That's Not a Budget; This Is a Budget

FOB-That's Not a Budget; This Is a BudgetThey're talking Oscar for Australia, the Baz Luhrmann film starring Nicole Kidman as an uptight city woman who takes over an Outback cattle ranch and Hugh Jackman as the roughshod cattle driver who guides her into the wilderness. If that plot sounds hackneyed, there's nothing old-hat about the deal Luhrmann landed with Tourism Australia, the national agency charged with marketing the continent to the other six.

The Fox Searchlight film is the most expensive Australian movie ever made, at an estimated $130 million (besting Crocodile Dundee by $121.2 million and Mad Max by $129.7 million). Enter Tourism Australia, which is blowing the bulk of its 2008-2009 marketing budget on two cinema and TV spots tied into the movie.

The spots were conceived by Luhrmann, but directed by Bruce Hunt. In each, Brandon Walters, the Aboriginal child actor whose character in the movie represents the purity of nature, promises a trip to Australia will deliver no less than rebirth - for your soul and your relationship. The 1-minute-and-30-second-long ads, one in English and one in Chinese, reflect the film's story line. In each, a hard-charging executive who's lost touch with loved ones finds his or her true self after a trip Down Under.

Tourism Australia hasn't revealed the terms of the deal, but in addition to creative fees for the spots, which were shot along with the film production, the tourism commercials will also provide free advertising for the movie. The tourist agency also inked a promotional partnership with Fox, taking another bite out of that $130 million. The campaign is expected to run in 22 global markets through mid-2009. Geoff Buckley, Tourism Australia's managing director, says, "We found that the film's story had a remarkable resonance for what we do marketing the country as a travel destination."
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