How creatives would sell the federal budget

By Ruby Derrick | 16 May 2024
Credit: Braňo via Unsplash.

The ALP could market the federal budget as a solution to the universal issue facing all demographics equally: “cossie-livs” or cost of living, according to Australian creatives. 

Last night was treasurer Jim Chalmers's Oprah moment, “so let's advertise it as such”, Paper Moose CEO and ECD Nick Hunter told AdNews.

Inspired by Winfrey's iconic giveaway segments, imagine a mock talk show setting, he says.

“Our host Jim Chalmers exclaims, 'You get a tax break! And you get support for small businesses! Everyone gets financial relief!'

“Zoom in on audience members reacting ecstatically, some waving forms of tax relief or business grants like they're prizes, someone is so happy they are crying uncontrollably.”

Hunter would intersperse this with fun facts about the budget's benefits, like "Lower taxes for individuals and giving relief to HECs help debt" "Increased funding for health and education" and "Renewable Energy Investments!" 

“This is the 2024 Budget where every Aussie walks away with a smile and a win. Treasurer Jim Chalmers has rolled out the red carpet of benefits, ensuring that 2024 is the year we all come out on top! Australia’s 2024 Budget: Where Every Aussie is a Winner!”

This year’s federal budget’s slogan is "Cost of living help and a future made in Australia" with an emphasis on an ease of cost of living, building more homes for Australians and broadening opportunity and advancing equality.

The 2024 budget charts a narrow path between inflation and recession. Deloitte says the budget shows a surplus for the 2023-24 financial year, before returning to deficit in 2024-25 and beyond.

Creative agency Jane Doe Creation thinks the podcast series ‘Who's Got the Money?’ hosted by comedian Kitty Flanagan, is set to demystify the way the budget is perceived, by making it relatable and understandable to everyday Australians. 

“Instead of selling the budget’s benefits, this series will clarify its real-world impact on diverse social and economic demographics, from young professionals and employed individuals to pensioners and investors,” executive creative director Penny Buck told AdNews.

Each episode will bring perspectives from different walks-of-life, such as a single mum, a benefit claimer, or a childless couple, providing a tangible look at how government fiscal policies realistically affect various segments of society. 

This approach will distil complex policies into clear narratives, emphasising personal impact over technical jargon, Buck says.

“Kitty Flanagan’s engaging and witty hosting style will keep the conversation lively and accessible, creating a welcoming environment for listeners to grasp the financial nuances of Australia.The theme tune, reminiscent of Shane McMahon's ‘Here Comes The Money’, playfully underscores the series’ focus on financial distribution and real-world effectiveness.

“We think Who's Got the Money? will not only educate, but also empower a well-informed Australian, capable of critically assessing government decisions.”

This series aims to answer a pivotal question: After the government’s financial decisions, who truly benefits?

“If executed effectively, it will humanise the financial allocations within the Federal Budget, to clarify for listeners how careful planning balances immediate needs with long-term investments, with the aim to benefit as many Australians as possible,” Buck says.

Five by Five Global’s executive creative director Matt Batten says the  budget is crucial in the government garnering confidence in their fiscal management of the nation and is an important weapon for securing votes for the next election. 

Voting patterns show the ALP has significant preference among Millennial voters, but is only marginally ahead of all other parties among GenX, Boomers and the Silent Gen. 

“However, first preference to the ALP shows steady growth among all cohorts, so the ALP could maintain this positive trend by marketing the federal budget as a solution to the universal issue facing all demographics equally: cossie-livs,” Batten says.

“The $1.3 billion for hospital and home care and $8.5 billion in healthcare will engage with Boomers and Silent Gen, but many of the other initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of living such as power bills, medication, social services, rental assistance, mental health, and student debt would provide fertile ground for advertising propositions most likely to engage for the here and now among 90% of voters."

Coupled with the bigger goal of reducing inflation (plus those pesky interest rates) and there should be a campaign about putting an end to the post-pandemic financial stresses and restoring the “carefree Aussie way of life”, Batten says.

“Reinstating the ideals of the lucky country – lots of beach-going, smashed avo, lawn-mowing, road-tripping, footy families, and snag-turning, all to the anthemic Sounds of Then by Gang Gajang. Or Great Southern Land by Icehouse.”

Two words: “tough brief”, DDB Melbourne senior copywriter Anneliese Sullivan says.

“This year’s federal budget’s slogan isn’t exactly single-minded, and, given it affects every single Australian, the audience is about as broad as it gets.

“Still, Labor’s twin proposition makes sense in a year marked by more Australians feeling the pinch, and the increasing effects of climate change to both our environmental and economic future.”

The $9.3 billion surplus is a seemingly compelling headline, but not the budget’s central message. A safe move — Scott Morrison’s AC/DC inspired ‘Back in Black’ slogan of 2019 touted a projected surplus that never eventuated. Then there’s the questions around where the $9.3 billion could have perhaps been spent instead, Sullivan says.

“But should we create a universal three-word political slogan for a budget in 2024? Could we, even? With highly individualised media experiences, every feed built for our own needs, the ubiquitous one-liner we’d all hear every TV ad break seems like a relic of political advertising’s past.

“So, where to now? Labor has posted the Budget highlights on Instagram in a series of swipe-able infographics and what can only be described as attempts at memes.”

Steve Buscemi’s performance as an undercover fake high schooler in 30 Rock is nonsensically used to explain their upcoming HECS debt wipe, Sullivan says. Ironically, this swing and miss evokes an even greater “How do you do, fellow kids?” feeling from the party.

“If this is their way of communicating and connecting with young new voters, Labor has some ground to make up if they are to compete with the socially savvy Greens.

“Instead, Labor’s comms remain risk-averse and middle ground. But perhaps, with an election looming, that’s the name of their game. I’m interested to see the results.”

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

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus