Provocative 'tourism ad' stirs mixed feelings in Australia

Tourists in Kakadu National Park, NT, Australia (file image) Image copyright Thinkstock

A provocative Australian advertisement has swept the internet, sparking assumptions that the Northern Territory (NT) has unleashed a startling new tourism campaign.

The logo quickly made headlines - it was dubbed "the wildest tourism slogan ever" by one news outlet - with critics variously hailing it as hilarious or distasteful.

It bellows "See You in the Northern Territories", but uses acronyms throughout.

"Well this is a bold strategy for a travel campaign," one person tweeted.

Image copyright NTOfficial
Image caption The ad, half of which is shown here, hasn't been welcomed by everyone

But despite appearances, it is not an official campaign - as the actual NT tourism authority soon made clear.

"Tourism NT is aware of inappropriate use of our trademarked Brolga logo. We are in no way affiliated with these promotions," it tweeted.

'Words fail me'

The creators of the ad,, released a statement describing themselves as "an independent underground campaign" promoting the NT to young people.

But they added they were also responsible for selling all the merchandise on the site.

Image caption Despite its rugged appeal, the Northern Territory has struggled to attract tourists in recent years

However, debate continued around the slogan's possible effectiveness for promoting the Northern Territory, which has experienced declining tourism numbers since 2000.

The word the ad plays on is generally considered misogynistic and highly offensive. But in Australia, it is often not taken as seriously as in other English-speaking countries, sometimes being used almost affectionately.

"Love the new ad", said one tweet. "If you need me, I'll be in the #NorthernTerritory," said another.

Image copyright @VonMogadon

But not all were impressed.

"Words fail me are you people out of your minds with a slogan like that!!!??? Shows a serious lack of national maturity to say the least," wrote Ben Grego.

Michelle Doherty said: "Stupid especially at a first glance if you don't know what CU stand for."

Associate Prof Con Stavros, a marketing expert from RMIT University in Melbourne, said social media would ultimately judge the slogan, but he was not sure about it.

"It's very confronting so I suspect it's probably crossed that line between edgy and acceptable," he said.

Tourism NT would be watching the response very closely, he said.

"It's not a bad position to be in. If it doesn't cross the line, they don't have to take ownership - but can say it helped," he said

Was there any chance they were in on the stunt?

"No, it's not normal in marketing that you send off some kind of rogue element, some dark ops thing," he said.

"That's more for the movies."

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