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

By Sarah Homewood and Rachael Micallef | 12 January 2016

Fresh from launching its Australia Day ad extravaganza, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is focusing on strengthening its year-round communications, with the brand aiming to have the same impact 365 days of the year.

On Sunday, the MLA launched its 12th Australia Day ad, this time with a new 'lambassador' and a raft of other famous Australia faces, continuing on the message 'you never lamb alone'.

This year, the brand rolled-out the two minute spot, as well as a tie-up with Nova's breakfast radio duo Fitzy and Wippa, which sees the pair travel to London for the first time for a brand partnership.

The MLA's group marketing manager Andrew Howie explained that the brand works with tight budgets and close partners in order to ensure the campaign delivers for its producers in the way of selling more products.

Howie told AdNews, the budget for the spot was “not far north of $500,000”, adding: “We are very mindful of where our funds are coming from. Ultimately we're driving value for the farmers, while there’s a big creative element to the campaign, the true success of it will be measured in how much product we can sell.

“The production values are much greater than the actual budget. We work with tight budgets and we make the most of the money that we've got.”

It also marks the second MLA campaign from The Monkeys, with last year's effort featuring the late Richie Benaud being named one of AdNews' top ads of 2015. Speaking to AdNews, The Monkeys co-founder and executive creative director, Scott Nowell, said that in creating a follow up, the key idea of Australian Day orphans came through quite early on, but working out “how to do it in the most ridiculous and overblown way” was a trickier process.

“When you do something like the Richie Benaud ad you set yourself a standard,” Nowell said. “You don't want to copy anything but you want to make sure you keep the standards up. There are great examples around the world of people doing yearly things, such as the John Lewis work in the UK – it's different every time – but what they're trying to do is to hit it out of the ballpark.

“That's what we're aiming with this. So it will be completely different next year.”

Howie also explained the business is aiming to raise the standard of its year-round communications, because while the Australia Day spot is a lighthouse event for the brand, it's not the only work it does.

“We're striving to raise the quality of our creative output across the whole year, across all the brands we look after. Our strategy is to create high impact work in a time where times are tough,” Howie says.

“The protein category is very competitive at the moment, so we're looking to engage with consumers, entertain them, change the way they think about our brands and products and as a result we are seeing an improvement in sales. The recipe is working so we need to keep bashing away at it.”

In order to achieve this, over the past 18 months, Howie says the business has moved away from tactical style campaigns, such as lamb for spring and autumn, with the aim of linking campaigns so that the brand isn't trying to create new equity with customers every launch.

“We're not big spenders, we're big thinkers,” he says.

“We've tried to switch to platform style messaging, 'You're better on beef', 'You never lamb alone' are good examples. It's about linking each campaign, and building on the one we've done before, and in doing so it makes your money work harder. That's really important for a brand that doesn't have the budgets the beer brands and the other FMCG brands out there.”

Nowell said while additional executions will be different for the brand, the “You never lamb alone” platform, unveiled by the agency in 2014, is here to stay.

“You never lamb alone is the brand line and it's all about unity and bring people together,” Nowell said.

“Throughout the year we'll continue to be about unity but Australia day is just that perfect expression of bringing people together.”

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

Creatives unpack MLA Australia Day campaign

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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