The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Sorry Kevin Rudd …
September 2, 2009, 6:33 am
Filed under: Comment

… but despite it sometimes giving me the total shits, I still kinda call Australia home – which is why I’m quite glad I’m popping back for a few days as of tonight, even though it is for quite serious reasons.

This means 2 things …

1/ There’s no more posts till Monday [I have exhausted my supply of pre-written posts and haven’t replenished my stocks – how slack is that?]

2/ If you live there and have made the fatal mistake of ever acknowledging my existence, you might get a call asking if you’re free for a coffee. Of course I’ll pay for your double decaf latte with soya milk [I wouldn’t expect you to be seen in my company without getting some sort of “benefit”] however it looks like you’ll be safe because my trip has seemingly been planned to the nano-second, probably to make sure I don’t disrupt and annoy any more people than I absolutely have to.

[While I’m going to be in Sydney, I might have to pop down to Melbourne, so you’re not safe either Lauren!]

Right, let’s go and see what the Aussies have done to piss me off shall we?

Expect rabid ranting as of next week, ha!

Actually why wait till then …

The photo above was ‘borrowed’ from the long-running Qantas advertising campaign.

For years they’ve flown a bunch of angelic looking little bastards all around the World and filmed them while they sing one of the most self important/delusional ditties since Bono tried to get his band to play a song he’d written called …

“I am the greatest living person in the World. No one can touch me for talent, style and care to mankind. Even that God bloke pales into insignificance. Without me, the World would be nothing, and U2 would be a pub band. I am, quite simply, amazing.”

Seriously, how ungrateful can these kids be?

They get flown all around the World … getting access to the sorts of places even explorers dream about … and what do they do? They whine they’re not home.


“But Rob, you’re missing the point” I hear you cry, “… they’re saying exploring the World is wonderful, but there’s no place like home.”

No they’re not …

They’re saying exploring the World is OK, but why would you bother when there’s no place better in the whole fucking universe than Australia.

Hell, it’s almost as if Qantas are encouraging people to NOT travel … but to be fair, that might be something mandated by the Government in an attempt to subliminally encourage foreigners [read: immigrants] to stay where the hell they are.


If you hadn’t guessed, I don’t really like Qantas.

Sure, they’re not as bad as Garuda, Malaysian, Air India or British Airways – but they’re working hard to be as ground breaking in awfulness as those distinguised organisations.

I’m not saying this because of my associations with Virgin, I’m saying it because it’s true and everytime I see one of their ads featuring a little sod warbling their hearts out singing that fucking song, it reminds me that even if the ‘flying kangaroo’ did get its act together and offered half decent planes, service and facilities – I’d still explore other options before I flew them.

Saying that, these ads do give a good insight into the Aussie attitude because if you follow the underlying message of the song [which isn’t hard as it’s about as deep as a puddle] you realise the reason why Qantas resonates so deeply with the Australian public is because it speaks their language …

“Buckingham Palace might be impressive, but the Wooloomooloo wharf serves cold beer and doesn’t mind you wearing shorts and singlets.”

“NYC might be exciting but I get more goose bumps when I watch the Aussie edition of ’60 Minutes’ on a Sunday night.”

“Eating Thai food in Thailand might be novel, but it doesn’t taste as nice as Australian Thai and the people talk funny.”

Hey, I’ve always said moving cultures is better than moving the category so I guess I should bow down to their brilliance – especially as they seem quite content ‘talking to their own’, which is proving to be a far more successful strategy than any of their recent global tourism campaigns the countries run, especially the recent ‘great hope’ that flopped as much as the movie it was tied to: Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia”.

Seriously, what’s wrong with being associated with Sun/Beach/Koala/BBQ’s?

Most other countries would kill for that association – but the powers-that-be don’t think it demonstrates Australia’s progressive attitude.

Well there’s a reason for that … Australia isn’t as progressive as many of the people think.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing country with amazing people that has – and continues to – achieve amazing things, but it’s not this home of global innovation that some of the folk like to delude themselves with.

