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Minister is surprised that Britain's television regulator has banned Tourism Australia's advertising campaign involving tag, 'So where the bloody hell are you?'

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Friday 10 March 2006

Minister is surprised that Britain's television regulator has banned Tourism Australia's advertising campaign involving tag, 'So where the bloody hell are you?'


TONY EASTLEY: When the Government and Tourism Australia launched the new multimillion-dollar advertising campaign promoting Australia as a tourist destination, they said that the tagline for the campaign, "Where the bloody hell are you?" had bee n thoroughly tested in a number of countries, including the UK. 


But what they hadn't reckoned on was the bloody-mindedness of the British TV regulator, who has effectively left the ad up the proverbial creek. 


Tourism Minister, Fran Bailey, thinks the British banning of the word "bloody" is comical, saying the regulator has lost its sense of humour. 


The ban comes just days before the campaign is to be officially launched in Britain. 


The Minister for Tourism, Fran Bailey, spoke to Alexandra Kirk in Canberra. 


FRAN BAILEY: Well, I'm absolutely amazed at the British TV Advertising Regulator. I think he's lost his sense of humour. 


You know, maybe it's living in that very dull and dreary climate, because I really find it, you know, just amazing how anyone could take offence at the beautiful girl that we have in the bikini, with the sun streaming and the gorgeous beach. 


ALEXANDRA KIRK: They're not taking offence at that, are they? 


FRAN BAILEY: Well, I mean, she's the one who gives that very tongue-in-cheek and cheeky invitation, you know, "Where the bloody hell are you?" 


But I'm very surprised because these are the same TV people that have given us Benny Hill, and Ali G, and The Two Ronnies, so I don't know what's happened to that British regulator's sense of humour. 


ALEXANDRA KIRK: So what will the new ad be like now without the word bloody? 


FRAN BAILEY: Well, I don't think it will have quite that cheeky impact that it has. 


But we will be going ahead and launching the ad. And of course people will be able to see the uncut version online, in their cinemas and then all of the print media. 


And of course we've already had 30,000 hits on our website, so we know that the Brits are loving it. 


ALEXANDRA KIRK: You're making light of the British banning the word "bloody", but isn't there a serious side to this, that the impact of the ad's been diluted? 


And is Tourism Australia now going to have to devise a new advertising strategy? 


FRAN BAILEY: Not at all. In fact I can assure you the advertising campaign has been ticked along even further by the actions of the TV regulator in Britain. 


There's been 100,000 hits in total on our website. It's now been launched in New Zealand and in the United States. 


And this ad, which had a specific task to cut through and make people sit up and take notice of Australia, I can assure you this is really delivering the goods. 


ALEXANDRA KIRK: Did no one road-test the ad beforehand? Did no one think that the word "bloody" was inappropriate for the British market? 


FRAN BAILEY: No, it certainly was road-tested. We did extensive research and it was very well received in the UK by Britons. 


But what we weren't expecting was for the advertising regulator, who obviously allows programs, you know, like the celebrity chef, I believe, Gordon Ramsey, who drops four-letter words all through his program. I mean, this seems to be a double standard. 


ALEXANDRA KIRK: You've written to the British Secretary of State for Culture, asking for her help, to help gain approval for the use of the word "bloody". But do you really think she can intervene? 


FRAN BAILEY: Well, I'm hoping that she might be able to get the regulator to, you know, regain a sense of humour about this. 


There's no doubt it's cheeky and it's plain-speaking, but it is also showing what Australia has to offer. And it shows Australian characters, and the warmth and the friendliness of everyday Australian people. 


And we're very serious about this industry. This is an industry that employs half a million Australians and we want to employ even more in it. 


TONY EASTLEY: Australia's Tourism Minister, Fran Bailey, speaking there with Alexandra Kirk.