Georgia Phillips is CEO, Luma Research
Love it or Hate it? This year’s Australia Day ad “We’re all part of the story” has aired amid growing controversy and media debate. But what do regular Australians think about it?
The controversial ad still depicts stereotypical Australian imagery of people having a ‘barbie’ and men on the beach in their ‘Budgie Smugglers’, but this year’s ad deals head on with questions about the appropriateness of the celebration of Australia Day on January 26.
The '60s ad, celebrating the diversity of the Australian story aims to be inclusive and shows people from a range of cultural backgrounds, including several indigenous Australians, as well as a mix of ages, genders, sexual preferences and abilities.
The ad confronts the controversy and debate around the celebration of the landing of the First Fleet in Australia by acknowledging the "raw" and "painful" history of Australia.
Airing from early January, the ad has already caused a stir within the community with the NOVA cinema in Carlton, Victoria already agreeing to pull the ad after a complaint from a movie goer. So, to understand the impact of the advertising, we conducted a study with a representative sample of Australians – including 5% of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The response to the ad was actually really positive. Viewers found it highly engaging and emotive.
And just over two-thirds of people claim to have seen the ad already (after just two weeks on air).
This is a really strong outcome and shows that the ad is getting noticed.
People also really like the ad, with half who like it a lot (50%). Australians feel the ad is entertaining, enjoyable to watch and people especially like the casting and diversity of people represented. This makes the ad highly relatable as it talks to a wide audience.
What we have found in this past year of COVID and lockdowns is that consumers expectations and needs for ads have changed. What they seek now is
- A sense of togetherness - as they are missing times with family, friends and the broader community.
- A feeling of positivity and uplift - as a way of distraction from the fear and anxiety that we are feeling about everything that is happening around the world.
This new ad delivers on both. People feel happy, proud and inspired by the ad. It also motivates and leaves most feeling that they will celebrate Australia Day next week (72%) and connect with the community.
Only a handful of people were cynical about the intentions of the ad with around two percent who made a negative comment about the political undertones and inappropriate content with comments like “I'm annoyed. If we should be coming together and listening to each other perhaps the government should listen to all those who wish to move the date.”
The ad is easy to understand and people replay the intended message that as Australians we are "all part of the one story" and that "Australia Day is for everyone to celebrate’. This message leaves most people feeling positive with a strong sense of empathy for the ideas in the ad. Most also believe the message and feel it is appropriate (64%).
Whilst we stand divided on this important issue, the National Australia Day council seems to have the support of the majority of the community with this ad.