Brand Australia – Where Do Women Stand?
“Where the bloody hell are you?”
The world is still cringing and mildly offended at this last attempt at an Australian branding campaign. Well, not the last campaign—the most recent is actually the ‘there’s nothing like Australia’ campaign which nobody really remembers. After Lara Bingle’s bikini-clad tourism bingle of 2006, it’s no surprise Tourism Australia went super safe (and super generic) with the 2015/16 effort.
As an Australian and a marketer, I am underwhelmed. It’s not only Tourism Australia’s fault though. Have we not all been humiliated this year at the hands of one Tony Abbott, who, in one of his many embarrassing acts as Prime Minister, felt it was appropriate to bite into an onion on camera as if it was a perfectly normal thing to do? Mmm, delish!
So, where are we at when it comes to our national Australian brand? Who the bloody hell knows? Or worse. The most successful tourism and national branding campaign this country has ever had is one that involved ‘throwing a shrimp on the barbie’. Surely as a people we can amount to more than that?
So, dear ladies of WNA, what do women in Australia stand for these days? I would love to know your thoughts. I think we have come to stand for some pretty important things in recent times, as a country and as a gender.
Australia is known as a great sporting nation and while the men usually take centre stage, this year has definitely been the year of the Aussie woman in sport. With minimal fuss and drama – and let’s face it, enjoying far less media exposure than the men take for granted – women have accomplished so much, hopefully inspiring a whole generation.
While Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, our Australian women’s cricket team, the Southern Stars, won the Ashes in England, the Matildas made the finals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Australian Diamonds netball team beat New Zealand in the 2015 Netball World Cup. If that’s what playing like a girl looks like, we’ll happily do it. No mess, no fuss. Just plenty of hard work, dedication, solidarity and commitment.
There are many other areas in which Australian women have a positive impact – politics, business and industry, advocacy against domestic violence, education, and of course, often taking the larger role as primary caregivers to their children and juggling the needs of the household.
Australia is lucky in that it can represent itself through tourism, liveability and the good old barbecue cliché. But we have more to offer than just the standard Sydney Harbour Bridge image or aerial photo of Uluru.
Even a glimpse of our women’s achievements, both on and off the sporting field, would mark a long-overdue win for the Australian brand.