The ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ Qantas ad is one of the most iconic in our nation’s TV history.
Released in 1999, it features several key ingredients for a great advertisement: classic Aussie imagery, an emotional tune, children singing and a healthy dose of patriotism.
And it turns out that there is a romantic twist to the story, with news that two of the children cast in the ad have just tied the knot.
Elysia Simons and Paul Van Der Toorren were nine when they first met on the set of the commercial.
They were both part of the choir scene at Uluru, and 18 years later that was the spot where Van Der Tooren decided to pop the question.
In an Instagram post from May last year, Simons recalled their love story.
She said that Van Der Toorren had stood to her right and that in between takes they would “chat and joke around”. After that ad, they saw each other a few times at choir events but connecting wasn’t so easy in the ’90s.
It was the dark ages, before social media or smartphones. Back in those days if you wanted to find someone you could either a) hope to bump into them in real life or b) get their digits and call. Brutal.
Simons said that they finally managed to reconnect through MySpace while they were in high school. Friendship soon led to mutual crushes and they began to daydream about returning to Uluru to reminisce about their first day together.
Qantas must have sniffed marketing gold, because Simons said that she got a phone call from them saying that they’d heard her story and wanted to fly the couple to Uluru. Apparently, the airline was filming a documentary called Field of Light for Channel Nine.
When they arrived, Van Der Toorren fessed up. They weren’t there for the doco, he had just enlisted the help of Channel Nine and Qantas to get Simons back to the spot they had first met, over 15 years ago.
With the cameras rolling, Van Der Toorren proposed against the stunning backdrop. Naturally, she said “yes”.
Simons and Van Der Toorren tied the knot married on January 14, 2017, in a vineyard ceremony in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley.
See, true love exists – even in the world of advertising.