March 17, 2009

Magical man-child in Australian ad

Maria Colon, the keeper of the NAICA blog, brings an Australian ad campaign to our attention:

Relationship problems?  Go on a Walkabout!!!!Baz Luhrmann deserves to be sucker-punched for making this commercial. Does he have any sense at all? That is a rhetorical question … plus anyone who has seen Australia knows he doesn’t. Actually, this commercial is part of a series of ads made for Australia’s Tourist Board. I’m sure whoever heads up the Aussie Tourist board had a part in the general direction of these commercials, so he or she deserves to be sucker-punched as well. You’re not alone, Bazzie. Taken from

“Sometimes we need to lose ourselves to find what matters most. Australia’s Aboriginal people know as much, going ‘walkabout’ to reconnect with the land and their traditional way of life. For most of us, ‘walkabout’ takes the form of a holiday--a time to re-balance and refresh. It lets us find ourselves when the pressures of daily life have made us lose touch.”
You can pretty much gauge the climate of global awareness on any particular subject according to percentage of comments on a related YouTube page. About 90% of comments on the above video’s page went something like this, “This commercial is memorizing and beautiful. I tear up every time. Crazy!” About 5%: “This commercial is super creepy! I’m never going there!” About 3%: “I’m an Aussie and this ad is bloody shithouse!” And then of course the 1 or 2% shaming the irresponsible portrayal of the Australian Aboriginal as a proverb-whispering, loin-cloth sporting medicine manchild, sprinkling healing sand on your relationship problems and tracking mud through your living room.Comment:  I guess I'd fall into the 1-2% shaming category, but there should be a category for reactions such as ho-hum, nothing special, could've been better, etc. Then we could divide that category into shaming and non-shaming subcategories.

My mini-review: The first half of the ad is too dark and murky. Focusing on one stressful relationship and one vacation getaway isn't especially interesting. With quicker cuts Luhrmann could've shown 3-4 stressful relationships and 3-4 vacation getaways. That would've told us more about the variety of ways Australia can soothe troubled souls.

Yes, the Aboriginal part is stereotypical. The concept might've worked with an Aboriginal voiceover only. Perhaps the stressed-out woman could've seen bits of Aboriginal culture in her daily life and realized she needed to embrace indigenous values--i.e., go on a walkabout.

For more on stereotypical TV commercials, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Origines saving Euro-Americans from the Concrete Jungle one tourist at a time.