Consuming 12 million acres and killing at least 27 people, plus as many as half-a-billion animals, the wildfires across Australia have prompted the government's tourism agency to pull a UK multimedia campaign featuring a song sung by Kylie Minogue. The work also includes cricketer Shane Warne, Olympian Ian Thorpe and comedian Adam Hills.
The digital component has been canned, according to media reports, with a decision yet to be made on other channels, including TV, cinema and out-of-home. The campaign featured Minogue singing "Matesong", written by Eddie Perfect in a three-minute video shot in picturesque locations.
"Matesong", created by M&C Saatchi, debuted on ITV on Christmas day following Coronation Street and immediately before the Queen’s speech. This was the first work in Tourism Australia’s recently launched brand platform "Philausophy", which aims to highlight not just the destination but also its people, personality and way of life.
Following the initial airing, work was to run across TV, digital, social media, cinema and out-of-home, with Singapore Airlines, the Telegraph and TripAdvisor as partners. However, Tourism Australia has decided it was prudent to pull a campaign that was conceived in much happier times.
Tourism Australia likely found itself in a tight spot, since many tourist areas were unaffected by the fires. However, running such a positive campaign would make the body appear considerably tone-deaf.
"Like all Australians, our sympathies go out to the families and communities who are impacted by the fires, and our gratitude grows stronger by the day for the front-line services facing the fires head on," Tourism Australia said in statement on the fires. "It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities and the tourism sector who may have been impacted."