Spoof website is nothing like Australia

Tue 06 Apr 

Spoof website is nothing like Australia

By Roy Weavers

We picked up from Wotnews online service that Tourism Australia (TA) is investigating legal action against an internet "brandjacker'' who is lampooning its new $150 million advertising campaign. The site has targeted Tourism Australia's new campaign, 'There's nothing like Australia'.

The unknown creator has registered a website, www.nothinglikeaustralia.net, and posted mock ads featuring Steve Irwin, Lindy Chamberlain and an image from the Cronulla riots.

It is understood the mock website was registered in the US just minutes after Tourism Australia revealed the new tagline - and the first ads lampooning the campaign appeared just two hours after the launch.

TA is understood to have launched a legal hunt for the creator of the site, to get it taken down for using the logo from the campaign that is a registered trademark of TA. Yesterday Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy admitted that the new advertising could be hijacked on social networking sites.

It is understood TA had tried to avoid such a brandjacking by buying up domain names similar to the tagline, but inexplicably failed to register the nothinglikeaustralia.net address. To add to TA's woes, Tourism New Zealand launched its own hijacking yesterday when it bought online advertising next to news stories about the new campaign.

Editors Comments: This brandjacking is deplorable of course, but where were the online marketing experts to give the right advice to TA to prevent this action happening in the first place?  

For such an invaluable campaign as this, the first actions that should be taken should be ones that safeguard the brand at all costs.  One of first of those actions is to capture all similar site names, particularly obvious ones like the name of the campaign!  

The second action is to have a media watch to fund supporting advertising wherever editorial coverage is achieved.  These are first year markeitng degree rules, not advanced rocket science.  We are dealing with a promotional campaign that is trying to get visitors to come and see us, which naturally means they will not visit any of the myriad of other holiday destinations around the world.  

What did we think, these other destinations were just going to sit back and not take any preventative action to try to offer themselves as an alternative choice?  It would appear that TA is not getting even the most marketing elementary advice they need for the successful implementation of this campaign. Spend some of the budget on real advice...please!