Australia and some of its national symbols – kangaroos, outback scenery and booze – have been splashed large at Sunday’s Super Bowl, TV advertising’s annual holy grail.
Two new commercials from Tourism Australia and Yellow Tail wines were seen by an estimated 110 million fans, drawing a mixed critical response and widespread calls for an actual Crocodile Dundee reboot.
“It’s arguably the biggest advertising platform in the world,” Yellow Tail’s global marketing manager Anna Czarnocka told The New Daily about forking out more than $6.3 million for a 30-second spot.
“We’ve got stats that say that 25 per cent of viewers tune in to the Super Bowl just for the ads.”
Starring local leading man Chris Hemsworth and US comedian Danny McBride, Tourism Australia’s $38 million Crocodile Dundee-themed spot debuted just before the half-time break.
The tourism body reportedly paid $15 million for a two-year deal across multiple platforms with broadcaster NBC.
Its reveal followed a teaser period of two weeks of trailers for alleged movie Crocodile Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home.
The elaborate campaign roped in Russell Crowe, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman and Oscar nominee Margot Robbie.
Hogan, the original Mick Dundee, makes a cameo.
On Monday Russell Crowe revealed on Twitter that none of the stars doing a cameo in the ad were paid for their time.
“We did it for love, in the spirit of the original Paul Hogan ad. Mates called mates and low [sic] and behold … something fun happened,” Crowe wrote.
In point of actual fact …Nobody doing the cameos got paid, we did it for love, in the spirit of the original Paul Hogan ad. Mates called mates and low and behold … something fun happened. @Australia https://t.co/H4H1UyWQQx
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) February 5, 2018
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull retweeted the ad and other users raved about it. “Good onya Oz. I loved it,” said one, but another pleaded, “Now make the damn movie.”
Donald Trump Jr publicly predicted a remake would be the “best thing to home [sic] out of Hollywood in decades”, and the NT News started a petition demanding a new Dundee chapter.
Thick with Antipodean cultural references – a Qantas plane, herd of kangaroos, wine tasting – the ad sees Brian Dundee, aka McBride, shown the Australian sights by Hemsworth.
Shooting the ad last November in the Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park 250kms north west of Queensland’s Mount Isa, Hemsworth, McBride and a 90-strong crew were based at the Adels Grove caravan park.
The bed and breakfast package with an ensuite airconditioned room – which Hemsworth checked in to – is $320 a night and includes three outback home-cooked daily meals at the park’s bistro.
The Thor star didn’t demand any special treatment, park owner Michelle Low Mow told The New Daily: “He was like a genuine Aussie, very down to earth, very friendly. Hollywood hasn’t gotten to him.”
The heat nearly did though.
“They were here for the hottest part of the year. It was stinking hot,” Ms Low Mow said. “In the mid 40s every day. They fell into the river at the end of the day.”
Even before the Super Bowl the campaign struck gold, with the advertising tech firm Amobee reporting Tourism Australia’s digital mentions increased by 681 per cent in the second half of January.
So determined was the 16-year-old Yellow Tail label to get in on the Super Bowl action that “we had to go in through the back door,” Ms Czarnocka said.
To thwart beer behemoth Anheuser-Bush’s exclusive deal preventing other alcohol brands from buying media at a national level for the Super Bowl, Yellow Tail went to 80 local markets and bought spots that way.
“It is a much more time consuming process and it does end up being more expensive, but we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved,” Ms Czarnocka said.
Last year’s Super Bowl ad saw Yellow Tail accused of producing an “unusually sexual” kangaroo and a bikini model who was asked, “Wanna pat my roo?”
This year, Roopert – less muscular, and toting a partywhistle – surprises a man with a suburban house party when he comes home. “If you see a roo at a party, that’s a good party,” is the message.
“Some people might think it’s really clichéd aspects of Australia, but we really did want to bring forward the playful, vibrant and approachable traits of the brand,” Ms Czarnocka said.
The ad drew attention – and some fire – on social media.
“I’m pretty sure if you see a kangaroo at a party you’ve had too much to drink,” one user said.
Another praised the “adorable” kangaroo, “but nothing will get me to drink Yellow Tail wine.”
Other notable Super Bowl ads included Budweiser, M&Ms and Doritos.