Lamb Australia Day ad embraces diversity but vegetarians still unhappy

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th January 2017

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has released its Australia Day lamb advertisement for 2017 with this year’s commercial focused around celebrating diversity.

The ad begins with a group of indigenous Australia’s preparing for a BBQ on the beach but they are quickly interrupted when the First Fleet comes ashore. Soon after, people from different ethnic and cultural groups appear ready for a party.

A variety of Australian celebrities make an appearance in the ad including Cathy Freeman, Wendell Sailor, Adam Gilchrist, Poh Ling Yeow, Rhys Nicholson, and of course Sam Kekovich, who features each year as a humorous spokesperson.

The advertisement was created by The Monkeys creative agency and was directed by Paul Middletich.

Group Marketing Manager at MLA, Andrew Howie, said as a brand lamb stands for unity.

“Australia is the greatest country on earth and lamb is the nation’s favourite meat. Hence we have brought those two things together to prove we should be able to celebrate this great country every day of the year,” he said.

The ad follows 2016’s MLA Australia Day lamb ad which appeared in 2016’s top 10 most complained about ads to the Australian Advertising Standard’s Board. Although all complaints were dismissed by the Board, numerous complaints were made saying the ad was offensive to indigenous Australians, vegans and depicted violence.

Meat alternatives group takes on ad

At the same time MLA’s 2017 Australia Day ad was released, a company selling plant-based meat alternatives have launched its own online video asking that Australians not equate Australia’s national holiday with the eating meat.

Featuring comedian Dave Hughes, the Alternative Meat Co video sees him tell Australians to consider sometimes eating vegetarian instead of meat.

In a nod to MLA’s Australia Day lamb ads, Dave Hughes finishes the ad by saying “Sorry Sam” in reference to Sam Kekovich who always appears in the MLA ads.

Dean Epps, General Manager at Life Health Foods Australia, the creators of the Alternative Meat Co, said its ad does not aim to convince people they should be vegetarian.

“As Hughsey correctly references, ‘it doesn’t need to moo to be true blue’,” Epps said.

“Our country has some of the most diverse foods in the world available, so why not throw something Vego on the barbie this Australia Day,” he stated.

Sam Kekovich also promoting pet food this Australia Day 

While Sam Kekovich only makes a brief appearance in the 2017 Australia Day lamb ad, he is playing a bigger role in an advertising campaign for Mars’ Advance pet food, encouraging Australians to buy lamb based pet food for their dogs on Australia Day.

In reference to the first Australia Day lamb ad Kekovich featured in, he addresses the nation’s dogs, asking them to make sure their owners only buy Advance lamb pet food for Australia Day.

Australia Day falls on Thursday 26 January 2017. It is the official National Day of Australia and is held on the anniversary of the landing of the British First Fleet at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.

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