Kylie Minogue has revived her beloved Neighbours character Charlene Robinson as part of a new $15 million tourism campaign to lure Brexit-weary British tourists to Australia.
Millions of Brits were tucking into their turkey ahead of the Queen's Christmas Day message when the three-minute Tourism Australia advertisement – featuring surf, sand and speedos – hit the screens yesterday.
They were invited to take a break from "what ails ya" and "call on your friends in Australia" in the musical video, which also starred comedian Adam Hills and included cameos from Shane Warne, Ashleigh Barty and Ian Thorpe.
Wearing her trademark overalls and baggy sweatshirts, Minogue dons an '80s perm to recreate the iconic Neighbours character Charlene Robinson.
The Aussie soap opera was incredibly popular in the UK during the 1990s and was given a prime-time spot on BBC1.
The rest of the commercial features backyard cricket, the beach, beer, the outback, sausages in bread, a cheeky touch of nudism, and the rhyming of the words "shocker" with "quokka".
It ends with Minogue in the Northern Territory telling Brits "See ya soon then, yeah?"
Minogue said she has felt like an unofficial ambassador promoting Australia in the UK since the days of Neighbours in the 1980s.
"I've been doing it anyway, I think now I've just got the badge," Minogue told News Corp. "It feels like the right fit. I think some Brits still think I live in Australia. I feel like a part of me will always live in Australia, but I think it's come at the right time. I am a very proud Australian."
The UK is the fourth largest source of tourists to Australia.Source:News360
Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said millions tune in to watch the Queen's annual Christmas speech on television.
"We also know that January in the northern hemisphere winter is a time when many Brits are thinking about an overseas holiday, providing the perfect opportunity to engage with a captive audience and remind them why they should make that next trip Australia," she said in a statement.
The UK is the fourth largest source of tourists to Australia, with more than 700,000 British visitors arriving in the past 12 months.
After making the long flight over, they stayed an average of 32 nights in Australia and spent almost $5000 here, according to Tourism Australia figures.
Roughly a quarter of them are regarded as "high-value" travellers, spending two to three times more than the average tourist.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said Britain had been going through a period of uncertainty, which had led to a decline in tourist numbers to Australia.
"It is crucial that we continue to drive growth from this market, both first-timer travellers but also repeat visitors whose familiarity means that they are more likely to want to travel further and deeper into our regions," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Ms Harrison spoke to Channel 9's Today program this morning to spruik the ad.
"Why Kylie?" she was asked.
"Because she's a national treasure. She's equally loved in Australia and the UK," Ms Harrison replied.
"She's been loved in the UK since the late 80s when she was discovered as Charlene on Neighbours, which we make a reference to in the video. She's still incredibly contemporary in the UK.
"She embodies what we're trying to say about Australia - we're warm and welcoming."
Tourism Australia will hope this campaign gets a better reception than the last one, which starred Chris Hemsworth, Paul Hogan, and Minogue (in a smaller role).
The tagline featured a play on words that left many viewers stumped.
"People think, 'I'm going to get to Australia one day'. And our job is really to work out how to make that day today," she said.
Judging by the reaction on social media, the new campaign featuring Minogue might just do the trick.