Oprah's excellent Aussie Adventure is all about cultural understanding. Such as: men are "blokes," women are "sheilas," and everyone likes to hang out in "hip" McDonald's. Wait, what? Hello, pay-for-play!
In a preview program for Oprah's upcoming Australia trip, she was told by that country's TV personality, "While you have your diners, we have McCafes. Guys come for business meetings, girls come for a catch-up over coffee. It's all just a little bit fancy."
You can thank a McDonald's corporate sponsorship for that seamless reference, in which apparently only guys have business meetings.
The entire Australia trip is, of course, a giant act of sponsorship, in which Oprah takes 300 U.S. viewers to Australia courtesy of the Australian tourism board. So far, the $3 million they're spending for the privilege has been at least partly repaid in boatloads of publicity. But that's apparently not enough to buy authenticity. And actual, local proprietors of "fancy" coffee shops are pissed.
So is The Australian, which broke news of the deal. "Tourism Australia will probably enlighten middle America about Australia as a tourist destination, but the world will see us not as we are but through the prism of the corporate dollar," the paper complained.
In the spirit of this collaboration, we suggest the following branded marketing partnerships to enlighten America about Australia:
- Taylor Swift: Indigenous Australian music.
- Iron Man 2: Australian art house cinema.
- Wal-Mart: Where Australians buy their surfboards! Mate!
- The Olive Garden: Authentic Australian cuisine
- American Apparel: It's Australia's best-kept secret!