The new slogan is not exactly a “wish you were here.”
An unofficial tourism catchphrase that has been used to draw attention to Australia’s Northern Territory is facing a lot of backlash – and a potential ban in the region – for its use of suggestive wording.
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NT Unofficial created the cheeky expression, which out loud reads, “See you in the NT (Northern Territory),” but on paper, has been shortened to look like an offensive derogatory four-letter term for women.
(Warning: The following link contains the slogan, which may be offensive to readers.) The company began selling the swear-word adjacent slogan printed on shirts and other merchandise at stores throughout the area in 2016, and claims it never had an issue.
“Our official stockist at Mindil markets has been selling for years without any issue,” the company told the NT News in a statement. “We just hope that council doesn’t forget the real NT Unofficial has been tirelessly campaigning to promote the Territory to the world.
“There’s nothing insulting or degrading to women about a simple invitation to the greatest territory on earth.”
However, the official Darwin Council, which can enforce laws which prohibit offensive materials from being sold in stores at the marketplace, said they have fielded many complaints over the years and met this week to discuss a potential ban for the “offensive” phrase.
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“The complaints are about this merchandise that [has] been on display near the playgrounds… children are saying ‘what does this mean’ and it’s not something parents want to have to explain.” said Darwin Council official Robin Knox, the NT News reported. “In common usage this word is not a joke, it is used very negatively and as a slur against women.”
Locals have been split on the matter, with many firing back on Facebook, slamming the company’s materials.
“Feel like there is a design flaw here,” one wrote.
“Do you need to stoop this low to advertise your Territory!!! NO !!!! TAKE IT OFF FACEBOOK !” another wrote.
“But walking to the shops with his own kids, maybe they wouldn’t question it, but I think it’s pretty poor taste. I reckon the Territory should grow up a little bit,” a local man told NT News.
But there have been many staunch supporters of the bold slogan.
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“It’s one of the most creative and intelligent things I’ve ever heard,” another local, Ross, said. “Snowflakes melt in the heat.”
“As a born n bred Darwinite I [wholeheartedly] approve and embrace NTunofficial and their merchandise,” a Facebook user wrote, signing the message, “Caring understanding northern Territorian.”
Local businesses have also reportedly supported the merchandise, stating the popularity of the items have helped them stay open.
“It’s prevented us from laying off staff,” shop owner Tracey Wedel told 9News. “Prior to receiving this stock, we were struggling in a major way.”