Adelaide 'Old Mate' tourism ad labelled 'depressing'

Tourism Ad: Don't feel sorry for old mate...

It's his own damn fault he didn't visit Adelaide sooner!

Tourism adverts usually follow the same set of rules - sweeping vistas with soaring orchestral music, all to entice you to spend your hard-earned dollars.

Well, a new ad from South Australia Tourism has bent those rules, with what is being described as "depressing" and "sad", not the usual buzzwords for tourism.

The 30-second spot features "Dave" as he tours some of the regions most famous locations like the Barossa Valley and the beaches.

The overall mood seems, well a little bit down. Has he suffered a loss, is he not well himself, why is he alone?

As he climbs Adelaide oval, and tears begin to stream down his face, the voiceover reveals all: "Don't feel sorry for old mate. It's his own damn fault for not visiting Adelaide sooner."

Watch the new ad above.

This "gotcha" moment hasn't sat well with viewers.

"Trust me when I say: the latest tourism campaign for Adelaide of the grimmest things you'll see in a while," wrote one commentator on Twitter.

"Terrible ad. Sad and depressing. Where's the excitement and discovery to visit Adelaide?" said another.


Tourism bosses said the advert was made after research showed that many people put off visiting the region until they are much older.

Brent Hill, marketing executive director for South Australian Tourism Commission, told ABC: "While there are lots of positives around Adelaide, there are still some dated misconceptions and perceptions around churches and it being quiet or boring.

"Much of this perception though, is based on dated knowledge - people haven't been for a while, or are hearing third-hand from others.

"We therefore designed a series of ads based around these insights. The first simply says one thing. Don't put off your trip to Adelaide till your later years - do it now."

Another person who thinks the ad doesn't work is Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist and founder of creative agency Thinkerbell.

"This communications creates a paired association between South Australia and being older, sad and lonely. This obviously isn't great. It may have the opposite effect to what they were intending," he told The Advertiser.

It's not the first time the South Australian Tourism Commission has released a controversial ad. In 2013 the 'Be Consumed' ad for the Barossa Valley created controversy for its dark mood and use of the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song Red Right Hand.

The ad was featured on the ABC's Gruen Transfer, with host Wil Anderson suggesting it wasn't a great idea to use such dark imagery in a state some people associate with serial killers. However, the ad industry panellists loved the ad and it went on to win a major international award.


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