Harold Mitchell: I wonder if adland’s Anglo-Australian force understands this country’s diversity

Australia’s creative agencies are failing to reflect the diversity of Australia because of the British domination of the industry, media agency boss Harold Mitchell has suggested.

In his column for Fairfax Media syndicated in The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times, Mitchell sugests that the now notorious “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” Lara Bingle ad for Tourism Australia failed to resonate with the world because it came out of “the English advertising culture”.

The ad was created by M&C Saatchi in 2006. Mitchell – chairman of Aegis Media – wrote:

“Sometimes I wonder if our media and marketing people understand this rapidly diversifying country. There is a very strong Anglo-Australian force in the advertising industry with a healthy representation of young British professionals. They grew up in the English advertising culture that was so vibrant 25 years ago with the likes of Morris and Charles Saatchi and others. So it’s not surprising they came up with the infamous line for the Australian Tourism industry ”Where the bloody hell are you?” And it went down like a lead balloon.

That campaign sank without trace because it completely misread the true nature of our culture and the world beyond our shores. Who can’t wait to snorkel on the world’s best-known coral reef, experience an opera in the most famous modern building on the globe, or simply get married in a rainforest?

If you think of our society of more that 200 cultures, how do you think that line would work for a middle-class traditional Pakistani or Indian family planning on visiting their student children?



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