Tourism Australia takes inspiration from Skippy for new campaign

Tourism Australia takes inspiration from Skippy for new campaign

Tourism Australia has announced a new brand ambassador: a souvenir kangaroo named Ruby brought to life with CGI animation, as the face of a new global tourism campaign.

The next instalment of Tourism Australia’s ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ global brand platform will star Australian actress and Tourism Australia ambassador Rose Byrne, who will be the English voice of Ruby.

The campaign will also be localised in non-English markets, with Japanese actress Maryjun Takahashi to be the voice of Ruby in Japan.

In Japan, Australia’s minister for trade and tourism, Don Farrell, unveiled Ruby to the world on a major digital billboard in Tokyo, kick-starting a world tour that will take Australia’s new brand ambassador onto billboards around the globe.

“From today Ruby will hop onto billboards in Singapore, London and New York building anticipation ahead of the launch of the new campaign, which will invite international travellers to Come and Say G’day,” Farrell said.

“Ruby will resonate with international audiences as the campaign is rolled out across key international markets to remind the world why ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’.”

Tourism Australia managing director, Phillipa Harrison, said the new campaign will support the tourism industry as it rebuilds, by converting the pent-up demand for an Australian holiday and encouraging people to plan and book their adventure Down Under.

“Our aim is to keep Australia high on people’s consideration list and to get travellers to take that critical next step and book their holiday to Australia to experience everything we have to offer,” Harrison said.

“Visitor economies around the world are looking to rebuild as we emerge from the pandemic and that will make the tourism landscape more competitive than ever before, which is why we have made sure ‘Come and Say G’day’ will cut through and make Australia stand out today and in the long term.”

Farrell and Harrison at the Tourism Australia billboard activation in Tokyo

Tourism Australia chief marketing officer, Susan Coghill, said the multichannel campaign will remind travellers of Aussie iconic destinations and friendly faces.

“The use of an animated character in Ruby was a deliberate move that aims to cut through the clutter of destination marketing internationally and it is backed by research,” Coghill said.

“In Australia, we’re so lucky to have a globally recognisable and adorable icon in the kangaroo and to bring that to life through CGI animation creates a uniquely Australian Brand Ambassador in Ruby, who translates across both English and non-English speaking countries.”

However, the campaign has sparked backlash from kangaroo advocates, saying Tourism Australia is cashing in on our national icon to lure tourists Down Under, while turning a blind eye to their demise.

Legendary Australian Test Cricketer and Kangaroos Alive ambassador Jason “Dizzy” Gillespie said the Federal and New South Wales governments are using the iconic animal to drum up tourism, with billboards around the world, while at the same time, ignoring concerns about the commercial killing of kangaroos.

“I’m guessing actress Rose Byrne, who is the voice of Ruby, doesn’t realise what really goes on at night,” Dizzy said.

“Where the bloody hell are you then?” he said, echoing the words of previous ambassador Lara Bingle.

Tourism Australia’s global campaign will officially launch on Wednesday, 19 October 2022.

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