Qantas has announced that they are relaunching their “I Still Call Australia Home” campaign.
The revised campaign features popular Australians like singers Kylie Minogue and Troye Sivan, tennis champion Ash Barty and actor Hugh Jackman.’
The original campaign was conceived in 1987 and was inspired by Peter Allen’s patriotic song, I Still Call Australia Home, which was recorded in 1979 and released in June 1980. The song peaked at number 72 on the Australian singles chart in June 1980 but peaked at number 60 in Setpember 2015 after the release of the mini-series Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door.
Since Qantas first created the I Still Call Australia Home campaign it has undergone several changes.
The first campaign, which was launched in 1987 ran for five years and featured vocals by ad executive and jingle writer, Allan Johnstone who was working with business partner Alan Morris at advertising agency Mojo. The campaign featured several popular destinations from around the world including Disneyland in California and the Acropolis in Athens.
The campaign was successful and was refreshed in 1994. The three minute ad featured Aboriginal group Yothu Yindi and featured jazz musician James Morrison singing on top of one of Victoria’s Twelve Apostles, singer Kate Cerebrano serenading the glistening New York skyline and country music star, James Blundell layered on images of a tree-framed Eiffel Tower.
The campaign was revamped again in 1997 when youth choirs were used for the first time. The National Boys Choir of Australia and the Australian Girls Choir were filmed singing from incredible locations around the world including on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and the Great Wall of China. This version of the campaign made its debut at the opening ceremony of the 1998 Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and at a Super Bowl screening in 1999. It reached around 31.7 million viewers worldwide.
Network Ten aired I Still Call Australia Home, a documentary that gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how the ad was originally made. It focused on two members of the choirs and followed the performers as they travelled around the world, with performances in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Los Angeles and Tokyo. The Qantas Choir was the nominated for an Aria Award after they followed up with a Christmas album, Australia’s Christmas Spirit.
With the Olympic Games being held in Sydney in 2000, the campaign was again revised and was bigger and bolder than ever taking months to film. The choir travelled to a Massai village in Tanzania, the Taj Mahal in India and Stonehenge in England. The campaign was aired during both the Australian and United States broadcasts of the Sydney Olympic Games.
The 2004 iteration of the campaign shifted its focus to Australia. Jabiru in the Northern Territory and Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain were featured and 500 children from local schools formed the shape of a kangaroo on the white sands of Queensland’s Whitehaven Beach. International locations including the Temple of Poseidon in Greece, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and the Ninnaji Temple in Kyoto were featured.
In 2009 the lyrics of the opening verse were changed and sung by a First Nations member of the Qantas Choir in Kala Laga Ya, one of the Torres Strait Islands languages.
Campaign leads to a marriage
Interestingly, the 2000 campaign led to marriage. Paul and Ell Van Der Tooren met as ten and nine-year-old children when they were performing as part of the National Boys Choir and the Australian Girls Choir in Uluru in the 2000 campaign.
During the campaign they stood next to eachother and it turned out that they lived a couple of suburbs away from eahcother. They reconnected a few years later and started dating when they were 18 and 19.
In 2016, Paul wanted to propose to Ell in Uluru so he contacted Qantas and they helped create a ruse by pretending they were going to film a documentary. They were married in 2017 and in 2019 they had their first son, Jones.