Kylie sells Australia to the Brits
Kylie Minogue will sell Australia to Brits as the face of a new tourism campaign.
Minogue has been signed by Tourism Australia to front a new campaign that rolled out on British TV on Christmas Day.
A three minute ad featuring a new Minogue tune, Matesong, written by Eddie Perfect, aired just before the Queen's traditional Christmas Day speech on all major UK TV networks.
It ends with Minogue in the Northern Territory telling Brits "See ya soon then, yeah?"
The ad also features Adam Hills, Shane Warne, Ash Barty and Ian Thorpe and was shot in locations including the Northern Territory, Byron Bay, Cronulla, Rottnest Island, the Whitsundays, Taronga Zoo, the Whitsundays and Sandringham Beach in Victoria.
The campaign, costing $15 million, taps into the unease around British politics, which has hit the local tourism market. It sells Australia as a familiar place where Brits will feel welcome.
Minogue said she has felt like an unofficial ambassador promoting Australia in the UK since the days of Neighbours in the `80s.
"I've been doing it anyway, I think now I've just got the badge," Minogue told News Corp. "It feels like the right fit. I think some Brits still think I live in Australia. I feel like a part of me will always live in Australia, but I think it's come at the right time. I am a very proud Australian."
The singer made a stealth whirlwind trip to Australia in October to shoot the ad in eight days.
In the ad Minogue is under a car wearing overalls a nod to her Neighbours character, mechanic Charlene.
"I was ready to chicken out," Minogue said of the nod to Ramsay Street. "But I didn't want to be half-arsed about it. In for a penny, in for a pound. I nearly lost my mind. It felt really bizarre. I had the scrunchie in my hair and everything, oh my God. I think that'll be the last time I dress as Charlene. It'd be strange to do it again in the future. Although maybe for a comedy sketch or something."
When Minogue put the picture on her social media last week people thought she was returning to Neighbours. Jason Donovan has said he would only make a cameo on the show (which turns 35 next year) if his former flame and Guy Pearce also agreed.
"Hah, I don't know about that," Minogue said of going back to Ramsay Street.
"I can tell you that I kept the overalls from the Tourism Australia shoot. They were so comfy! And since the Arts Centre (in Melbourne) still has my Charlene overalls...."
The shoot included Minogue's first trip to Uluru - just days before it was closed to visitors wanting to walk on it.
"It was certainly an interesting time to be there," Minogue said. "My visit to Uluru was brief but powerful. The excitement upon arrival, flying in and the Rock coming into view, playing with your sense of scale, it is already 'other'. Then visiting the Rock, the colours changing with the light, taking shelter in its shade, gazing up in wonder or just feeling the energy of this part of the land. I also met two of the Uluru elders, Reggie and Cassidy which was very special. But it was 40 degrees, I was on the verge of heatstroke, so I'd say to tourists, make sure you slip slop slap."
Minogue said the whirlwind trip around tourist spots made a real impression on her.
"I definitely want to visit Uluru again, to spend a few days in its incredibly powerful and wondrous energy. I never knew Rottnest Island had such clear water and beautiful beaches. The island also has some of the cutest accommodation. Some of them are like stepping back in time, I loved them!"
The campaign, which will be available to watch online in Australia, features Minogue recreating her iconic Slow video at Wylie's Baths in Coogee and pulling a beer in the Northern Hotel in Byron Bay.
"People say 'Did you pull that pint?" Yes I did. I was really proud. I've never poured a pint in my life. I've poured a Guinness, with the guy watching me and not being filmed or having to do it in a certain amount of time and get everything right. I just kept thinking 'I've got to be able to do this, it can't be that difficult' so I was really proud of myself'. I've asked to get the full video to prove that I did pour that beer!'
Minogue also managed to get a selfie with a Quokka at Rottnest Island - her working title for Matesong was Off Your Quokka. "That wasn't easy. You see these cool selfies with quokkas, they're hard. It was feeding time, they were busy, they were more interested in food. But I was determined, I had to get one."
Perfect wrote Matesong with Minogue in mind, musically channelling Peter Allen's I Still Call Australia Home. It is the first time he's been involved with an ad.
"When I was in Offspring there were a lot of offers for a lot of money and it hurt a lot to say no to them, but I had a philosophy that I didn't necessarily want to sell things to people," Perfect said.
"But I'll sell our country because I believe in it. Well made ads become part of the cultural framework. And when someone gives you a delicious brief like Kylie Minogue is going to sing it on Christmas Day on UK TV right before the Queen's Speech, and it's going to be a funny, slightly irreverent song about welcoming people from the United Kingdom to come visit Australia to take a break from their Brexit blues it was like catnip, I couldn't say no to that."
Perfect included lyrics like "this year's been tough and confusing but progress is moving at a glacial pace, but all of Australia loves you and we'll never judge you, you just need some space. When you need an end to what ails ya, call on your friends in Australia, a pal to rely on, a shoulder to cry on in Australia. We can turn off the news, you can kick off your shoes, we'll play backyard cricket, get ready to lose..."
The songwriter penned some of the lyrics with Minogue's personality in mind.
"She lives in the UK, she has a very dual sense of identity. We wanted the comedy to step up to the line a little bit, to have an Australian spirit, a bit tongue in cheek, to be a bit naughty and irreverent and you can just get away with a bit more when it's Kylie Minogue. She's so warm and delightful and that's how she comes across in the ad."
Minogue said she enjoyed the lyrics - including rhyming 'Don't bite your nails to the cuticles' with 'hang with impressive marsupials'.
"Hopefully the Brits fall in love with it and appreciate the humour we've tried to get just at the right point. I feel very passionate about this message."
Britain is a key target for Tourism Australia - British tourists traditionally stay longer and spend more than other international guests - on average spending 32 nights and close to $5000 per trip. Last year 718,000 Brits spent $3.4 billion in Australia.
The campaign features Chris Hemsworth targeting the American market.