Adelaide’s ‘Old Mate’ returns, this time with friends

The sad old man who featured in Adelaide’s latest tourism push – also known as ‘Old Mate’ – has returned to the city, this time in a much more upbeat manner.

The initial ad sparked controversy, backlash and discussion when it showed a downcast old man regretting not visiting the South Australian capital sooner. Much of the criticism of the ad focused on the abrasive voice-over, which cuts off the emotional scenes to declare “Don’t feel sorry for old mate. It’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner”.

The next phase of the campaign, however, shows Old Mate strutting through the airport with his friends, backed by Thin Lizzy’s The Boys are Back in Town.

The ad goes live today in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the lead up to the large-scale television events: the AFL and NRL grand finals.

The next phase of the campaign will have Old Mate showing his friends around South Australia, including the d’Arenberg Cube, Sellicks beach, Adelaide’s city laneways and urban beaches.

According to the South Australian Tourism Commission’s PR agency, Red Havas, the campaign has generated over 662 media articles and reached 10.59m Australians.

TBWA is behind the campaign for the South Australian Tourism Commission. The agency won the account in April last year, and opened an office in Adelaide to service it.

Red Havas said the mission of the campaign is to continue Adelaide’s momentum in domestic visitation growth, and encourage those who’ve not been to give it a go.

“Our market research indicates that while Adelaide is a rising destination, there are still many people who have put off coming to Adelaide and South Australia to “one day”, or its “on the bucket list,” Red Havas said.

‘Earlier this week, Tourism Tasmania released its own version of the Old Mate ad, showing an elderly man downing fresh Tasmanian oysters. The voiceover of the ad stated “Don’t feel sorry for old mate, he’s been coming to Tassie for years”.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.