Campaign Review: Will Ruby and Louie reboot Australian tourism?

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites industry creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week, Mumbrella asked experts from 72andSunny, FutureBrand, Thinkerbell and GROUND to share their takes on the brand new Tourism Australia campaign from M&C Saatchi.

Brand: Tourism Australia

Campaign: There’s nothing like Australia 

Agency: M&C Saatchi

The verdict: A fun and genuinely entertaining campaign that reminds world of what they know Australia offers

Alexandra Antoniou, creative director at 72andSunny Sydney, gave it a 8/10 saying:

So how do you sell Australia to more than six (guessing here) different market segments?

With a Tourism Campaign packed with good old fashioned warm and fuzzies. That’s how!

Tourism campaigns are always a minefield when it comes to a specific target market. So which is it: Fatigued families? Lonely swipe left singles? Cashed up retirees spending your inheritance? Or the entirety of Asia (roughly 4 billion).

‘We want them all!’, replies client. Sure. Great. Not a problem. (cue anxiety attack).

This campaign does an entertaining job in talking to many of these audiences. From the parents that watch Bluey with their kids, to older demographics longing for the ‘Australiana’ of the 80s and of course the popular Asian market who can never look away from an anime or furry mascot.

So let’s throw our advertising messiah complex into the clear blue waters of the barrier reef and say ‘This looks fun, endearing and wonderfully Australian. Now pass over the warm and fuzzies’.


Rich Curtis, CEO of FurtureBrand Australia, gave it an 8/10, saying:

Australia is a well-known and well-loved tourism proposition.

We see this in the data given that as many as 64% of people said they were considering a trip to visit Australia in the next five years according to the FutureBrand Country Brand Index 2020.  That’s higher than all but two of the countries in the top 100 – namely Japan and Norway – and it puts Australia as high as third in the world, and in spite of the fact that it only placed eleventh overall.

Consequently, awareness is not the brand’s challenge, nor perhaps consideration. What Australia needs is to convert those high levels of awareness and consideration into action. That’s the lens through which this advertising campaign has likely been conceived and should therefore be evaluated.

In which case, you can flick past all the commentary on overused kangaroos and perceived clichés like Uluru, and simply let yourself enjoy this fun story and all the ways it uses emotion to its full effect. After all, the marketing science shows that emotion drives action and I daresay this ad will do just that.

As for a rating? Well, I can’t help but be biased. Plus, I’m not even the target of the ad, so I asked some people who are. Namely, my brother and his family who live on the border between England and Wales and have got Australia on their shortlist for a possible trip in 2025. Not only are they ‘aware’ of Australia but they’re already ‘considering’ it. Their verdict on the ad? It’s a bit of light-hearted fun, something akin to a family show, and it feels good. A solid 8 out of 10, perhaps I’ll be seeing them soon.

Paul Swann, executive creative tinker at Thinkerbell (North) gave it a 7.5/10, saying:

I’m sure there are many layers to this campaign but for the sake of brevity and also because they’re the only bits I’ve actually seen so far I’ll focus on the short film and the 60” spot. But before that, let’s touch on the animated characters and the line – ‘Come and Say G’Day’

For those under about 30 it’s worth mentioning that this is a return to a previous campaign tag, which I expect was done not because the agency couldn’t think of a new line but instead is designed to reactivate a previously successful memory structure. I couldn’t testify to how well known the line is overseas or what it means to people but if it does have significant positive associations then it’s a canny move. For those who don’t have a prior connection with the line, it’s basically telling them that Australia is welcoming and friendly, there’s also a call-to-action in there for good measure. While it doesn’t really say anything new or expand what I think about Australia, based on the rest of the work I don’t think that’s the strategy here, the focus is on reminding people of what they know is on offer down under.

The balance between nostalgia (or at least familiarity) and modernity seems to be an important tension here. The line, track and use of familiar landmarks and places all play into what people know and love, while the animated characters, snappy dialogue and music remix all give a sense of nowness. This contemporary feel is necessary, because positioning Australia as a modern destination will be essential in attracting high spending international visitors who have increasingly high standards, especially if they are to be lured onto a long haul flight to get here.

Using animated characters is smart and will enable the campaign to travel well across markets and audiences. I wonder if going forward they present an opportunity to show those more familiar places from increasingly unfamiliar perspectives.

On to the short film. If you’re going to venture into this space it really is all or nothing and fortunately this is genuinely funny and charming while managing to weave in plenty of destination porn. The casting and performances are strong and the content resonates across generations. Important here, because while a factor, kids aren’t the key decision makers. If I could change one thing it would be Rose appearing at the end – it pulls the carpet out from under the viewers feet and communicates that the film they’ve just invested 9 minutes into watching is just an ad afterall.

The only other bit that doesn’t quite land for me is the 60” spot and I think that because there are too many competing elements vying for attention. It feels like a cut down of the short film which means the pacing is a bit off.

While it might not be as edgy as certain prior Tourism Australia campaigns I think they have made plenty of smart strategic and creative decisions and therefore am optimistic about its success.

Lawrence Parmenter, creative director at GROUND, gave it a 6/10, saying: 

Creating real entertainment formats beyond traditional advertising is a Creative’s dream and I have to admire the artistry that’s gone into bringing this campaign to life. It’s a proper short film, with proper characters and a story. Fantastic casting. Great direction. It’s beautiful and you can see the love and care that went into making it. All those pitches of ‘we make a short film’ have finally paid off.

And if the strategy was to attract international families through creating an animated Pixar-esque adventure then it’s bang on. Because this feels like a family film, with the relevant star powered casting to match. The characters are cute and welcoming and if the idea is to position Australia as a friendly place then it’s bang on.

But who specifically is it talking to? With such a family forward approach is the hope that parents watching with their children will be seduced by the scenery and experiences on offer? Or is there a desire to create pester power from the kids who fall in love with the characters? I find it a bit hard to believe that a child would rather visit the outback when they could go see whichever of Marvel’s Avengers is strolling around Disney Land.

As a Brit I can appreciate the outside audience’s view of Australia and how this imagery would excite them to visit but it’s hard to see this and not compare it to the DUNDEE film from a few years back – which cleverly challenged and subverted Aussie stereotypes in a way that to me had a clearer central idea and cut through.

Ultimately I think this is a campaign that falters the further away you get from the central asset of the short film. It’s got great distinctive brand cues and the updated Men At Work track is fantastic but in an age where technology is empowering audiences to tell their own stories of adventure is a film enough?

As told to Kalila Welch. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email Kalila at


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