Oz Tourism Rapped over Ad Campaign Procedures

11 August 2008

CANBERRA: Tourism Australia, responsible for the controversial So where the bloody hell are you? advertising campaign, has come under fire from the country's federal government.

The criticism alleges a lack of transparency in TA's pitch process; also its failure to set up a sufficiently strong framework to measure campaign efficacy.

The Australian National Audit Office has probed the 2005 process by which M&C Saatchi and Carat were appointed to create and run the A$184 million ($163.8m; €108m; £85m) campaign, damned by prime minister Kevin Rudd as a "rolled gold disaster".

The ANOA report said that four internal audits and four external reviews into the awarding of creative and media contracts "did not include an assessment of whether the objectives of the contract had been achieved or the various projects undertaken within the contracts were effective".

It also highlighted that TA's board failed to abide by its own charter for managing potential conflicts of interest, but instead "revised the charter to reflect its practices".

The report recommends that Tourism Australia should revise its conflict of interest procedures and review its performance management framework.

TA has accepted those recommendations and has already made improvements to its creative and media pitch process.

Data sourced from M&M Global; additional content by WARC staff