Creatives unpack MLA Australia Day campaign

By Rachael Micallef and Sarah Homewood | 14 January 2016

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) unveiled its 2016 Australia Day campaign this week to much fanfare – due in no small part to the inclusion of SBS presenter and social media phenomenon Lee Lin Chin. It also marks the 12th such campaign for the not-for-profit brand, whose work for the national holiday has become one of the key events on the advertising calender - similar to the annual launch of John Lewis' Christmas ads in the UK.

We ask the experts to look beyond the fabulous Chin and unpack the latest offering.

On the strategy front, Ikon executive creative director Rob Martin Murphy feels the ad is strong noting it is “a great example of a healthy client/agency relationship where the goal is simple – smart, entertaining (and no doubt effective) work”.

Likewise, Affinity creative director Marcus Tesoriero says that the strategy behind MLA's Australia day campaign is “stronger than ever”.

“The lamb ad extravaganza rolls on. It seems Meat & Livestock Australia has created somewhat of a Superbowl for Australia Day now – competition zero,” Tesoriero says.

“Every year lamb now looks to surpass itself with a bigger, more creative version of owning our country’s most celebrated 24 hours. I was hooked with the more psuedo-serious angle of bringing Aussie’s home – nice touch kidnapping Princess Mary of Denmark.”

He did add that if he had to find some criticism, he found himself “chuckling more throughout Richie’s BBQ last year” adding that “I guess that’s what you get for setting the baa so high” - pun very intended.

With Collective associate creative director Simon Fowler says, “it's all about the vibe of the thing. I particularly like how the cleverly placed one-liners are easily memorable for any Australian occasion – 'my finger’s warm', 'that’s bad', and 'Gary get out of the pool',” Fowler recounts.

“These give the ad a great chance of coming up in conversation before, during and long-after the day itself. The insight also gives it a great chance of being shared amongst Australians globally, due to how many Aussies abroad will resonate with having to celebrate the occasion overseas.”

While Fowler says the ending looks like it was one of the harder parts to come up with, he adds that the ad proves Australia has "world-class creative".

The choice of Chin as this year's 'lambassador' was also popular with the public and creatives alike. Reborn founder Sabir Samtani says it “ties perfectly to the concept” while 303Lowe executive creative director Richard Morgan dubs it “brilliant casting”, noting that Chin's inclusion, along with the slick production, gives it an extra layer of originality.

“To me, as the Australia Day lamb event has grown in stature over the years, the vegan jokes have begun to feel a bit unnecessary and churlish; like Goliath taking a free kick against David,” Morgan says.

“But there’s not an agency in town that wouldn’t want this spot on its reel. Well done."

Samtani adds, as a concept it works in broadening the appeal of the ad from previous executions.

“I’m a big fan and think The Monkeys have done a great job bringing the concept to life,” Samtani says.

“There are so many Australians travelling and working around the world, and most Australians have been away travelling on Australia Day so the concept around bringing Aussies back home relates to most people here.”

DDB Melbourne managing director Dion Appel says the jokiness of the ad matched the spirit of Australia Day.

“Australian’s pride themselves on not taking things too seriously - true blue Aussie larrikinism,” Appel says.

“This outlandish execution balances a desire to be pragmatic with entertainment to win the hearts and minds of Australians on Australia Day.”

Loud executive creative director Steven Thomson says the ad is “more interesting work from The Monkeys,” but adds it “would be great if they could pull this off for real and actually bring people home. Or perhaps even include a few refugees?”.

But perhaps Martin Murphy sums it up best: “Lee Lin Chin as well? C’mon, how can you go wrong?”

If you're after more MLA creativity, take a look at the past decade of Australia Day commercials, and be sure to vote for your favourite.
Did you miss any of the MLA Aus Day coverage on AdNews?

Lee Lin Chin stars in MLA’s Australia Day epic

A look through 10 years of MLA’s Australia Day

'We're not big spenders, we're big thinkers' - MLA marketer

MLA faces backlash over 'disrespectful' Australia Day campaign

MLA ad complaints rocket to more than 400

'Save our Lamb ad' campaign support fires up

MLA ad is closest Australia gets to John Lewis Xmas ad

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