SA tourism chief doesn’t know how much 'Old Mate' ad cost

The new Tourism Department boss has told a parliamentary committee she does not know how much the widely-panned 'Old Mate' tourism advertisement campaign cost taxpayers and the "jury is out" on its success.

Leonie Muldoon, who became the Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment's chief executive three weeks ago, was quizzed during Budget and Finance Committee hearing about the SA Tourism Commission's latest attempt to attract interstate visitors.

Ms Muldoon was asked if she thought the campaign sent the right message to viewers.

"I think the jury is out in that regard," she said.

"It certainly the case that the advertisement has created a lot of publicity, many of which was unpaid for.

"As to whether it delivers the outcomes against the targeted demographic, I think that is something we will only know in time."

"We are not managing the doing - we are managing the results," she said.

The Commission's television ad, known as Old Mate, features a man in his 70s visiting various tourism attractions across SA. His joy at exploring the state slowly turns to sadness as he realises he left his first visit too late in life.

The advert finishes with a voiceover saying "Don't feel sorry for Old Mate - It's his own damn fault he didn't visit Adelaide sooner".

The controversial campaign - aimed at middle-aged prospective interstate visitors - has been widely criticised, with the Council on the Ageing slamming it for using a "pathetic old" stereotype while the Opposition blasted the use of a Melbourne advertising agency.