In the past, ads for lamb by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and The Monkeys have stirred up controversy (see "Australian lamb ad banned after review" and "On the lamb: MLA's much-anticipated Australia Day ad again courts controversy").
Controversy seems unlikely to follow this year's big summer ad (above), which debuted yesterday. While the brand has for many years used unity as its theme, this year the plot eschews hot-button issues like religious diversity or the position of indigenous people in the nation's culture. Instead, we see Australians realising that the world may have forgotten about them during the pandemic. To fix this, they come together for a national lamb barbie, which creates a lambchop-shaped smoke signal visible from space.
No one gets skewered (except some lambs, of course). Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk show up in caricature, but escape without getting criticised. Even the French get only a mild ribbing: They're seen arriving for the BBQ in (what else?) a submarine.
To Ad Nut, this year's ad is a middle-of-the-road effort. It has its mildly amusing moments, but it's not really what you'd call funny, and it takes an interminable amount of time to get going. It's way better than last year's weirdly artificial setup (see "Lamb chops down imagined walls in Meat & Livestock Australia ad"), which made our list of the top 10 condemnation-worthy ads of 2021. It's probably on par with 2020's ad, which Ad Nut damned with faint praise by calling it "servicable" (see "Here's this year's (yawn) lamb ad").
The ad lands a little weirdly right now, through no fault of MLA or The Monkeys. For one thing, the hopeful scenes of carefree tourists returning to the country are jarring while Omicron is kicking the globe's ass. Plus, far from forgetting about Australia, the world has been taking special note of it in recent days following the controversy over tennis star and antivax dummy* Novac Djokovic. His detention has caused reputational damage for Tennis Australia and the Australian Open, but has also trained a spotlight on the nation's treatment of refugees (which is probably one of the more valuable things Djokovic has done for people in the world who are not named Novac Djokovic, come to think of it).
Anyway, the ad launched across free-to-air and subscription TV last night and the campaign includes a website, digital, social and retail OOH, with UM handling media and One Green Bean in charge of PR.
* If you doubt Ad Nut's use of the word 'dummy' here, Ad Nut invites you to ponder this passage from a BBC article:
In his book, Serve to Win, Djokovic described how in 2010 he met with a nutritionist who asked him to hold a piece of bread in his left hand while he pressed down on his right arm. Djokovic claims he was much weaker while holding the bread, and cited this as evidence of gluten intolerance. And during an Instagram Live, he claimed that positive thought could "cleanse" polluted water, adding that "scientists have proven that molecules in water react to our emotions".
Client – Meat & Livestock Australia
General Manager – Marketing and Insights: Nathan Low
Domestic Market Manager: Graeme Yardy
Campaign Consultant: David Rebetzke
Brand Manager: Anna Sharp
Assistant Brand Manager: Krystina Batt
Creative Agency – The Monkeys, part of Accenture Interactive
Group CEO and Co-Founder: Mark Green
Managing Director: Matt Michael
Group Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder: Scott Nowell
Chief Creative Officer: Tara Ford
Creative Director: Scott Dettrick
Creative team: Emmalie Narathipakorn and Seamus McAlary
Head of Production: Penny Brown
Senior Producer: Katie Bassett
OOH Producer: Alex Watson
Business Strategy Director: Kit Lansdell
Business Lead: Topher Jones
Senior Business Director: Fizzy Keeble
Senior Business Manager: Mitchell Bevan
Design Lead: James Halliday
Production Company: Rabbit Content
Director: Al Morrow
Executive Producer: Lucas Jenner
Associate Executive Producer: Marcus Butler
DOP: James L Brown
Production Design: Elisa Baker
Casting: Peta Einberg
Edit House: The Editors
Editors: Mark Burnett and Grace O’Connell
VFX: White Chocolate
Colourist: Matt Fezz
Music & Sound by Song Zu
Composer: Haydn Walker
Sound Designer: Simon Kane
Producer: Katrina Aquilia
Media agency - UM
Hayley Pyper – Senior Client Director
Laura Ellis – Client Director
Shannen Clout – Senior Trading Manager
Joshua Coles – Partnerships Trader
Cameron Roberts – Strategy Director
Maddison Thompson – Strategist
Monique Chirgwin – Integrated Planning Director
Andrew Harris - Senior Integrated Planner
PR Agency – One Green Bean
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