An online tourism campaign has divided opinions of the regions it intends to help with the use of colourful, perhaps offensive, language to urge people to stay away from regional Victoria.
Co-created by Jess Wheeler, a Melbourne-based associate creative director with advertising agency Fenton Stephens and Guillermo Carvajal, a Melbourne-based collaborator, the ‘Do not visit Victoria’ features art deco style-advertising posters that look to be promoting regional towns, with the added bonus of a colourful ‘anti-tourism tourism’ punchline.
“People of Melbourne, we love you, but right now you are letting us all the fuck down,” Jess Wheeler wrote in a post to Facebook.
“Personally, we don’t think the concept of ‘stay at home’ is all that complicated to grasp. It’s three words. Three words that don’t actually require you to do, well, anything. In fact, it takes less effort to follow the instructions than to disobey them. But as we enter our second lockdown, amid the highest infection numbers to date, the gravity appears to have eluded some of you.
“And after hearing about the jam packed highways out of the city heading towards regional Victoria, despite very clear instructions NOT to leave your primary residence on top of pleas from the towns themselves to stay away, we’ve just about had it.”
The message continued, “There is no room for common courtesy anymore. You are going to kill somebody. So, to help get the message across, Guillermo and I decided to make some postcards on behalf of our fellow Victorians in rural areas.
“Postcards advertising just how beautiful and picturesque and inviting these places are. Inviting, because they haven’t been overrun by COVID-19 yet. And how they’d like to kindly invite you to fuck off out of there and keep it that way.”
The campaign originally included Apollo Bay, Heathcote, Lakes Entrance, Mansfield, Phillip Island and Portland, but after been inundated with requests from others towns, they decided to add four more for the most requested regions – Ballarat, Bendigo, Bright and Mornington.
“This was originally created as a vehicle to deliver a general message about restricting movement and keeping away from regional Vic, and while it’s a bit of fun, we feel that the more we do the more it will get watered down, so we unfortunately cannot do every town. (We’re also doing this with a budget of zero.),” Jess said.
While the pair have created the postcards in jest, not all the regional shires represented are happy to be there, with some claiming the joke may have been taken a step too far.
“I get the humour, but in reality it’s probably one step too far for quite a large number of people in our community,” Cr Peter Roper, Mayor of the Alpine Shire (Bright) said in an article via the ABC.
“We have people in our communities who have come through the bushfires, gone through the first round of COVID-19 and now have alpine resorts closing on them.
“That puts an enormous burden on the residents and our communities when we’ve got business accommodation providers closing because people from Melbourne are trying to circumvent the rules around lockdown to try to holiday in our area.”
The creative duo have also announced they’re selling merchandise featuring the designs online, revealing that any profit made will be donated to charity.
Check them out via the Facebook post below. What do you think, too far or just right?