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From Landmark to Billboard: Advertising on the Sydney Opera House – Behind the News

From Landmark to Billboard: Advertising on the Sydney Opera House – Behind the News


JACK: For years, these famous white
sails have been the blank canvas for everything – from this to this, to this, even this. Ah, wait, that never happened. Well, not yet. But now Australia’s
most iconic building has lit up a massive debate. Each year, a horserace called
The Everest Cup is held in Sydney. And in the lead up
to this year’s event, Racing New South Wales asked
the people in charge of the Sydney Opera House
to advertise the race on its sails in really powerful lights. The Opera House boss said no, but after a controversial interview
with a radio host, the New South Wales Premier
stepped in to allow it to happen. I believe that what we’re doing
is in the right interests of Sydney and New South Wales. And I say to people, “Have a look at the display
before you judge it.” Some people supported
the Premier’s position, saying it was only going to be lit up
briefly for one night, and that it’s been used
to promote Australian sport before. What I have said
as Shadow Tourism Minister is it’s reasonable that we promote
major events in Sydney. This is one of the biggest
events of the year. Why not put it on the biggest
billboard Sydney has? But others were very much
against the Opera House being used as a billboard. They said the Opera House is
a World Heritage Cultural Site, so it should be treated with respect. And, technically, it’s against
Heritage Site rules to advertise anything on it. Some people especially disliked
using these famous sails to promote a gambling event. So hundreds of thousands signed
a petition to try to stop it from happening. MAN: People have a great deal
of respect for the Opera House. It’s World Heritage
so people world-wide treasure it, not just Australians. And the idea that we’d use it
as a Parramatta Road billboard is quite wrong. The Opera House is not a billboard. It’s a thing of great beauty,
it is part of our national treasure and deserves the respect
that comes with it. (CHANTING) Despite the days of arguments, the projection went ahead and at the same time, about
1,000 people showed up to protest. And shined torches at the building,
making the ads harder to see. (CHANTING) Turn it off, turn it off!
(BOOING) In the end, Racing New South Wales says it won’t try to do it again
next year. And the New South Wales Premier
says she is disappointed that the heated debate
ended up dividing her state. But what do you think? Should advertising ever be allowed on famous landmarks
like the Opera House? Well, yes, I think it should
have advertisements on it, but maybe not for the jockey race. I don’t think that we should
put advertisements, I think it’s more of a place for art and maybe like festivals
and stuff. I think it depends what it is. Like, we wouldn’t want
like a McDonald’s advertisement on the Sydney Opera House, but, like,
for certain things it’s OK. The Sydney Opera House
is like a monument for Sydney and I don’t think
it should be used like that.

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