The term ‘bloody’ is no big deal when it comes to the views of the British public, according to Tourism Australia Managing Director, Scott Morrison. This comes after research commissioned by UK advertising regulator, the British Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC).
Morrison is in the UK with Australian Small Business and Tourism Minister, the Hon Fran Bailey, who will launch Tourism Australia’s new tourism campaign, called `a uniquely Australian invitation’, which uses the catch phrase `so where the bloody hell are you?’.
The BACC have advised Tourism Australia that the term `bloody’ cannot be used in the commercial for broadcast on UK TV, however has allowed the use of the phrase `so where the hell are you?’.
The research conducted for the BACC six years ago is used by the BACC as a guide to assist in their consideration of what constitutes offensive language in advertising.
The result - only 3 per cent of the British public consider the phrase `bloody’ to be very offensive, while 86 per cent believed that the phrase was `quite mild’ or `not swearing’. Furthermore 85 per cent believed that it was appropriate for the phrase to be seen after 9.00pm.*
Morrison said ‘These results demonstrate that the term `bloody’ is the least offensive of all the terms put forward by the BACC on these measures and it begs the question why the term `bloody’ was ever included in the list in the first place.’
“The research includes numerous other phrases which rightly should not be seen on anyone’s television, but based on the findings of the BACC’s own research, `bloody’ is clearly not one of them.”
The report also goes on to say that people were more likely ‘to accept or approve…if they can appreciate the intention behind it’.
Tourism Australia has argued that the term is used as part of a uniquely Australian invitation that conveys a warm greeting and that the BACC have the discretion to approve the commercial.
‘It’s not intended to cause offence and our extensive research conducted in the UK confirms that our target audience is not offended. Rather they accept and respond positively to the phrase in context,’ Mr Morrison said.
“There is no `ten commandments’ list as suggested, only a research report that is available to help guide decision making. Our take out from the research is that the commercial clearly falls within what is acceptable.”
“There are further avenues open to us to seek to get the commercial approved and we will build on the work of Tourism Minister Fran Bailey, during her visit to London this week, and continue to make our case with our agency partner M&C Saatchi in the weeks ahead.”
“In the meantime, we will respect the umpire’s decision and get on with the campaign,” Morrison said.
An alternative version of the commercial with the phrase “so where the hell are you?” will be run on British television and will air for the first time during `Desperate Housewives’ on Wednesday evening and will also run on the Discovery and National Geographic Channels. The uncut version will continue to be displayed on the web, as part of Tourism Australia’s viral campaign and will screen in cinemas.
All up Tourism Australia will spend 1.6 million on UK TV and cinema during the next three months to kick-start the campaign. Print versions will follow later in major travel publications.
Mr Morrison said ‘while we would prefer to use the `uncut’ version in all media, the campaign has certainly got off to a great start in the UK. The controversy, while not planned, is certainly grabbing attention. In such a competitive business you have to take your opportunities when they come your way.’
“At the end of the day we want more people from the UK to come and experience Australia - to do more and spend more. This campaign is about inviting them, not offending them. We will be taking every opportunity to get this message across.”