Johnny Depp + 2 Dogs = Great PR for Australian Quarantine?

This week Johnny Depp has been filling up my newsfeed on Facebook. Friends have been sending me the strangest most awkward video ever.

Several months after his wife, Amber Heard, illegally brought their dogs, Pistol, and Boo, to Australia, Johnny, and Amber were forced to make this video. The video was uploaded to Youtube by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and already the video has over 4 Million views.

Which even the Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce described as,  “Atrocious … even I could have done a little better … do it with gusto, mate.” Barnaby was responsible for threatening to euthanize the dogs last year if Pistol and Boo didn’t bugger off.
The videos have led to numerous parody videos including:




But the question is, is this good PR for Australia’s tough biosecurity laws? Barnaby said,

“I want it to be as widely viewed as we can possibly get it because the more widely viewed it is the more we have people who might be unaware of our biosecurity requirements, when they come into this nation they will say ‘This is one thing Australians are red hot about, biosecurity, don’t take it as a joke, this is one thing they are noted for.”

The whole story was intentional, according to The Guardian. Barnaby was frustrated that our quarantine laws were not getting much attention, and his advisers mentioned the case to Barnaby.“Bingo”, Joyce said.

But I think in some ways the message is getting lost amongst all the parodies and the hilarity. I found some articles that mentioned our tough rules, including Al Arabiya. But other outlets such as Newsweek merely mentioned that Heard made the video after escaping charges for breaking Australian pet quarantine laws.

It’s not unusual for Australia to take advantage of celebrities to raise awareness about our strict quarantine laws. The late Steve Irwin is probably the best example from 2002. However, I think following this story; the department should take advantage of the publicity and mount a new campaign at our airports to remind visitors, which they too should “bugger off,” if they try to bring their animals and/or plant life into Australia.

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