Flat White

Keeping Australia ‘on brand’

25 February 2022

12:00 PM

25 February 2022

12:00 PM

After four years of research and almost $10 million, a new “nation brand” and tagline have been unveiled – comprising of a kangaroo bounding above the word “Australia”.’

I’m not sure why I clicked on the story last Friday in The Australian about Australia’s new ‘nation brand’, but that opening line is worth the year’s subscription fee. Australia’s Brand Advisory Council has spent four years and almost $10 million on Australia’s new ‘nation brand’. Last Friday, trade minister Dan Tehan proudly unveiled the result – apparently a kangaroo bounding above the word Australia.

Such unalloyed lack of effort is genuinely impressive. It’s not just one work-shy office monkey that has to sheepishly mumble, ‘Um…how about a kangaroo bounding above the word Australia?’ A whole team has to go along with it. In this case, a whole Brand Advisory Council! Not to mention the minister ticking it all off. Such indolence takes effort. This is idleness on an industrial scale.

To give the Brand Advisory people their due, the kangaroo is formed by three boomerangs and accompanied by an ‘Only in Australia’ tagline. 

At this point you may be asking what a ‘nation brand’ even is, and why do we need to spend $10 million on one?

According to Tehan: ‘A strong nation brand and tagline will reinforce Australia’s reputation as an internationally competitive investment destination, a great place to visit, a quality provider of education, and a trusted exporter of premium goods and services.’ 

And here was silly old me thinking all we had to do to improve our international standing was open our borders, stop arresting pregnant women for Facebook posts, and refrain from battering and pepper-spraying grannies.

In their defence, you can see why the Brand Advisory Council has – um – kept it simple. Their last effort – a golden-wattle inspired logo unveiled in July 2020 – was binned due to bearing an unfortunate resemblance to a corona virus cell. 

And you certainly couldn’t accuse the Brand Advisory Council of not practising what they preach. What better way to show the world that Australia is an easy place to do business than by pocketing a cool $10 million for ‘a kangaroo bounding above the word Australia’? 

It can’t be for easy for Tehan living in the shadow of ‘brand Australia’ greatness. Let’s not forget his boss oversaw the famous ‘where the bloody hell are ya?’ campaign while head honcho at Tourism Australia. The man might not think freedom of speech creates one job, but at least he possesses the subtle artistic genius to put Lara Bingle in a bikini. 

Maybe I should just be grateful. After all, I’d rather be complaining about our nation brand than complaining about not being able to leave my house at 8:01pm. I think we’d all prefer this ‘benign, hypnotic’ type ineptitude over the ‘ruining millions of lives’ type ineptitude going forward.

Peter Gregory is a researcher from Melbourne.

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