Australia

'The whole country is cooking': Tourism Australia's $15 million ad starring Kylie Minogue gets mixed reviews

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A new star-studded Tourism Australia ad has divided social media, with some describing it as the "best ad ever" while others argue it's false advertising.

A $15 million tourism ad attempting to lure Brexit-weary Brits to Australia with Kylie Minogue and cute quokkas has divided opinion, with many claiming the current bushfire reality doesn't match the sunny skies and happy beachgoers depicted in the commercial.

The lighthearted production, which describes Australians as the United Kingdom's "wing-men and wing-women", was broadcast during a key timeslot ahead of the much-anticipated Queen's Christmas Day message. 

But despite Minogue's brief appearance as her former beloved Neighbours character, Charlene Robinson, not everyone is a fan of the musical love letter to beach, beer and sausages in bread. 

"C'mon over mates, we are having a barbie. The whole country is cooking in fact," one Twitter user posted in response to the video, which by Thursday afternoon had amassed almost 10,000 likes on the platform.

"Come on down! Just BYO water, breathing apparatus and SPF 5000," wrote another Aussie, while others described it as "cringe-worthy".

One line in the ad, targeting citizens of the UK with promises to "speak your language", also came under fire for allegedly suggesting a preference for tourists from English-speaking countries.

But many also took to social media to applaud to video, calling it a "masterpiece" and "maybe the best Australian tourism ad yet". 

Discussing the campaign on 2GB, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the ad was targeting those "well and truly over the Brexit debate" who may be looking for a little "escapism". 

He also defended the commercial's release in the middle of Australia's bushfire emergency, confirming planning began months ago. 

"It's unfortunate to the extent that it comes at the same time that you see international news services covering stories of fires. But it's also one of the reasons why it's important that we continue to invest in tourism marketing," he said.

"The fires will pass. Communities need to rebuild and people who see this ad today will be making bookings to travel in six months’ time, nine months’ time, 12 months’ time when we need to make sure that our tourism industry is well and truly on its feet thriving so that those regional communities can get the support they deserve for the future."

Dubbed the #MateSong by Tourism Australia, the video also features comedian Adam Hills and includes cameos from sports stars Shane Warne, Ashleigh Barty and Ian Thorpe.

Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said millions tune in to watch the Queen's annual Christmas speech on television.

"We also know that January in the northern hemisphere winter is a time when many Brits are thinking about an overseas holiday, providing the perfect opportunity to engage with a captive audience and remind them why they should make that next trip Australia," she said in a statement on Thursday.

But as social media remains split over whether the controversial ad was worth its $15 million price tag, one Twitter user believes it might be the thing that brings Australia together after all.

"Nothing unites Australians more than going absolutely apes*** at the latest Tourism Australia campaign," they said.

With AAP

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