Taking Over Europe

We conquered America a couple of weeks ago with Modern Family’s latest holiday episode. Now it’s time to set our eyes on somewhere even bigger . . . Europe!

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Jessica Mauboy took to the Eurovision stage a few days ago and blew away the competition – they really should let us compete. And of course this was a great way to reward all the loyal Australian Eurovision viewers as I wrote about the other week, but I wonder if this performance may act as a stunning endorsement for Australia’s tourism status?

For those of you who haven’t seen the performance yet, check it out here:

Jessica Mauboy brought a rocking tune, Sea of Flags, to the contest which was able to show herself off as an artist (on top of her acclaim from The Sapphires) and create a universal appeal for her music. It wasn’t too strange like some of the other Eurovision offerings, it celebrated the diverse culture that makes up Eurovision and also the diverse culture that makes up Australia. It was just right. So congratulations Jess on a fantastic performance!

But what may be even more important is the short Australiana routine that acted as her introduction.

Starting off with Julia Zemiro phoning the Eurovision headquarters requesting to compete in this year’s contest, she was promised entry we could all get Australia around the globe to Europe. So with a little Aussie ingenuity, CGI magic, a hoard of helicopters and some masking tape to hold onto Tasmania, she managed to complete that challenge. And this resulted in an Australian ‘takeover’ of Eurovision with a short dance number.

Many Australian media outlets have called this number rather grating and stereotypical. And, yes, it probably is when we are watching it from Australia. But Australians are not the target audience (that part comes when Jessica Mauboy steps on stage). The target audience is Europeans looking at possible holiday locations and this tourism advertising relies on these stereotypes.

When Australians see advertisements for France, they want to see the Eiffel Tower and a baguette. For Italy, they want to see pizza and the Colosseum. For America it is all about the Empire State Building and a bagel and when it comes to China we really just want to see the Great Wall of China. I’m sure that these monuments aren’t as revered by the locals as much as they are by tourists, but they are the important selling points. And the opening Australiana number was much the same.

It hit on hot surfers, beer, all of our native animals, Priscilla the Queen of the Desert, Russel Crowe, AFL, speedos and the Big Pineapple. All stereotypical Aussie exports that make us well-known around the world. And if you were a European tourist, those are all the things you would want to see when coming ‘down under’.

So while Modern Family may be inspiring the Yanks that it is time for an Aussie getaway, I would be on the look out for an increase in the number of flight bookings coming out of Europe.

(P.S. And even if it is a bit tacky, isn’t that what Eurovision is all about. We fit right in!)

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