South Australia's summer tourism marketing campaign has fallen flat after being widely condemned as offensive and ageist.
Dubbed "Don't feel sorry for old mate", the campaign was released over the weekend and focuses on an ageing man, known as Dave, during his first visit to Adelaide, report agencies. The 30-second commercial follows Dave as he visits several South Australian landmarks, which include the wine region of the Barossa Valley and the Moseley Beach Club.
After completing the climb at Adelaide Oval, the old man starts to cry and a voiceover can heard saying: "Don't feel sorry for old mate. It's his own damn fault he didn't visit Adelaide sooner".
The advertisement has been slammed online as "grim", "deeply troubling", "sad", "horrible" and "shocking" in the days following its release. On social media the ad has been condemned, and the old mate Instagram account is struggling for support.
There are now calls to scrap the campaign.
"It doesn't hit the mark that's the reaction that we've had," Jane Massared, the Chief Executive of the Council on the Ageing in South Australia, said.
The Opposition agrees.
"There's a real opportunity for Steven Marshall. He should call on this ad being withdrawn, take it off air, let's start a fresh, lets give the work to a local SA company rather than a Victorian company who's delivered us what really is a howler," Peter Malinauskas, Leader of the Opposition said. However the South Australian Government is standing by the ad.
Steven Marshall, Premier of South Australia, said: "I still remember the "where the bloody hell are you" ad. It turned out to be a fantastically successful campaign, so I'm hoping we get the same with our 'Old Mate' campaign."
South Australian Tourism Commission marketing executive director Brent Hill also defended the advertisement, claiming it was aimed at people from interstate aged 25 to 45.
"While there are lots of positives around Adelaide, there are still some dated misconceptions and perceptions around churches and it being quiet or boring," he said in a statement. "Much of this perception though is based on dated knowledge — people haven't been for a while, or are hearing third-hand from others.
"We therefore designed a series of ads based around these insights. The first simply says one thing. Don't put off your trip to Adelaide till your later years — do it now."