"Well it's hard to describe. But it is. You see it's different down here. The air just has more... life in it."
Ms Bishop addressed the crowd and praised the campaign for highlighting Australia's beaches, especially at a time when many Americans were shivering through winter and New Yorkers had just experienced a near-record blizzard.
"We are a nation of beachgoers," she told the crowd.
"Americans, New Yorkers: Australians wait for you with a very warm welcome."
Asked earlier whether she thought it was shame not to be able to actually see Hemsworth in the ad, Ms Bishop laughed and said "You can never have enough Chris Hemsworth".
Hemsworth recounted stories for the crowd about growing up in Victoria and surfing with his brothers Luke and Liam. He said it was tough talking to friends back home on Australia Day enjoying the heat, but said the snow was a novelty.
"This is like being in a Christmas movie," he said.
In what may be considered a safer approach than previous efforts, like the divisive "Where the bloody hell are you?" campaign which starred Bingle, the new campaign doesn't have a cheeky slogan, and instead sticks to images of iconic Australia sights, being enjoyed by attractive young tourists.
"Australia isn't just a place you see. It's a place you feel," says Hemsworth as the ad draws to a close.
The ad, part of the ongoing 'There's nothing like Australia' campaign launched in 2010, will initially target the American market, and will then screen in other countries including the UK, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and New Zealand.
The campaign also features immersive 360 degree displays of popular Australian destinations, which can be viewed on virtual reality headsets.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O'Sullivan, said in a statement that the focus on the coast and swimming highlighted one of Australia's best competitive advantages compared to other travel destinations.
Port Lincoln 360° video (use your mouse or move your phone to change the view)