Analysis: Part Two Of Tourism Australia’s Come And Say G’day With Susan Coghill

Analysis: Part Two Of Tourism Australia’s Come And Say G’day With Susan Coghill

In part two of Travel Weekly’s coverage of Tourism Australia’s first global campaign since 2016, the peak body’s CMO Susan Coghill explains the logic and the effort that’s gone into having Australia overwhelmed (in a good way) with high spending visitors. If you missed part one, fear not it is here!

In a departure from the traditional TVC as the centre piece of the campaign, this year’s vintage of Australia on tour has a nine-minute film as the centre piece of the work.

And because this year’s campaign is truly global, the story had to have universal appeal rather than just focusing on cultural similarities such as between Australia and the UK (as was the case with Matesong) or the US with Dundee the Return.

Appealing to the whole world is an ambitious undertaking and so Coghill was comforted by the proposition, territory and execution testing carried out by System1.

“John Evans, the chief growth officer for System1 in London, wrote to me last week and said: Just remember, you’ve got amazing test results that’s coming out of all of the markets where the campaign is going to run. You’re in a really good place,” Coghill confides in me.

Another big piece of research Tourism Australia did was around brand codes. What are the short-hand associations people make with Australia?

“At a time when we’ve been less top of mind because we’ve been less active … and at a time when it’s more competitive, we need to make sure that everything we do is unmistakably distinctly uniquely Australian,” said Coghill.

“When you consider brand codes in this light, Ruby the Roo becomes an obvious choice. “I mean it’s kind of hard to mistake an ad for somewhere else when you’ve got a kangaroo,” quips Coghill.

Bringing In The New

The benefit of the longer format campaign allows Ruby the Roo to have a backstory. She is not just a kangaroo, she’s a souvenir kangaroo. A box-fresh plush souvenir. She is stuck in a box in a gift shop, which happens to be on the Great Barrier Reef, longing to see the country.

Ultimately, she’s going take us on a journey around Australia. But who Ruby really is, Rose Byrne, is instrumental in the campaign’s potential for success. In the buddy trope story, Ruby’s buddy is a unicorn (voiced by Will Arnett).

Byrne is one of Australia’s best exports and thanks to a string of hits such as Netflix’s ‘Physical’ she’s extremely well recognised around the world. In fact, Byrne is scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon tomorrow where she will discuss the campaign offering not only a big TV audience (1.5 million average), but a gigantic social reach (30 million YouTube subscribers alone).

And why is Ruby a CGI character?

Research has continually found creating brand new characters delivers great longevity flexibility and cut-through. Think the Bundy Bear, The Talking M&Ms and even those annoying bloody Meerkats and its obviously true.

Ipsos’ data suggests that celebrities score pretty well on stronger branded attention. But their power pales when measured against brand characters or mascots. Ads that use brand characters rank right below branded music, at 6.1x more likely to be high performing

“They tend to be long running campaigns, because they work to get value out of them,” reasons Coghill.

Coghill also adds that Tourism Australia intends to have some fun with Ruby on TikTok, Twitter and all the social channels.

Sticking With The Old

Importantly, Tourism Australia has made the strong commitment to not move away from the ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ as the country’s overarching brand platform.

“It gives us great strength and flexibility across all parts of our business because we do a lot of B2B as well. But we needed to evolve the strategy to meet the moment, which is around, there’s nothing like Australia to make you feel welcome. The unique nature of Australians. And that’s the culture, the character, the lifestyle, bringing that to the fore,” explains Coghill.

Come and Say G’day is the campaign’s line. That line is actually stolen from the Paul Hogan campaigns in the 1980s admits Coghill.

“G’day is a really strong brand code that came up through that research. I think it’s the charming ‘hello’ that people encounter when they’re down in Australia. But I think it’s also when they meet Australians around the world. People become more of their natural national character when they’re overseas.”

Men At Work

As mentioned above, characters ranked above celebrities and only below branded music as the truly secret sauce for cut-through. Tourism Australia made not have had an original branded song commissioned, but they may as well have as Men At Work’s “I come from a land Down Under” is as close as you can get to an unofficial anthem.

Tourism Australia did commission emerging Arnhem Land artists, King Stingray, to write their own version of the Aussie iconic hit. Singing in language as well as English, this version is authentically Australian without being too nostalgic. King Stingray has actually released its version of the tune to coincide with the campaign’s launch.

The Greatest Talent

Directing the film is Michael Gracie. Gracie is an Australian director who worked for two years at animation and visual effects studio Animal Logic from 1994 to 1996 as an animator and visual effects compositor. He then literally lived out of hotel rooms for 10 years as he made commercials in LA, New York, London and Australia. He then met Hugh Jackman on a TVC shoot. Directed the Greatest Showman and the rest as they say, is history.

So the formula in a way is great Australian talent, creating these brand new characters, amazing locations or people or experiences, and then that banging track.


