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Tender, succulent Australian lamb unifies a fractured nation

January 2021

While 2020 was a tough year for the classic Aussie ‘barbie’, MLA (the Australian red meat and livestock marketing body) has continued its crusade to make lamb the only thing Australians are grabbing with their tongs. Famous for their irreverent summer campaigns, Australian Lamb has built a long-term platform encouraging people to ‘Share the Lamb’ – embedding the meat as part of Australian culture.

This year’s satirical production presents a dystopian future where large concrete walls enforce hard state borders, preventing Australians from coming together as one. But as always, lamb prevails – helping galvanize a fractured nation and, in the process, rallying for a more unified Australia in 2021.

We put Australia’s hunger to the test, using our 3C’s model to see if they would love the lambunctious display or lambast the ad:

  • Captivate: Does it attract and retain attention, and engage in an emotional way?
  • Connect: Does it leverage unique branding properties to create instant recognition?
  • Compel: Does it leave people with a lasting impression about the brand?

Captivate

“Make Lamb, Not Walls” grabbed viewers’ attention from the get-go through its use of satire and comedy – with the vision of Australia in 2031 featuring the ‘New South Wall’ and posters alluding to “further delays to the NBN rollout”. As the story unfolds the self-deprecating humor and irreverence continues, with topical references to state-based rivalries – and even a subtle dig at ScoMo’s handling of the bushfires – keeping viewers glued to their screens.

For two-and-a-half-minutes the ad gave viewers an escape from COVID-related doom and gloom. Rather than lingering on our separation and isolation, the ad instead focussed on the build-up to – and celebration of – coming together again. As a result, the ad was found highly likeable.

Connect

With 15 years of advertising typically coinciding with Australia Day, the timing of Australian Lamb’s communications has itself become a brand cue. ‘Lambassador’ Sam Kekovich, who – for better or worse – has been the face of many of these campaigns, continues to be a highly effective brand asset.

However, the biggest boon for Australian Lamb remains the brand’s commitment to attaching itself with everything “Australiana”; caricatures, stereotypes, and slang at every opportunity, culminating in lamb on the barbecue – a staple of almost every execution. This strategy has positioned lamb as quintessentially Australian, and front-of-mind for every Australia Day barbecue.

Compel

While Australian Lamb no longer explicitly references January 26th, the timing of the brand’s biggest production each year clearly underscores the significance of this date for meat consumption in Australia – and thus the importance of keeping lamb foremost in consumers’ minds. Viewers took out no shortage of lamb-related prompts – all the key interactions with lamb (smelling, tasting, and cooking) were consistently reinforced.

Operating in a category where it’s hard to say anything new, “Make Lamb, Not Walls” excelled because of its irreverence, positioning Australian lamb as being ‘loved by all Australians’, while more broadly reinforcing that lamb’s a little bit different to other meat.

Conclusion

If only more advertising was treated as “sponsored entertainment”, more content would be produced which people actually wanted to engage with – and in the process led to better brand outcomes. With the campaign platform having now endured for over 15 years, MLA’s already well-aware this strategy’s a winner.

This is a self-funded case study using our Ad Testing solution. Get in touch to receive the full report.

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