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Older people no fans of SA Tourism ad

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A widely-derided new SA Tourism ad plays to outdated stereotypes about older people that will more likely put them off coming here than convince them to visit, the Council on the Ageing says.

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A new SA Tourism advertising campaign featuring “Old Mate” – an older gentleman, tearful about leaving his visit to South Australia until late in life – was panned on social media yesterday.

South Australia’s peak body for the interests and rights of older people, the Council on the Ageing (COTA), told InDaily this morning that it was equally unimpressed.

The ad shows the elderly man melancholically visiting the state’s prime tourist spots, and ends with him weeping during an Adelaide Oval roof climb as a narrator declares: “Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate – it’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

COTA SA chief executive Jane Mussared said the message was more likely to put older people off visiting South Australia than attract them here.

“The reaction we’re hearing is that it just isn’t a good ad,” she said.

“It is far from inspiring, it is gloomy and portrays hopelessness among older people … it uses the ‘pathetic old’ stereotype which, if it was ever true, is no longer.

“The message should be the reverse of this ad – it is never too late, come on down.”

She urged the SATC to “get to know the older market and pitch what will appeal to them”.

“This isn’t going to win tourists of any age, let alone older travellers who are such a significant and growing segment,” said Mussared.

“The so-called ‘silver economy’ in the Asia Pacific region was estimated to be worth $US3 trillion in 2017, up 58 percent from 2012.

“It is also estimated there will be 1.2 billion Baby Boomers living in the Asia Pacific region by 2020.

“Many of these older travellers also have a stronger resource base, and they seek out more cultural, entertainment and retail spending opportunities than the generation before them.”

However, SATC’s marketing executive director Brent Hill told InDaily yesterday that the agency’s market research suggested that “there are still many people who have put off coming to Adelaide [until] ‘one day’, or it’s ‘on the bucket list’”.

“We know we offer an amazing tourism experience, and we know we have to push that message and challenge, to get people to take notice,” he said.

“It’s a competitive landscape out there, and we need to cut through. Our message – come down, see it for yourself, and don’t put it off.”

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