Brand Australia: Half-truths for a hard sell

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Journal Article
Journal of Australian Studies, 2012, 36 (1), pp. 49 - 63
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In May 2010 the Australian government launched "Australia Unlimited", a fouryear Austrade campaign to sell Brand Australia. Logistically and politically, Brand Australia is a delicate proposition, since it calls for consistency and coherence, as well as consensus. Given that nations are already "messy", politically, culturally and socially, any symbolic representation designed to resolve or mask this mess would be contentious. Brand Australia thus constitutes a fragile, highly contingent but, according to government bureaus, economically necessary strategy: globalisation compels nations to flag their strengths with clarity and in competition. Brand logic entails that these strengths are folded into a single and stable message. In the case of Australia, though, certain images have contributed to perceptions of the nation that clash with those of "Australia Unlimited". The history of Australia's tourism campaigns has played a part in this, as have specific events in Australia's recent history. As an idealised national narrative, then, there is a fundamental problem with this campaign: it speaks of a cosmopolitan multiculturalism that is absent from other, more dominant representations of the nation, a disjuncture that undermines the premise and potential of effective brand management. © 2012 International Australian Studies Association.
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