MICHAEL STEDMAN, SUE NEALES, Mercury

THE $500,000 mystery television ad scrapped by the State Government was intended to launch a $14 million campaign. The campaign’s aim was to change the national view of Tasmania as a redneck state.

And the Mercury was told yesterday the secret commercial was the brainchild of former premier Paul Lennon.

The advertisement was commissioned and overseen by Mr Lennon’s political office, without the involvement of any departmental tourism, marketing or brand experts.

But the expensive commercial was ditched early last year after a furious row about its suitability within Tasmanian tourism, government and business circles.

It was also discovered at the last minute that a song that featured on the ad — Fatboy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now — was already being aired in NSW to promote the Sydney autumn racing carnival.

Yesterday the Government was again accused of a cover-up over the aborted “feelgood” advertising campaign as it failed to release details to Parliament for the tenth day in a row. But Acting Premier Lara Giddings promised all information would be released as soon as it had been collected.

“We have nothing to hide,” Ms Giddings said.

… The Mercury was told yesterday the ad campaign was dreamt up by Mr Lennon and his department chief Evan Rolley in September 2007.

The former premier had decided a $14 million campaign was needed to help rebrand Tasmania as a creative, innovative and forward-thinking state after damaging publicity in Melbourne and Sydney caused by the pulp mill proposal.

Mr Lennon’s political adviser on marketing and communications matters, Jane Lonergan, took control of the $500,000 project.

It was hoped the commercial would counter the impression held by many mainlanders of Tasmania as a state obsessed with logging its forests, stuck in the 1960s and populated only by “hillbillies, bogans and greenies”. Read more here