There were lovers, and there were haters, but the gonzo “CU in the NT” tourism campaign may have just been trumped.
- A new South Australian domestic travel ‘campaign’ was launched yesterday
- But SA tourism authorities say they have had nothing to do with it
- A trail of clues links it back to the creators of one of the more infamous branding exercises of recent times
In a snazzy press pack, what purports to be a new South Australian domestic travel campaign was launched yesterday, inviting visitors to “go down south, with your mouth”, replete with its own YouTube channel and social media.
It features a video with aerial flyovers of vineyards and coastlines, sumptuous wine pouring into glasses by open fires and a professional logo.
But there’s a catch: local tourism authorities say they have had nothing to do with it.
So who is responsible?
The ABC was unable to find any information about the listed campaign spokesperson Clarke Reid, and the contact number provided on the media release goes straight to an answering machine.
The South Australian campaign’s website lists an office address in Adelaide — however, the address appears to be a “virtual office”.
A search of snippets of information left by those who created the campaign has revealed the company’s home is in Queensland.
Its website domain information shows it is registered to ICBM Pty Ltd, located on the Gold Coast.
But what about its originators?
None other than the same two entrepreneurs who created the Northern Territory campaign.
Adam Blackburn and Blaze Tripp are registered as the directors of ICBM.
In a podcast last year, Mr Blackburn revealed he and his friend Mr Tripp had created the brand “CU in the NT”.
But he said the brand’s intention was not to offend.
“We’re just a couple of blokes that are knocking up some ideas,” Mr Blackburn said at the time.
“It’s an invitation to the greatest territory in the world mate, that’s what it is.”
Mr Blackburn and Mr Blaze own websites for several tongue-in-cheek campaigns that sell merchandise online.
The ABC has attempted to contact them for comment.
SA Tourism says ‘it’s not us’
The media release for the Taste Down South campaign claimed it was leveraging “unused international marketing funding saved by not promoting South Australia abroad”.
“While we can’t travel abroad, South Australia is a mesh of exciting, multicultural cuisine with industry personnel from all over the world calling it home,” it said.
“Our diverse pocket of Australia is home to world-class chefs, industry-leading winemakers, and producers of the most sought after organic delights.”
It said the campaign would be “multi-pronged” and would run over the coming six months.
But despite those claims, a spokesperson for the South Australian Tourism Commission confirmed the state government had nothing to do with the campaign.
The ABC also contacted the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, who also said they had not contributed to the campaign.
NT campaign ‘banned’ from markets
In reaction to the campaign up north, Darwin Council used its bylaws to ban “CU in the NT” products from tropical markets held on public lands at Mindil Beach and Nightcliff, citing multiple complaints, including to police.
Northern Territory tourism authorities likewise welcomed an advertising standards ruling that the slogan was “obscene and offensive”.
The ruling by the standards board said the campaign was clearly “designed to highlight letters to form a strong reference to the word ‘c***’.”
“The board noted community standards research into language had shown that the community considered the ‘C-word’ to be obscene and not appropriate in advertising in any form.”