‘Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate’s mates’: SATC wraps up controversial campaign for Adelaide

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has doubled down on its controversial advertising and messaging about old people and regret.

An initial ad sparked controversy and backlash for its tone, when it featured a sad old man seemingly regretting not having more fun in Adelaide in his younger years. An abrasive voice-over cut 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”.

Soon after the backlash, a much more upbeat ad was released, featuring ‘Old Mate’ and his friends strutting through an airport on their way to the South Australian capital. It was backed by Thin Lizzy’s The Boys are Back in Town.

The third, and apparently final, instalment in the SATC’s campaign for Adelaide shows Old Mate and his mates enjoying the sights, scenes and sounds of Adelaide, but then reverts to the same message as the original ad.

“Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate’s mates,” says the voiceover. “It’s their damn fault they didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

The ad premiered during the AFL grand final over the weekend.

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.

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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.

Last 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”.


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