Legendary MLA marketer David Thomason passes away, industry pays tribute

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 25 November 2014

David Thomason, the marketer behind Meat and Livestock Association's Dancing Butchers, ‘Red meat feel good’ with Sam Neill and the Sam Kekovich Australia Day for Lamb campaigns, has passed away, after battling illness.

A funeral service for Thomason will be held on Friday 28 November at 2.30pm at Macquarie Park Cemetery, Corner Delhi & Plassey Roads, Macquarie Park NSW 2113. Colleagues and friends are invited to attend. David is survived by his wife Sue and children Josh, Drew, James and Edwina.

Thomason, former GM of marketing at Meat and Livestock Australia, was behind some of Australia’s most awarded and effective campaigns during his 12 year tenure and is regarded by many as a “rare” breed of marketer, and hailed as one of Australia's best.

Two of Thomason's MLA ads appeared in FreeTV's Top 50 ads of all time, published in 2006.

Thomason worked with a number of Australian agencies including The Campaign Palace, Host and BMF. He was previously a marketer at both George Weston Foods and Cottees. He was heavily involved in the Effies.

Matthew Melhuish, Australian Effies Chairman, said: “David was always prepared to back a creative idea, in this day and age of political correctness, safety first and covering your butt, he was a marketer prepared to back his judgement. He knew that to have the message heard, to first had to get noticed.

“He was prepared to take a creative idea that other might not, and he had a strong commitment to the process of creativity. His agencies and his team loved him for that,” added Melhuish.

Ron Mather, who worked with Thomason at The Campaign Palace and now runs It's the Thought That Counts, added that he was “one of the great clients” always encouraging agencies to do something fresh and outstanding.

“When you have a client like that you don't want to let them down. We need more clients like him. It's not an easy category but what Thomason and The Palace managed to do was give meat a personality,” he said.

“He loved advertising, he loved good ads and he loved clever ads, and he was a nice guy to work with.”

Warren Brown, BMF creative founder, said: “In a world of political correctness, David stood out and that's why the work that he bought was so impactful.”

“He had a generosity of spirit, was humble and quick to give credit to others. “He was a brilliant man, fearless in his pursuit of great work that would have a significant impact. He knew instinctively what was the right thing to do. I've only worked with a handful of clients like him in my career. He was wonderful to work with, maddening sometimes but always in pursuit of a fantastic outcome.”

Reg Bryson, formerly of The Campaign Palace and now owner of ‎Brand Council, who worked with Thomason for over 20 years, called him one of the best marketers Australia has ever produced.

“He was highly intelligent and really approachable. He didn't act like a client, he wanted to be close to the creatives. He knew what was important – getting bloody good work out not process,” added Bryson.

Please feel free to leave your tributes to David below.

Watch some of the best loved MLA ads below:

Dancing Butchers

Australia Day- Sam Kekovich's address to the nation

Lamb Roast like Mum

Laurie Lawrence

Sam Neill red meat

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day. Need a job? Visit adnewsjobs.com.au.

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