Americans not amused either

The religious contingent don't understand "bloody" but think it sounds nasty. ("Bloody" is usually said to be an old Catholic expression: Short for "By our Lady")

A key conservative American lobby group is set to unleash a campaign of protest against Australian tourism's "where the bloody hell are you?" TV advertisement. The controversial commercial made its US debut tonight in front of 20 million American TV viewers and one influential group was not amused. The American Family Association (AFA), which has more than two million members and leads campaigns against abortion and gay rights, was upset with the bikini-clad model Lara Bingle's use of "bloody" and "hell" in the ad's tagline.

AFA members are expected to bombard Tourism Australia with thousands of emails and phone calls in coming weeks to vent their feelings. Members are also expected to boycott Australia as a holiday destination. "I just feel pretty sure the typical American family who is watching TV with their children and they're exposed to this ad are going to be upset," AFA director of special projects, Randy Sharp, said. "I don't want my children to hear that phrase. "It's a shocking phrase because we're not familiar with it. "I guess they use it all the time in Australia, but it's a foreign language here so I think it'll have a negative impact rather than positive."

British TV authorities dropped a ban on the use of the word "bloody" after pressure from Australia, but now Canadian authorities are unhappy with the way the ad portrays the drinking of unbranded beer.

Tourism Australia launched the ad in the US with a 30-second spot during the hit TV series Lost, which draws around 20 million American viewers each week. The ad also aired on some of America's most-watched cable TV channels, including Rupert Murdoch's FOX News, the popular A&E channel, TNT, TBS, Fine Living and the home improvement network, HGTV.

The ad has not upset America's broadcast regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but all it takes is for one viewer complaint for the FCC to launch an investigation. FCC spokesperson Rebecca Fisher said she was unaware of any complaints. Tourism Australia acting managing director Andrew McEvoy said US TV networks had no problem clearing the ad.

The Mississippi-based AFA's campaigns have had enormous lobbying success in the US. Last year the group called on its members to file formal complaints against US TV network CBS for a "teenage orgy scene" depicted in Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia's hit TV series, Without A Trace. The FCC last week fined more than 100 CBS affiliate stations $US3.6 million ($5 million) for airing the orgy scene. The AFA website congratulates its members on the campaign with a "You did it!" headline and a link to send the FCC a thank-you message.

The AFA is also calling on its members to lobby Pizza Hut to ban a "sexually suggestive" ad featuring pop star Jessica Simpson, in which she feeds food into a teenager's mouth, causing the boy to faint. Mr Sharp said he enjoyed the Tourism Australia ad until the end when Bingle asks "where the bloody hell are you?" "When you think 'bloody' in America you think the red liquid that flows from human bodies which is usually a sign of some kind of violence," Mr Sharp said.

Tourism Australia contact details will be made available to AFA members. "They will hear from a lot of our members who are going to be insulted," Mr Sharp said. "Australians are spending all of these millions of dollars inviting us, and if we go over there are we going to be exposing our kids to foul language and images of bloody? "We don't want our kids to hear the term 'bloody'. "We certainly don't want our kids to hear profanity."



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