The South Australian Tourism Commission is under fire for airing what the public has described as “the most depressing” travel advertisement in the history of all travel advertising. Err, is it that bad?

Called “Don’t feel sorry for old mate”, the ad follows an elderly man experiencing Adelaide’s top attractions before it’s too late. Oh, but did we mention he’s heartbreakingly lovely AND crying during parts of it?!

Read on for more on why this advert was brought into existence and who thought the 30-second emotional rollercoaster would be a good idea:


What is the advert?

The clip features an elderly gentleman enjoying a glass of wine at a vineyard, wandering along a bustling jetty and climbing Adelaide Oval’s roof.

But his smiles of enjoyment turn to tears of regret, as he realises that he is not a young whippersnapper anymore and may have missed out on the good times. Old mate seems to have the opposite of #noregrets.

While the video will pull at your heartstrings (it could easily have been a retirement home ad), the rather unempathetic voiceover at the end jokily states that “it’s his own damn fault” for not visiting the state sooner.

The SATC claim that the ad was in response to market research showing they’d received about the state, with many people still putting it off until their later years.

“Don’t feel sorry for old mate” is getting slammed on social media. Some viewers have described the ad as ‘appalling’, ‘sad’ and even ‘shocking’ to watch.

“Unfortunately for this piece of communication, pictures speak louder than words, as we process images far easier than we do what’s heard. This communication creates a paired association between South Australia and being older, sad and lonely. This obviously isn’t great. It may have the opposite effect to what they were intending.”

Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist and founder of creative agency Thinkerbell


Errrrm, what’s the message again?

Karry On - SA Tourism

Okay, so we understand the punchline at the end is supposed to be a ‘joke’ – and the message of the ad is that you shouldn’t wait until you’re older to visit Adelaide, but this is a truly bazaar way of getting that point across.

It must be challenging to create any kind of tourism campaign, especially one that’s funny and a little bit ‘out there’, but this one lacks some serious compassion.

How do you feel about the ‘unique’ South Australian Tourism Commission campaign?

Click here to watch the ad.