So Oprah and her “army” have landed in Australia and the media have gone mad. As the people Oprah brought with her to Australia got off the planes, they were bombarded by waiting media waving microphones in their faces and flashing cameras at them. They were instant celebrities. It doesn’t end there. Everywhere they go they are tailed by the media, all desperate to discover their itineraries which are apparently a closely guarded secret, not even they know where they are going. It is impossible to watch the news or read the papers without seeing a story about Oprah and her visit to Australia.
Australia itself seems to be divided about Oprah’s visit. On the one hand our governments are forking out millions of dollars in a seemingly inspired marketing campaign. However, there are many Australians who believe the country has been sold out to the highest bidder. Many Australians are fiercely protective of Australia and its culture and see any American invasion as threatening. They claim not to watch the talk shows or follow the gossip. I wonder if they also refuse to drink Coke, eat MacDonald’s or wear jeans. Those same Australians most probably make a dollar or two either directly or indirectly from the tourism market. One can’t have it both ways.
I actually think the publicity generated by Oprah’s visit is a good thing. One of the best marketing tools is word of mouth and there are now 300 American mouths travelling around Australia, hopefully enjoying their experiences and getting ready to tell the folks back home all about how wonderful this country is. Let us just hope that all their experiences are positive as there is a premise in marketing that someone having a negative experience will tell more people about it than if they have a positive experience.
90 of Oprah’s “army” arrived in Melbourne today. I doubt I will get to bump into any of them as I am nowhere near the city, but I trust someone will provide them with umbrellas to go with their itineraries. Melbourne and the whole of Victoria have had an awful lot of rain in the past few days. There are country towns nearly under water and people swimming and boating in the streets. The city itself has been drenched. The gutters are flooded and the lawns are soaked. I’ve had to put a towel across my back door to keep the rain from getting under it. With more rain predicted in the next few days there are sure to be a few soggy sights for the tourists to see.
I guess we won’t know the result of Oprah’s visit for many months yet. By the time the tour is over and the tourists return home it will be Christmas. I would imagine a lot of people would have to start saving again after the holiday season or pay off their credit cards before venturing into overseas travel. However, maybe a few of them will want to come back, perhaps with their friends or relatives? Maybe those watching the Australian shows will want to see this country for themselves? There aren’t an awful lot of definites in marketing, so we just have to wait and see.