By Mike Canavan
The iconic Australian kangaroo has been dumped as our national logo in favour for an abstract depiction of the yellow wattle.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham accepted the change after Australia’s Nation Brand Advisory Council made the decision to rebrand the logo.
The Australia’s Nation Brand Advisory Council is responsible for this fiasco. It is an industry-led body established in 2018 and chaired by West Australian mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest.
Its members also include Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Edwina McCann.
Birmingham was the same genius that unleashed on an unsuspecting world the concept of ‘Philausophy’ to promote Australian tourism.
At the time the tourism minister, Simon Birmingham, said: “Philausophy is about giving travellers from around the world a taste of what makes Australia such an enjoyable destination by shining a spotlight on the people, lifestyle and personality that make Australian experiences so memorable.”
These are strings of words that are somehow emptier and more meaningless than the invented word “philausophy”. It takes a special kind of skill to take something so bad, and make it worse. In a back to the future act, he is at it again. Mr Birmingham said in a statement that the new logo will “bring some consistency” for Australian businesses presenting themselves on the international stage.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham’s full statement on the new Wattle Design:
“The Morrison Government remains 100 per cent committed to the Australian Made Kangaroo and is providing $5 million to increase its recognition.
“Kangaroos will continue to be a key part of Australia’s marketing and logos from our Air Force to our tourism campaigns, our national airline and our sporting teams.
“The Nation Brand developed by Australian business leaders will simply seek to bring some consistency in how different government agencies, industry bodies, states and territories present themselves at international trade shows and similar events.”
This genius has a unique gift for waffling.
In a radio interview given to 2GB afternoon presenter Deborah Knight Birmingham admitted that the rebranding a campaign that was signed off on had a budget of AU$10 million. But he happily reported “ as I understand it not all the money was spent”. He must be joking!
He argue the kangaroo is internationally recognised but doesn’t represent Australia’s lesser-known assets like technology and education.
The new logo:
In a statement given in response to reports the new design would be replacing the existing Australian Made logo, Mr Birmingham said the new logo would not totally replace the green and gold kangaroo, with $5 million in funding in fact being provided to “increase [the kangaroo’s] recognition”.
“The Nation Brand developed by Australian business leaders will simply seek to bring some consistency in how different government agencies, industry bodies, states and territories present themselves at international trade shows and similar events,” he said.
In todays Daily Telegraph former Advertising man John Singleton, whose opinion I rarely agree with, was less than kind in his view of the work of either the Turnbull Government who ultimately commissioned the work and The Australia’s Nation Brand Advisory Council who reviewed it. He said:
“Just when I thought the Government couldn’t waste any more money as they fight the good fight against COVID-19.
Australia’s National Brand Advertising Council, reporting to a totally unqualified Aussie Senator called Simon Birmingham, who was also tossed the Minister for Trade Giveaways. Trade. Tariffs. Getting screwed by China. Screwed by USA. Robbed of the South Pacific by China. Out manoeuvred by almost every country bar Tim Tam mad Britain.
Solution: The prementioned Council. A new logo! Seriously only $30 million. Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister at the time. He had previously worked his way through law while working at my advertising agency.
Poor lonely bastard lacked imagination on strategic thinking. While Kerry Packer wanted in-house council, I flaunted Malcolm. He looked the part, was a lawyer and was appointed at the time of Kerry’s greatest need, during the infamous Goanna period for which Costigan should never be forgiven.
Malcolm did a marvellous job and used his great goodwill with Kerry to parlay into in-house legal practice with Bruce McWilliam. Cleaning contracts with the contacts made with well-known sweeper, Neville Wran. He was a user. And probably the loneliest man I have ever met until he met his wife Lucy and had the perfect family with his values passed to his wife and children.
Lucy’s dad was Australia’s Attorney-General Tim Hughes and his destiny was always Prime Minister.
How does a committee create and design to symbolise Australia on everything from heavy equipment to breakfast cereal? Impossible.
It’s a one-man, one-woman job. Others can wreak, fewer can write. The Kangaroo was quietly drowned. Too recognisable. Wasn’t that the intention? Instead an Aboriginal dot painting (?) representing wheat?”
Creative agency Clemenger BBDO Sydney won the contract to develop the nation’s brand in January 2019. They did not immediately respond to a requests for comment.
One can only speculate any decent advertising agency would be running 1000 miles in the opposite direction to this debacle.