The woman at the centre of the Tourism Queensland fake video furore says she was told to act like a would-be Big Brother applicant.
According to Rhiannon Craig, she had only been working at the Brisbane-based office of Cummins Nitro for a matter of days when they asked her to appear in a video. It was to promote entries into the “best job in the world” campaign offering someone the chance to be caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. She said: “They wanted to have a couple of example application videos for when the site went live, to try and set the standard of applications.
“The client wanted these videos to be crazy and really out there. It kind of sounded like the Big Brother video applications.”
Writing on her own blog, which has since been taken down, she goes on: “It got suggested that I should pretend to get a tattoo showing my dedication for the islands. Originally we wanted to get the tattoo studio to draw up the tattoo on my arm. In the end, one of the art directors drew the tattoo on with felt tip pen himself. They submitted my video as a test and used a fake name for the application.”
She said she chose the name Tegan in honour of her favourite band Tegan and Sara.
But after the site went live, the world’s media reported as a fact that she had had the tattoo. “They even used a few seconds of my video in some TV news stories on the 5 o’oclock news. I got a few calls from friends and family asking if that was really me and I had to assure everyone that I was not freshly inked. Then suddenly one of the Australian media outlets ran with a story ‘Woman gets tattoo to win reef job’ and there I am on the front page of News.com.au.
“I thought it would be so obvious that it was fake, but I guess some people still fell for it including the lazy journalists who had nothing better to write about.”
After the mainstream media picked up the story from Mumbrella today, the video was finally taken off YouTube. Meanwhile, Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser today said he took a “dim view” of the affair, while Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes confessed: “The simple answer is that we messed up”.