Ausfailure ‘dumb blonde’ of the world:Official

Ausfailure Dumb Blond

Aus Prime Minister Interview On Letterman

Australia is viewed as the “dumb blonde” of the world, attractive but shallow and unintelligent, says a visiting British branding expert.

Simon Anholt, who has advised more than 40 countries on national identity and reputation, said Australia’s one-dimensional image meant that events such as attacks on Indian students could do greater damage than in countries with which people were more familiar. “A well-rounded national reputation is an insurance policy against that kind of thing,” he said.

Mr Anholt addressed a conference on international education conference in Sydney organised by IDP Education, the international student recruitment company half-owned by 38 Australian universities.

Australia’s international education industry, which is worth more than A$18 billion annually, is facing a large drop in enrolments as a result of a number of factors, including the strong dollar, changes to migration rules and the fallout from several attacks on Indian students.

Mr Anholt said the results of an annual national reputation survey he oversees with public affairs company GfK Roper showed Australia’s reputation in India had been badly tarnished.

Overall, the survey of 39,000 people in 26 countries ranked Australia the ninth most admired country. But Mr Anholt said the success of tourism promotion campaigns had produced an “unbalanced” view of the country.

“What you have is an image of a country that is considered to be very decorative, but not very useful,” he said.

Mr Anholt said Australia relied too much on “logos and slogans” in its efforts to change people’s minds about the country. “Rather than waste time fiddling around with promotional campaigns, what Australia needs to do is to invest in the sectors which demonstrate its seriousness and its capability and education is one of them.”

Another such area was culture. Mr Anholt said Australia was unusual among developed nations in not having an organisation devoted to the promotion of culture, such as Germany’s Goethe Institute or France’s Alliance Francaise.

Mr Anholt said the US did not have such an organisation, but arguably did not need one because of the global reach of its entertainment industry. “But Australia has Les Patterson, and I don’t think that’s enough.”

Mr Anholt also questioned the worth of Tourism Australia’s decision to bring out US talk show host Oprah Winfrey and her audience for a series of programs in December.

Comments are closed.