Super Bowl ad kicks off major Tourism Australia campaign

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Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride starred in Tourism Australia's Super Bowl ad.
Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride starred in Tourism Australia's Super Bowl ad.

A star-studded Crocodile Dundee-themed commercial that aired during the Super Bowl marked the launch of Tourism Australia's $27 million U.S. marketing campaign, the largest amount ever spent by Australia on a single overseas tourism market. 

During the football game, viewers learned that a rumored sequel of the '80s movie "Crocodile Dundee" entitled "Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home," is in fact not a sequel, but rather an elaborate advertising campaign aimed at attracting more visitors to Australia.

The supposed sequel was presented as a buddy comedy that features Danny McBride as Brian Dundee, the long-lost son of Mick Dundee (aka "Crocodile Dundee"), played by Paul Hogan, and Chris Hemsworth as his sidekick, Wally Jr. The all-Australian supporting cast included Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie and Russell Crowe, among others.

The teasers led viewers to believe that Mick Dundee was lost in the outback, and Brian Dundee was returning to the Australian outback to find his father. The 60-second commercial began as a typical movie trailer and ultimately revealed itself to be a plug for Australia's destinations, food and wine.

It is the biggest campaign Tourism Australia has run in the U.S. since Hogan's "Come and Say G'Day" campaign in 1984.

The ad will be followed by a series of online films titled "Why Australia?" that will live on Australia.com and will follow Aussies Hemsworth, Curtis Stone, Matt Wright and Jessica Mauboy as they help McBride plan an ideal Australian getaway.

According to Tourism Australia's managing director John O'Sullivan, American visitors represent a significant tourism market for the country, having spent $3.7 billion in Australia in the past 12 months. But, he noted, "Despite rating highly in terms of aspiration and intention, we still have more work to do when it comes to converting American interest in Australia into actual visits. That's the challenge that this new campaign is seeking to address."

Lisa Ronson, Tourism Australia's chief marketing officer, said that with more than 100 million viewers tuning in to the Super Bowl on Sunday, the game offers "the largest reach of any advertising platform in the US ... [and] many viewers are the high-yielding American traveler we specifically target," she said.

Advertising agency Droga5 created the "Dundee" campaign. Tourism Australia's global media services agency, UM, handled media duties on the project. The campaign is also supported by Qantas and Wine Australia.

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