South Australia have attempted to lure in potential visitors by sharing one of the most confusing and depressing television ads we’ve ever seen on television.

Look, it’s no secret that Adelaide doesn’t exactly top the list when it comes to must-see cities in Australia. After all, why would you want to visit a city whose only venue for all-night entertainment is the Pancake Kitchen?

As someone who was born and raised in Adelaide, I can definitely understand it. It’s a capital city with a small-town vibe, and there’s only so much interest the Barossa winery region can raise out of interstate visitors.

However, while I will still defend my hometown at all costs if a Victorian attempts to slander it, I have to admit that the latest campaign from the South Australian Tourism Commission is… well, a bit weird.

Check out the latest South Australian Tourism Commission ad campaign:


Shared online just a few days ago, the video focuses on an elderly gentleman known only as Old Mate. The ad shows the fella (who looks an awful lot like Ed Wynn) watching on with tears in his eyes as he sees a young couple enjoying a winery, as folks trot along the Glenelg jetty, and as he climbs the roof of the Adelaide Oval.

While your interest undoubtedly moves from curiosity to sadness, the ad closes with a rather blunt voiceover that simply states, “Don’t feel sorry for old mate. It’s his own damn fault he didn’t visit Adelaide sooner.”

Deciding to double down on the depressing clip, the official website of the South Australian Tourism Commission even features a travel blog credited to Old Mate as he urges potential visitors to head over to the south.

“I know what you’re thinking. Adelaide?” the post begins. “Isn’t that the sort of place you go in your twilight years, to while away the hours in a dated doily-clad BNB, with an Agatha Christie novel and a glass of port?

“That’s what I thought. And that’s why I’m writing this to you, full of regret. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Adelaide but were leaving it for a more cerebral time in your life, let me tell you, you’ve got it all wrong.”

Check out ‘I Think Of You’ by South Aussie band Old Mate:


Of course, this ad campaign hasn’t exactly been well-received by everyone, with the ABC even noting some viewers have labelled it as “so depressing” that it “needs the Lifeline number at the end”.

“Apparently you aren’t allowed to enjoy life passed the age of 50. Travelling retirees should be one of our biggest target markets, but not with an ad like that,” one Facebook user wrote, while a listener of ABC Radio Adelaide listener called the ad “offensive to our state and older people”.

While this ad is indeed a divisive one, there’s no doubt it’s far more popular than the misguided attempt to label the far-north town of Snowtown as “a barrel of fun. However, folks are probably wishing they’d go back to the creepy days of using Nick Cave songs to help promote the Barossa.

Still, it’s a step-up from last year’s campaign which featured 120 hours of continuous footage, causing satirical site The Adelaide Mail to suggest the next ad will be “just a 5 day live stream of weeping widow.”

Whatever the case, it’s not looking like this campaign is going to see too many jetsetters booking flights to Adelaide any time soon. On the plus side though, at least you’ll be able to get a seat at the the Pancake Kitchen without any queues.

Check out one of the finest bands from South Australia, West Thebarton: