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How Is Australian Nationhood Constructed In The Australian Advertisements?

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In your chosen advertisement, how is Australian nationhood constructed?

Delta Advertisement

These advertisements are not the first time that Australian celebrities have been used to portray a national identity to the world. Paul Hogan invited Americans to come down under two decades ago and this saw the number of tourists rise from under a million to over five million visitors a year. At the Sydney 2000 Olympic games, "Celebrities became focal points through which expressions of national identity could be produced and negotiated..."(Craig 2004, p. 189). However, they do try to paint Australia in a different light to change and broaden the perception that the world has of Australia. "Australian Tourist commission [sic] Ken Boundy said the new approach represents Australia as a country rather than merely a holiday destination."

"The new signature line, Australia. A different light works for us in a number of ways. It represents both the physical aspect of the incredible light and colours in this country as well as presenting to the consumer the opportunity to see both Australia and themselves in a different light."

Delta Goodrem represents some of the Australian ideals of the "battler" who will overcome and has become an International icon through her music. When she looks up at the beginning of the advert, we look into her piercing blue eyes and these portray an image of innocence, sincerity and beauty. She looks like she is thinking at first before the song starts. Thinking about the country and what Australia is to her. At home, she is the darling of the nation and perhaps this notion was reinforced when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and had to undergo chemotherapy. Her illness brought the nation together and everyone rallied behind the songstress and watched her make a full recovery and go on to sell millions of records worldwide. Her wholesome image has universal appeal to both young and old alike and she already has a global fan base, which the Tourism Commission hopes to tap into. One assumes that if loyal fans of Goodrem see her endorsing a product, then they will want to be affiliated with that product too - as seen by the numerous Ad campaigns she has done for Pepsi and other companies. This holds true for all of the advertisements like Richie Benaud, who on the Cricket Info is said to be

"... perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War." (Gideon Haigh, [nd])

The advert's theme song, "I can see a rainbow" is a well-known nursery rhyme that is as universal as the rainbow itself, in that it is known the world over from U.S.A. to Zimbabwe. This helps people to identify with the ad immediately, but it also suggests that Australia is a diverse land made up of many colors and facets. The different colors could allude to the multiculturalism of the country with it's varied ethnicities all living together and combining to form one beautiful "rainbow nation", a phrase coined by Nelson Mandela to describe South Africa's diverse cultures, customs, traditions, histories, and languages, after the fall of Apartheid in 1994.

This notion of multiculturalism is apparent when we see the Aboriginal children in traditional attire. It is a celebration of Aboriginality and to the viewer would seem that celebrating aboriginal culture is an art of Australian life - which is not the case. Very rarely will you see an Aboriginal person in traditional garb unless you go searching for them. It was less than a hundred years ago that aboriginals were rounded up and massacred at Coniston in the Northern Territory in 1928.

Although it prides itself on being a richly diverse nation, Australia has had a checkered past when it comes to race relations and in a way, it is still trying to shed the bad image it had up until 1973 "...when the last vestiges of the White Australia policy were abolished by a new labor government." The slogan Australia, A different light serves to reinforce the new ideals and further separate and affirm the fact that Australia has changed since then.

To this day, Aboriginals are still separated from much of the Australian community but this is not apparent in the ad, unless you consider the fact that you see them in traditional attire whereas all other people in the ads are in 'normal' clothes. To this day, you will be hard pressed to find many aboriginals walking around, even in Sydney. I have actively looked out, counted the number I see, and I have seen only seen ONE aboriginal in the last two weeks. Both in Sydney and Melbourne!

The idea of a rainbow nation could also refer to the diversity of the land and animals in Australia as seen by the vivid colours in the images shown. The first image we see is that of the Uluru, not the first thing people think about when they picture Australia but immediately after it, we see the Opera house and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia's most famous landmarks. I think the reason is that they were trying to emphasise the point that Australia is primarily, a natural and untouched land. In 1995,

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