The head of the Northern Territory’s tourism department has taken an official stance against those bootleg, official-looking “CU In The NT” singlets, but look, she’s not exactly mad at the whole deal either.
And frankly, bless her for it.
Valerie Smith, the acting executive director of the NT’s legitimate tourism body, welcomed the Advertising Standard Board’s (ASB) recent ruling that those bits of unofficial, third-party merch – from the cheekily-named company NT Official – are suggestive enough to be classified as obscene.
However, comments made to the ABC still suggest a modicum of appreciation for the suggestive slogan. After the ASB upheld a complaint the line is “denigrating”, Smith said “it’s not something we would do or condone, but at the same time it does hanker (sic) to some of that larrikinism that is still up here in the Northern Territory.”
She also gave some sly props to the operation, as “it certainly did get a lot of people talking about” the Top End and its tourism opportunities.
As far as we’re concerned, that’s some awfully wink-wink nudge-nudge stuff on par with the shirts themselves, and it’s backed up by her take on our fine nation’s international reputation:
“One of the things that we commonly find when we do research overseas is that something people appreciate around Australians is our open and warm and friendly nature.
“That can sometimes blend into that larrikinism and it can go back to the Paul Hogan and shrimp on the barbie approach.
While she did definitely emphasise that we ought to move on from the “shocking language” apparently featured in advertising materials in previous decades, she also doubled-down on her perception that Aussies shouldn’t be needlessly “monitored.” Larrikinism, indeed.
FWIW, it’s yet to be seen what the ASB will do – rather, what it can do – regarding the offending merch, but don’t be surprised if a couple of those tops are smuggled away in the NT tourism department’s headquarters.