This year’s Australia Day lamb advertisement featuring Lee Lin Chin looks set to be the most complained about advertisement in the controversial campaign’s history.
And it’s all thanks to angry vegans.
The two minute commercial for Meat and Livestock Australia shows Chin in Warsaw during winter in 1996 where there was “not a char grilled chop in sight”.
“That was no way to spend Australia Day.”
Chin vows to never let that happen to another Australian again through “Operation Boomerang” — “a mission to save Australians abroad from going without the essential lamb barbecue on Australia Day.”
A spokeperson from the Advertising Standards Bureau said that complaints had already reached between 240 and 250 with most of the complaints coming in through yesterday and today.
The majority of the complaints are about a scene in which special ops agents break into a New York apartment and grab the bearded Australian resident.
“C’mon mate, in a few hours you’ll be eating lamb on the beach,” the agent says.
“But I’m a vegan now,” the Australian expat responds. The agent gives him a perplexed look.
The ASB spokesperson says that vegans have complained that they have been discriminated against and that the ad is “picking on them”.
There have also been complaints about the use of the word “boomerang” and whether it is appropriate.
The last time an Australia Day ad was this controversial was in 2014 featuring Sam Kekovich which made it into the top 10 most complained ads of 2014. However, that only received 80 complaints.
The complaints currently fall under the category of discrimination and violence. So far, it has not been determined whether the ad has breached any rules against the Code of Ethics but will be reviewed by a board of 20 people. A decision is expected to be reached between two to four weeks.
Here’s the ad in full below.