  • Creative – M&C Saatchi Sydney
  • Production Company, Film and TVC – FINCH
  • Animation Company – Platige
  • TVC Music Score – King Stingray / Level Two Music
  • Film Music Score – Jonathan Dreyfus and Amy Andersen, including William Barton, Frank Yamma, the Marliya Gondwana Indigenous Girls Choir and Iwiri Choir.
  • Media – UM (Global team)
  • Digital – Digitas
  • Public Relations – Poem (Global agency) / Ogilvy PR
  • Social – Apparent

Latest News

  • Cruise

CLIA reveals top global speakers for this year’s sold-out Cruise360

Cruise Lines International Association has announced six international speakers and panellists who will visit Sydney for this year’s sold-out Cruise360 on August 30. They join a record number of travel agents and cruise representatives from throughout Australasia. CLIA Managing Director in Australasia Joel Katz said Cruise360 Australasia would offer a rich line-up of international speakers […]

  • Tour Operators

Flight Centre leadership team visits Morocco for Planting for the Planet

Senior members of Flight Centre have visited Morocco to see the impact of its Planting for the Planet initiative. Flight Centre global managing director, Andrew Stark, joined by Flight Centre Travel Group founder and CEO, Graham Turner, and Reforest founders Daniel Walsh (CEO) and Tim Stainlay (COO/CFO), along with other senior leaders, travelled to the […]

  • Food & Beverage

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney popular Aperitivo returns to Grain Bar

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is relaunching its popular Aperitivo, now located in the George St venue’s award-winning Grain Bar. Originally launched into Mode Kitchen & Bar in 2023, Aperitivo is inspired by the classic Italian evening ritual where guests enjoy a cocktail, paired with traditional Italian antipasti bites. It became a much-loved offering for Sydneysiders […]

  • Hotels

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor unveils new electric tuk-tuks

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, the iconic luxury hotel in Cambodia, has introduced a new fleet of electric tuk-tuks, providing an eco-friendly transportation option for guests. ONiON Mobility, a green transport company based in Phnom Penh, manufactured the new tuk-tuks. The partnership between Raffles and ONiON underscores a shared commitment to environmental sustainability, the hotel said. […]

  • Hotels

Mandarin Oriental is set to open a new luxury resort and branded residences in Bali

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced plans to open a new luxurious hideaway resort with private residences in Bali’s southern coast on the Bukit peninsula. Set to open in 2027, the property promises to redefine luxury living on the island. From the cliffside plateau of elevated terraces, the resort offers dramatic panoramic views of […]

  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Agents

PONANT, Journey Beyond and A&K host Central Coast soiree for agents and clients

PONANT, Journey Beyond and A&K hosted back-to-back ‘Bring A Client’ events in Newcastle and the Central Coast, bringing together a total of 100 agents and clients over two exciting evenings recently. Representing PONANT was NSW & ACT state manager, Kristina Sambaher, who was joined by Journey Beyond business development manager NSW/ACT Deon Johnson, and Abercrombie […]

  • Destinations
  • Hotels

The Myconian Collection adds Myconian Sunrise Agrari Beach to its portfolio

The Myconian Collection has announced the addition of Sunrise Agrari Beach to its portfolio of properties in Mykonos, Greece. The addition of the property brings the collection to a total of 14 properties located in breathtaking sites across the island. The new addition has been redesigned and relaunched, promising an idyllic escape for travellers seeking […]

  • Hotels

OUTRIGGER Kona Resort and Spa completes US$60 million renovation

Hawai’i’s OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa has completed its US$60 million (AU$90 million) renovation as is once again ready to welcome guests to Keauhou, a name that signifies “New Era”. The revitalised 511 guest rooms/suites and meeting spaces blend the property’s heritage and reverence for voyaging with modern aesthetics. The concept of “koi au” inspired […]

  • Technology

Australian agents responded quickly to Crowdstrike crash

Local travel professionals and businesses moved quickly into action to provide support to the many Australians whose travel plans were thrown into chaos on Friday and into the weekend. The chaos was the result of the flow-on effect of the suspension of check-in services and flights domestically and globally. A blue screen with the outage […]

  • News and Airbnb named as the preferred booking platforms of digital nomads

A new YouGov Survey has found that and Airbnb are the most popular booking platforms for digital nomads. For this poll a ‘Digital Nomad’ was defined as someone who travels freely for an extended period (at least one week), while working remotely using technology and the internet. YouGov Surveys have found that almost one […]

  • Attractions
  • Food & Beverage

Singapore Airlines has been announced as the first airline partner of Taste Port Douglas

Singapore Airlines has been announced as the first airline partner of Taste Port Douglas food festival presented by Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas. The Taste Port Douglas Takeover Series now has a presentation partner in Singapore Airlines and features Michelin star chef, Michael Wilson from Singapore marking this the first time the festival has […]