But putting that aside, if they’re so desperate to present a more modern image to the World, why the fuck did they put all their eggs in the basket of a movie that shows Australia when it was a bloody dust bowl?

Not only that, but regardless of her Oscars and high profile life, the ice-Queen – Nicole Kidman – probably puts more people off the place than it attracts. Infact, the only thing I think they could of used her for was if they did ads that simply said: “NICOLE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE”.

Jesus, where did all this come from?

How the hell will I be when I’ve actually come back from the place?

Who knows … but before you Aussies get your knickers in a twist, I’m only teasing – I love the country and I love [most] of the people … though I really do hate those Qantas ads.


43 Comments so far
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ive spent the day reading the bollocks youve been concocting while ive been away and theyve all been shit, especially that ‘top presenter’ fuckism wank but this is good and gives me hope the campbell of old still lurks inside the campbell of fucking luxury i now have to endure.

i blame myself for making you so successful but you never fucking admit that so i can absolve myself of all guilt and call you a cock.

the reason why so many australian ads fail to work internationally is because they write them for themselves not for the people theyre trying to attract.

who the fuck wants to visit australia because its a leader in innovation (which its not) or because you can find yourself?

its for those simple reasons why plastic paul hogan and koala bears will still be more successful than the ‘where the bloody fuck are ya’ and nicole kidman film shit campaigns even if no fucker in the tourist board wants to hear that.

you once said that you thought the reason why no aussie agency will crack the world is because theyre obsessed with being australian and so they can never see whats going on outside of the prison walls and i think youre right. a mate of mine, a fucking great brit creative, went to an agency in sydney to help them be more international and left after 6 months because the fuckers kept saying his work was unaustralian. and they said it like it was a bad thing.

creatives from oz become great creatives from oz when they leave australia because they fucking realise theres more to the world than just them.

if i was qantas or the aussie tourist commission, id get a fucking great international planner and a fucking great aussie creative who now lives and works outside of the country and socialises outside of his own nationality and give them the brief. even if it fails spectaculary it cant be as bad as that fucking qantas song.

see you monday campbell. be afraid.

Comment by andy@cynic

If this post and Andy’s comment are representative of how they are when one goes away and one prepares to return then I hope it happens more often because this is very entertaining.

I’m sure the Australian contingent who visit this blog may have an alternative perspective but I think this post and Andy’s comment are bursting with (at best) great insights and (at worst) serious debate fodder which having followed the recent Australian tourism campaigns, seem to have not been thought about, let alone discussed, at all.

Good luck in Australia Rob, what a way to go. 🙂

Comment by Pete

I should point out my wife – who we should remember is Australian [well, she’s Aussie/Canadian but that’s not important right now] – agrees with me and even though she’s my wife and we’ve just celebrated our 2nd anniversary together, that doesn’t mean she would do it out of loyalty because as you can see from the header on this blog, she quite likes making me look a fuckwit.

Her view is that the powers-that-be haven’t actually identified why people travel to Oz because they’re too obsessed with trying to appear important and globally relevant … and whilst that has economic implications on the countries future interms of foreign investment/exports – interms of tourism, its irrelevant.

[Case in point. The recent campaign that basically showed a person going to Australia to ‘find themselves’ flopped magnificently in China simply because the concept of ‘losing yourself’ is not understood and so it not only confused them, but gave no reason why they should visit which is especially important because in Asia, people visit destinations/landmarks NOT countries]

Anyway, they’re her words, not mine so don’t shoot the messenger [even though I wrote the big rant in the first place] … but I do think that, crossed with Andy’s diagnosis is pretty interesting, regardless of its accuracy.

