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Notes on Adelaide

SA makes old man cry | Marshall’s land tax apology

Notes on Adelaide

A rare mea culpa from the Premier heralds the return of Notes on Adelaide, which also ponders SA Tourism’s quite odd new ad in which an Adelaide Oval roof climb brings a septuagenarian named ‘Old Mate’ to tears.

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No sympathy for Old Mate

A melancholic old man weeping as he surveys a South Australian AFL showcase from arguably Adelaide Oval’s best vantage point might well be an apt symbol of the SA clubs’ respective seasons, but it seems an odd gambit for enticing tourists to the state.

Particularly when his tears are then summarily dismissed by a blasé narrator, who informs us: “Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate – it’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

To be fair to Old Mate, the Adelaide Oval roof climb wouldn’t have been available (and nor would seeing AFL at the venue) if he’d made it over here in his sixties, but putting that aside: this is the SA Tourism Commission’s latest spring/summer campaign, which quietly launched online on the weekend.

It features the ponderous adventures of Old Mate as he mooches around the Botanic Gardens, mournfully munches on an ice-cream on Glenelg jetty and sorrowfully sips a Hills red as he casts a regretful glance at the young, carefree couple at the next table.

Is he thinking of his own now-deceased life partner who didn’t live long enough to share this SA sojourn?

Who knows?

But the campaign has certainly prompted the obligatory social media cringing after it was pointed out online by Melbourne-based designer and Adelaide expat Connor O’Brien.

Most respondents struggled to gauge the point of the campaign, with one suggesting: “Adelaide: add one more to your list of life’s regrets” and another “Adelaide: the city that makes old people cry”.

“Oh my god, it genuinely feels like he’s ticking things off the bucket list and is about to throw himself off the roof,” wrote another.

But SATC tells Notes the campaign is intended to take Adelaide off the proverbial Bucket List.

“Our market research indicates that while Adelaide as a destination is emerging and interest and awareness is on the rise, there are still many people who have put off coming to Adelaide [until] ‘one day’, or it’s ‘on the bucket list’,” says SATC’s marketing executive director Brent Hill in an emailed response.

“While there are lots of positives around Adelaide, there are still some dated misconceptions and perceptions around churches and it being quiet or boring. Much of this perception though is based on dated knowledge – people haven’t been for a while, or are hearing third-hand from others.”

Of course, the selling of SA became a contentious business last year, when the SATC advertising contract – previously held by prominent local firm kwp! – instead went to Melbourne-based TBWA, which presumably knows a thing or two about how Adelaide is perceived by outsiders.

TBWA has since set up a small Adelaide office. How small? Its landline goes to Melbourne, because apparently it’s too small to warrant one of its own.

Its campaign, which runs concurrently with a series of ads inviting people to ‘judge SA for themselves’, is “designed around Adelaide being a little more confident in who we are”, Hill says.

“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 says.

“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.”

The SATC website even features a blog by ‘Old Mate’ himself, entitled “7 Things To Do In Adelaide In Your 70’s [sic]”, in which he laments that he is writing to you – the prospective Adelaide tourist – “full of regret”.

“If you’ve ever thought about visiting Adelaide but were leaving it for a more cerebral time in your life, let me tell you, you’ve got it all wrong,” he sobs into his word-processor, as he insists the city is “more AC/DC than Agatha Christie” and you should visit it “before it’s too late”. By which we suppose he means ‘before you die’.

Good advice.

After all, people flocking to SA after they die sounds like it’d be bad for tourism.

A tax defence

We’re not sure about the tourism impact of the Marshall Government’s land tax aggregation reforms, but if high-profile critics are to be believed the changes are bad for just about everything else: property prices, confidence, investment – you name it.

The backlash has prompted plenty of SA Libs to get understandably jumpy, with InDaily last week revealing former party president Steve Murray had even taken to emailing constituents to outline his opposition to the proposal.

But if the party-room discontents hoped to discuss the issue in detail at tomorrow’s biannual Liberal ‘love-in’ at the Barossa Weintal, they’ll be disappointed.

Not only is land tax not listed on the joint-party-room meeting agenda, but Treasurer Rob Lucas says he now won’t be releasing his draft legislation at all until sometime next week.

And even then, he told InDaily today, “it’s only a draft bill that goes out to consultation”.

In the meantime, he’s happy for the discontents to voice their displeasure, saying he welcomes all feedback.

That was echoed by Premier Steven Marshall, who said today “we’ve be having very respectful discussions with people right across SA” with some “very good ideas coming in”.

But, he added, “there’s plenty of modelling that’s being done… we’ve had some excellent suggestions”.

“This is a reform – it’s an important reform,” he insisted.

“Reform doesn’t happen without some frustrations and anxieties and I apologise for that.”

But the Premier says “we’ll have our final modelling received in the coming week”, with South Australians – and his own party-room – to hear all thereafter.

Many in his party-room expect they’ll be the last to know, with more than one insisting the matter would still be raised at this week’s meeting, “whether the Premier and Treasurer want to talk about it or not”.

Notes On Adelaide is a column telling the inside stories of Adelaide people, politics, institutions and issues. If you have information that you believe should be noted in this column, send us an email:

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