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Short Film? Ad? No..?

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Following the success of Underbelly, Victoria Tourism thought it might hit the iron while it’s hot and indulge on the fantasy of the Australian public, let’s lead a ‘double life’ it said. Ok, maybe not entirely, but that was my immediate connection in my search for meaning with this particular spot, and yes, I know, gangland warfare? Of all things Katie! *Sigh

Upon first viewing this ad I was torn in all directions, searching for the ‘right’ emotion to feel and cue of my next ‘action’ that is supposably the aim of any ad. But I was left stranded with the infectious A cappella tune echoing between my ears. ‘What double life?’ my brain squealed as the sexily soaked Isabel Lucas stared into the depth of my soul. Word ‘Daylesford’ fades into clarity. What the hell?

Beautifully shot, this ad had the hallmark of the indie, artsy and sultry signature of elegant Melbourne art direction. As a short film, it is most intriguing. Stalking the character as she switches between personas and engage in behaviours that might suggest she hosts a split personality or have bipolar. (Ah ha! there’s the ‘double life’ line finally clicking.)

What was mind-boggling to me was the juxtaposed scenarios. One flash she is an innocent village girl wondering through the dusty old road, golden fields and luscious woods. Then like Gretel having an acid trip, the girl turn into the child of Cruella De Vil and Angelina Jolie soaked in mysterious seduction. Off we go on the adventure where she digs her nails into a mini mountain of blueberries, hooks up with a guy and ends up at the bottom of the lake…(signifying spa)

I don’t know how effective this ad will be. All I can say is that it is an art in its own right and indeed, very Postmodern. Yes, the eternal debate. What makes an ad, an ad? And to where do we draw the line when it is no longer an ad but a mysterious short film that has alienated too many audiences with its ‘art-ness’ to maintain general appeal.

Com’on Victoria! We’ve gone through ‘Loose Yourself’ and ‘Lead a Double Life’, why can’t we just visit your state lucid? Don't get me wrong I am a fan of the two campaigns.

I have gone and Tweeted this ad as well as send it to a couple of people for feedback, here are some interesting ones:

Wiebe (Netherlands): Only Caucasian people in Victoria? In Netherlands you always see different races in promos.

Ella (Australia): I don’t know if it communicates tourism, but it makes me want to have sex in a pool.

Michelle (Australia): I found it beautiful and easy to appreciate artistically, but it was very disjointed somehow.

Tourism campaigns have always had two key components ‘unique, breathtaking scenery’ and ‘large audience appeal’… yep, that’s it. The fill-ins in between can range from using an internationally iconic character (Crocodile Dundee/ Paul Hogan) or very clever marketing strategy relating to distribution, pricing or partnered package deals. There is no doubt the recent success of ‘Best Job in the World’ has got every tourism-reliant state or country gunning to replicate the same scale of impact. Unfortunately, I think it was just a one hit wonder.

What we need to have our eyes on more than ever is how people consume communication material. What matters to them now? What makes them want to pass on your message?

The repetition of the same formula with different images slotted in, is getting stale. One thing I’ve noticed is that people like grappling on to anything that is weird, quirky and totally relative to them, in a secret way that no one knows. Stealth campaign perhaps? Poke fun at the everyday Joe who turns out to be extraordinary. Exploring how to sub-consciously affect their next holiday destination decision? You never know. Just don’t use any invasive pop-up, roll-over or ‘you have no choice but to sit through this crap while I use up your bandwidth’ ad, because I might just cross the state line and make the double life happen while I loose myself.

Information and strategy overview of this campaign can be found here: Click