PS: Hello Andy, it’s semi-nice to have you semi-back. 🙂

Comment by Rob

Welcome back … agree on Qantas ad,

Comment by PC

1. Nicole Kidman cannot act. Fact.
2. Is this new Qantas ad not EXACTLY the same as the last ad save a few small details??
3. Still, I love Qantas, even if they do only serve extremely fatty muffins on their domestic flights.
4. But it is time for them to move on.
5. I’ll always love Peter Allen though.
6. I’ve never really thought about Australia as progressive?
7. I just want to see hot chicks on the beach in Australian Tourism ads – it’s not too much to ask is it??
8. I’ll see you that double decaf latte with soya milk and raise you an English breakfast tea, if you have time Rob.

Comment by Angus

apart from her choice in husbands ive always thought jill had great fucking taste.

and the only reason angus wants to see you is so she can kick you in the fucking head.

i like angus.

Comment by andy@cynic

and its not like auntie george will protect you either campbell.

pack the bandages.

Comment by andy@cynic

When it comes to Qantas ads, the word you are probably looking hubris.

I remember a chat with a Kiwi friend a few years back. I can’t remember the topic at hand, but at one point he blurted out – “you’re not a typical Australian.”

I thought, “great” here we go. Having had the misfortune of moving to Australia at the age of 2, I’ve always had to live with the tag of not being a “real Aussie.” Anyway, for the sake of my friend, I braved it out – “what do you mean,” I asked.

“Well, you don’t have a chip on your shoulder.”

I (mostly) enjoy going back to Aus to visit family. But, it’s pretty amazing the way the oxygen drains from the room if you ever criticise Australia (even in a fun way) or dwell too long on the good things other countries have to offer.

The most hubristic thing I hear over and over again is the mantra “Why would you want to live anywhere else.” A decade ago, when I left, it always sounded so confident and boastful. Now, I’m sure I can hear the whisper of desperation and uncertainty in it.

Comment by fernando

Australia is an amazing and beautiful country but like anyone who talks relentlessly about how great they are, some of the shine starts to dull.

It’s a fine line between ego and pride and when left to the people who never invite objectivity into their lives, it tends to fall on the wrong side.

Comment by Pete

This is like a trip down memory lane for me.

Rob is at his backbiting best, Andy is swearing himself silly yet still making interesting points and George is quiet and will wait till it’s all calmed down before he passes his yoda judgement. 🙂

I haven’t been to Australia for 3 years so I I can’t comment with any authority but the opinions do ring true to my experiences from that time, especially the whole “think Australian” attitude of agencies and clients.

I agree with Pete that regardless of the posts/comments accuracy there’s a heap of issues that have been raised that seem to have not been considered or discussed by the Australian tourist department but that could be because Jill is right that they don’t care, they just want to please themselves.

Safe travels in Australia Robert, make sure George doesn’t vomit over anyone. LOL.

Comment by Bazza

Angus is a girl? Ok. That scares a good way..

welcome back andy

Comment by niko

Angus is a man. I’ve met her.

Comment by Marcus

Soya milk?

Comment by northern

i will only catch up with you rob (and george) if i DON’T have to fucking talk about Australia. i’m sick of it. i’m sick of you going on about it, i’m sick of the local media being a bunch of self-obsessed wankers about the place, i’m sick of the bloody comparisons to here, there and everywhere else and am well over the rhetoric about tourism ads for fuck’s sake.

if we catch up, rob, we’re going to talk about existentialist literature and the weather. that’s it.

enjoy your flight.


Comment by lauren

and niko, angus is not a girl. but you should still be scared. in a bad way.

Comment by lauren

It’ll be a short conversation, but you’re on Lauren. 🙂

Comment by Rob

PS: I’m glad you got pissy, what’s the point of me writing stuff like this if all the bloody Aussies agree with me? Christ, I’d have to start picking on the Kiwi’s then …

Getting on the plane … you have 10 hours to move countries.

Comment by Rob

PPS: Hello NP, did you and Andy go on holiday together or something?

PPPS: Hello Marcus my lovely.

PPPPS: Careful Niko, you’re starting to sound like Boucher, ha!


Comment by Rob

Now that’s a thought

Comment by northern

i know mr flat cap dreams of being in my company but id rather be seen in public with kerry fuckhead katona. no offence meant northern.

