“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours”. Well, everybody it seems apart from the company behind the Australian TV soap, which has decided to pull the plug after 37 years of a show which has been the launchpad for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie, Natalie Imbruglia and, er, Ian Smith.
But as its final 90-minute episode hits the screens tonight on Channel 5, Tourism Australia is using this is the perfect time to woo “the Pommies” back down under, with an ad that intersperses “iconic” images from Ramsay Street with top visitor destinations.
Devised by CHEP Network and the show’s makers Fremantle, the 30-second spot is part of Tourism Australia’s $56m “Don’t go small, go Australia” strategy, which first aired in the UK in February when international travel restrictions were eased.
As a tribute to Neighbours, the ad will finish with the word ‘Australia’ styled like the show’s logo.
Tourism Australia’s regional general manager, UK and Northern Europe, Sally Cope seems pretty chipper. She said: “It’s nostalgic. For four decades, a little touch of the Australian lifestyle has been appearing in everyone’s living room every day. We just really wanted to acknowledge it and celebrate the moment.
“It was a bit of a ‘stars aligning’ moment because Fremantle reached out to us at the same time. It was great, because we worked together from the outset on how we could come up with something to celebrate this final episode.
“It’s all about showcasing the diversity of experiences and the vastness of the country, really tapping into that pent-up demand and saying, ‘This is the year to go big and have a big trip to Australia’.”
“So, how do we adapt that and celebrate Neighbours at the same time? The message is, now that Neighbours is ending, it’s about inspiring people to think about their big trip to come down and ‘Say g’day to Australia’.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?
Well, apparently Neighbours has been one of the most popular TV shows for years, although we must confess we have never seen a single episode. Mind you, we’ve never been to Australia either so we guess we could have been missing out on both.
Quite whether this will be enough to convince thousands of Brits to make the trip down under is another matter. According to a study by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, Australia ranked last on a list of places Brits would most like to visit, with cost and distance proving the biggest barriers.
Sadly the ad is not available until tonight, still, to quote an old Aussie phrase: “No worries, mate, she’ll be right.”
Decision Marketing Adometer: A “ram it in in Ramsey Street” 6 out of 10