Issue No. 40 - April/ /
Simple message from our man in UK
For someone who stirs pots for a living, Bill Muirhead is surprisingly diplomatic. Stepping in to his role as South Australia’s Agent-General early last year, after the passing of long-serving stalwart Maurice de Rohan, Bill was quick to make a controversial impact.
He shaped a campaign to attract British migrants to SA by driving home very simple messages of unique lifestyle and low cost.
On 4 February the campaign of full page ads in London’s Evening Standard newspaper kicked off with a banner headline ‘Screw working in Staines’ – to immediate uproar.
The following week ‘Stuff London traffic’ appeared, followed by ‘Sod London house prices’ and ‘Bugger it, I’m off to Adelaide’. That last insertion was just ahead of the Emigrate, Esher (London) Migration Expo event in London held at the beginning of March.
Bill wore a certain amount of resultant abuse – he sent the mayor of Staines a case of Coopers to make amends – but the effort has been worth it.
“There’s no point advertising unless you’re going to make an impact,” he says.
“We had an additional 10,000 hits on the website on the days the ads went in.”
The ads and the expo promote lifestyle advantages Bill is well aware of. He was born in Adelaide and he went to Lockley’s Primary School. His family moved to the UK in 1958. Although he has lived overseas for decades he gets back to SA often.
Raising profile is his big concern. ‘SA’ stands for South Africa in the UK, he points out, and Germans and Italians are more aware of South Australia’s eco-tourism attractions than people in Britain.
Iconic locations such as Adelaide Oval are well known among cricketers but where is it? South eastern Australia too often is the response in Britain. Bill finds Europeans often recognize Adelaide but don’t understand South Australia is a geographic unit.