Comment by andy@cynic

Surely a weather topic will end up on Australia?

Literature only for you two!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hello Andy.

Comment by Marcus

maybe i m too thick, but why do they think it is important to tell everyone that they still call australia home? i guess it was only aired in aus? but then i did see it online while residing in europe. do they want to make a stand against non-aussie airlines with it?
good luck rob 🙂 and a semi hello

Comment by peggy

hello marcus brown, how the fuck are you?

does anyone know if campbell has had to bail out auntie because we all know he becomes a total pisshead when hes allowed out on his own.

Comment by andy@cynic

Binge drinking is the curse of the british abroad.

Comment by John

i’ll check in the murdoch tabloids tomorrow for you andy – that’s where all the ‘news’ about men behaving badly ends up 🙂

Comment by lauren

dont worry about it lauren, those 2 soft sods are about as dangerous as fucking candy floss.

Comment by andy@cynic

newsflash. auntie is still suffering from jet lag. what a fucking wimp.

Comment by andy@cynic

You must be so proud.

Comment by John

i found these old kpmg hymns. anyone knows if they were used in a commercial?

Comment by lol

I still remember a noisy debate in Canberra when Qantas had told their crew to greet Japanese 1st and biz class passengers boarding in Tokyo with “Konichi Wa” in the hopes of getting improving local business from there.

There was a louder debate when a Japanese official wrote to the minister of transport or some such, very politely pointing out that the correct form of Japanese greeting did not include appending “ya old bastid” that he’d experienced on boarding in Tokyo.

Comment by mike

As an Australian who has live abroad for three years, there is some truth to the whole chip on the shoulder statement. But don’t tar us all with the same brush. Agreed Tourism Australia has done a poor job for a while, but the best tourism stuff in Australia doesn’t come from the federal government it comes from the state governments – think ‘Best Job in the World’ and Tourism Victoria’s Melbourne ball of string ad (actually its not that good, its just funny and weird).. But agreed Rob, Australia the film was woeful, and the new Qantas ad is woeful too, just a rehash of old stuff. Its just an ad for Aussies and with Qantas’ tie up with British Airwarys and Air France these days, there’s very little chance of actually flying with Qantas, as you never really know which of those three ‘great airline’ experiences you’ll get when you book. Anyway, when it comes to marketing Qantas, the best thing ever associated with the airline harks back to the 80s and the film ‘Rain Man’. When idiot savant Dustin Hoffman wants to fly Qantas internally in the US because it has never crashed. Which actually is still true, although shit keeps falling off their planes these days, so time is running out for them. But I think a Qantas ad with ‘We still haven’t crashed yet, and Rain Man likes us’ is a much better proposition than ‘I still call Australia Home’. Reworking a song by a gay man who married Liza Minnelli is not necessarily a great move.

Comment by John

for someone trying to defend australias honour, youre fucking good at taking the piss john. i like that afuckinglot.

now because life has been so unfair to campbell, i should point he has always said the melbourne stuff is fucking great

and the best job bollocks is a pr idea , not an advertising idea which might be why its fucking decent.

Comment by andy@cynic

So basically only Lauren got upset at me on this post and even then she basically acknowledged some of what I was saying was right.


This might get your nationalistic fight going …

I hate Dawn Fraiser.

I do.

I cannot stand the woman.

Yes I know she’s an Aussie ‘icon’ but she’s also a bitch that walks around Balmain like she owns the place and complains when people do house improvements [ie: me] simply because they followed the government protocal when she didn’t because she thinks she is so bloody brilliant she’s above all that.

Well she’s not brilliant, she was simply a brilliant swimmer back when Moses was doing stuff with water she couldn’t dream of … but that doesn’t mean she’s Einstein or even Jordan … so she should accept it, get over it and stop making the rest of Balmain resident’s life annoying.

