Our Creative Director Mike Drysdale was recently featured on 92.9 Tamworth. In the interview, he explores the power of cultural conversations in the context of the latest Australian Lamb ad.
You can listen to the full discussion below.
The Lost Country of the Pacific, a short film by Australian Lamb, is as close as Australia gets to a blockbuster ad.
Equal parts spectacle and narrative, the three minute epic arrests the audience’s attention with a melodramatic set up and story. It seeks to entertain with almost every cultural reference that could be made about the current state of the world.
An ad like this takes significant time and energy to craft. The campaign video doesn’t look or feel like an ad; it comes across more like a movie. Importantly, lamb is not the focus. Instead, it’s presented simply as a delicious-looking part of the larger story.
It doesn’t matter that the premise is absurd, and the execution feels familiar to Australian Lamb ads of the past. In a way, that further cements their existing brand.
More Easter eggs than the Easter Bunny: cultural references
Ad campaigns that live within the current cultural landscape and allude to current events feel magnetic; it’s hard to look away.
Once you start to see references to topics you’ve thought about recently, you look out for more. You’re transfixed by the next Easter egg and feel compelled to discover if it will mirror your experience.
So, what did get mentioned?
Interstate border closures, overseas travel, Westralia, the rise of State Premiers, billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in space, conspiracy theorists believing in Australia being a “fake country”, sport bubbles, Victorian lockdowns, French submarines, fruit picking backpackers, and more.
Jam-packed with references to current cultural dialogue, the campaign builds connection with its audience. Each of the cues used draws out an emotional response from viewers across a wide variety of world views.
What’s missing? Two notable omissions
Fascinatingly, the ad made no mention of COVID-19 and no mention of Australia Day. Considering the breadth of references tied into this campaign, these gaps are hard to ignore.
Australian Lamb’s ads have come out around this time every year for over a decade. Notably, it wouldn’t be surprising if every previous year’s version had mentioned January 26th.
This suggests that change is afoot. Brands that were previously loud supporters of Australia Day are now reading the change in public opinion around it and adjusting their messaging.
Notably, Australian Lamb’s Youtube channel has videos dating back five years, but their previous campaigns are unavailable.
This could signal a larger movement away from messaging tied to Australia Day. January 26th was a promotional opportunity for many years, but times have changed. Instead, iconic brands like Cricket Australia, Triple J, and Australian Lamb are now aligning with a general sense of Australiana. In effect, working to make lamb synonymous with Australia rather than Australia Day.
Specific mention of COVID-19 was also notably not present. As a result, we can likely assume this is due to the pandemic fatigue felt by audiences across the nation. Many brands are refraining from tying heavy messaging on the COVID-19 pandemic to their business.
Instead, advertisers show flow-on effects such as lockdowns, State Premiers, and empty airports, as seen in the campaign.
Cultural impact: how the audience responded to the ad
This cheeky, topical piece quickly hit the #1 trending spot on YouTube. It had its audience laughing, crying, and most importantly, talking.
It’s a marketing sweet spot. In re-watching the video and sharing it with their own networks, viewers engage with the campaign time and time again. This builds free awareness for the product and adds to the wider dialogue.
Here’s a snapshot of the public response: