A new ad released by South Australia Tourism has left viewers confused, with some saying the 30 second clip is “appalling”, “depressing”, “sad” and even “shocking” to watch.
Dubbed “Don’t feel sorry for old mate”, the video focuses on an elderly man named “Dave” during what appears to be his very first visit to Adelaide.
Aged in his 70s, the short journey follows Dave as he travels solo through popular landmarks in Adelaide and surrounds “before it’s too late”.
The 30-second video starts with Dave peering out of a bus window looking sombre while taking in the wine region of the Barossa Valley.
Shortly afterwards, Dave sits down alone with a glass of red wine, before the mood changes again, and he’s close to tears while watching younger couple laugh together while enjoying a cheese plate.
In the final scene of the short advertisement, Dave makes his way up the ladder at Adelaide oval — again, all on his own — before breaking down in tears as he looks over the City of Churches.
While the video will pull at your heartstrings, the campaign calls for viewers not to feel sympathy or sadness for Dave and his lonely adventure. Rather, “it’s his own damn fault” for not visiting the state sooner.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek approach to the advertisement, which is urging people not to wait until your twilight years to visit South Australia, many have been left a little confused by the campaign’s message.
“Appalling sentiments. Which Adelaide resident would want to be associated with such a lack of compassion? Not me,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Not going to entice anyone to visit our State. Sad and shocking to think money has been wasted on this,” another added.
“Terrible ad. Sad and depressing. Where’s the excitement and discovery to visit Adelaide?,” another added.
“This ad is terribly depressing. Being older and lonely is not a funny thing.”
The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) said the advertisement was in response to market research they’d received about visiting the state, with many people still putting off a trip to Adelaide until their later years.
“While there are lots of positives around Adelaide, there are still some dated misconceptions and perceptions around churches and it being quiet or boring,” Brent Hill, marketing executive director for SATC, said in a statement.
“Much of this perception though is based on dated knowledge — people haven’t been for a while, or are hearing third-hand from others.
“We therefore designed a series of ads based around these insights. The first simply says one thing. Don’t put off your trip to Adelaide till your later years — do it now.
“Dave, ‘Old Mate’, had a great time in Adelaide. But his message? Don’t wait till you’re in your late 70s to visit Adelaide, otherwise you’ll see what you’ve been missing out on, and be filled with regrets.”
Despite the intentions, Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist and founder of creative agency Thinkerbell, says the campaign has missed the mark.
“Unfortunately for this piece of communications pictures speak louder than words, as we process images far easier than we do what’s heard,” he explained.
“This communications creates a paired association between South Australia and being older, sad and lonely. This obviously isn’t great. It may have the opposite effect to what they were intending.
“Another fear I have for this ad is that those who do hear the ‘joke’ may actually just find it offensive. The joke obviously falls flat, and therefore it doesn’t motivate people to go.”
Mr Ferrier said while “South Australia has done some of the best tourism advertising of any state in recent years” their latest advertisement won’t go down as a winner.
Tourism advertising is difficult,” he said.
“Hopefully this will be a blip and they’ll course correct.”
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