Abuse please …


Comment by Rob

Meh! To be honest I don’t mind the Qantas work. It’s a bit tired and boring now but they’ll neve change it because the marketing managers want to keep their careers. It kinda works because of a point u made about lack of culture in Australia. Aussies ARE so isolated and detached from the world that we are all trying to escape. But eventually we came home and it’s that moment where Qantas choose to reach people. I dunno if it works, and frankly right now, I couldn’t give a ducking shit… I’m in NYC loving life so Australia is the last thing on my mind! Andy are you in town? My mobile is 13472388813, if you want toalert up and swear at me in person I’m here for another week…

Comment by Age

Sorry for spelling errors, damn iphone into wordpress!

Comment by Age

how’s this for a solution, rob: dawn fraser doesn’t live in melbourne.

Comment by lauren

maybe that dawn fraser is just an old and lonely woman who only gets attention when she is making a fuss and pisses people off? have you invited her for a coffee or tea and a chat yet? though i don t know her… don t hate me now please 🙂

Comment by peggy

Dear Age, I’m at the airport in the lounge of the airline I hate and let me tell you, even if you like their ads – or semi-like them – you would absolutely detest their service and standards because quite frankly Air Iraqi is probably better.

And don’t get me started on the immigration/customs department at the airport because they are the biggest bunch of petty, small minded, facists this side of Chicago immigration – and they are the worst bastards I’ve ever seen.

Am I going off on a tangent?

Yes – it’s bloody early, I’ve just been treated like a piece of shit by the customs officers and I have a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge flight infront of me and I really can’t be arsed.

Now enough of that, I’m heading to your side of the pond [well your sideish, more West than East] so I hope we can see/speak to eachother soon but as I know you have met up with at least one of my mates there, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is spend your time with people who are linked to your ‘normal’ life, ha!

And Lauren, I know ‘our Dawn’ lives in Queensland because the fucker on the table next to me when I saw her said he was so happy to see her “back home”. Just my luck I’m there on the day she decided to revisit her past … thank you Australia, thank you alot.

PS: One of my mates once got me a SIGNED autobiography of her for my birthday but the worst was when I was in one of those meetings where they start by asking everyone to reveal a ‘secret’ about themselves.

Because I hate that sort of shit, I happily said I couldn’t stand Dawn Fraiser. There was nervous laughter around the room – however rather than it being because I was a cheeky bastard – it was because a few people down, a man announced his secret, “Dawn Fraiser was a family relation of his”.

It was a very tense meeting that day … though no doubt you and your Aussie friends would say ‘karma’, ha! Right I’ve banged on with coffee-infused bollocks, so I’m getting on the plane … ta-ra

PPS: Peggy, you’re evil. 🙂

Comment by Rob

i have to agree with you about our customs ‘officials’ rob. especially in sydney – their tagline is surely AQIS: a right pack of c***s.
they are the biggest load of wankers that i have ever had the displeasure of dealing with (and i’m in the arts!).

considering that most people are strung out, overwrought, vulnerable and irrational when they land at/leave any of our international quarantine ports (thanks to a minimum 8-hour flight), you’d think that customer service 101 would be standard issue, before the badge and gun. not so. dumb bastards.

if the tourist board were really interested in developing a good reputation, the first thing they need to do is to pull the multi-million dollar TVCs with skeletor and spend it taking AQIS back to school – as the first face of oz tourism, they are SO SHIT and undermine any naff branding being done elsewhere.

Comment by lauren

what the fuck is going on with our border patrol when they let campbell and age in. fuck me the security standards have gone to fucking pot since aunties best mate got in to the hot seat.

age. im back in town wednesday or friday, are you there and which of campbells unfortunates have you met? i cant apologise enough because theyre bound to be fools and planners.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hey Andy, I’m around till Sunday. Yes I have met some of Robs mates, all planners and all great people! Maybe we can do lunch or something on Friday? Up to you, call me whenever.

Comment by Age

[…] Qantas being Qantas – as I’ve written about many times, such as here and here – couldn’t help but snap defeat out of the jaws of victory by reinforcing the […]

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