South Australia has staged an Ashes coup by recruiting Barmy Army trumpeter Billy Cooper to promote our state to TV audiences in England and around the world over the remaining three Tests.
Billy the Trumpet, as he is affectionately known to England’s legion of cricket fans, will spruik South Australia as a tourism destination after the South Australian Tourism Commission approached the Barmy Army and asked if they were up for the challenge.
Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said having Billy promote South Australia is a clever and innovative marketing approach that will reach an audience the state couldn’t otherwise afford through conventional advertising.
“The UK remains South Australia’s primary international tourism market with more than 53,000 visitors coming here every year,” Mr Bignell said.
“However, it has been a market that has declined in recent years, primarily because UK travelers have reassessed their holiday plans due to the weakness of their own economy.
“Thankfully that looks to be turning around and we therefore need to ensure that Adelaide and South Australia are front and centre in their Australian travel plans and I think Billy will help us to achieve that”.
Billy, who’ll be kitted out in a South Australian-branded outfit, is frequently featured on TV coverage of the cricket that is watched by millions of cricket fans across England and the cricketing world.
He also has a high profile in the English media as a spokesman for the fans and through his own and the Barmy Army’s digital channels.
In addition, the Barmy Army organises cricket tours, provides match day tickets and merchandising and runs a very successful membership scheme.
Mr Bignell said that the Barmy Army will also be promoting Adelaide as a destination through social media and will be providing South Australian operators with free listings on their website.
David Peacock, founding partner of the Barmy Army, says Adelaide is the group’s spiritual home away from home.
“Adelaide is the perfect place to watch cricket, it is one of the most picturesque grounds in the world and there is so much to do away from the game including trips to the wineries and spending a lazy day recovering on Glenelg beach,” Mr Peacock said.
“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with South Australia and encouraging as many England fans as possible to come and support the team and see for themselves what a fantastic sporting and holiday destination Adelaide is.”
Mr Bignell recently met with Mr Peacock at a dinner at Lords where they agreed that Mr Peacock would sing Waltzing Matilda at the first tea break at the Adelaide Test if Australia won the English leg of the Ashes.
“I bet David I’d join the Barmy Army on the hill at Adelaide Oval on day one of the Adelaide Test if England won,” Mr Bignell said.
Background on Bill Cooper (Billy the Trumpet):
Eight years ago, Billy Cooper, was a successful trumpet player who just happened to like cricket. But a trip to see England play in the West Indies and a bizarre chain of circumstances meant he quickly became a vital part of the Barmy Army, largely responsible for dictating the tempo of a day's entertainment.
Billy is perhaps best known for the ill fated 06/07 Australian Ashes tour which saw him grab as much interest as the cricket itself. A media storm broke after the Australian police stopped him playing at the Brisbane Test with the story taking up the back page of The Times newspaper in the UK.
He has been working as a professional trumpeter for more than a decade after studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music during which time he was a member of the prestigious Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland.