It’s more than a decade since Sam Kekovich started warning the nation about “unAustralianism”, urging everyone to eat lamb on Australia Day.
Over subsequent years, Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) “We Love our Lamb” campaign has been funny and provocative, offending and delighting people in equal measure, with 2016’s Australia Day effort, featuring SBS TV’s Lee Lin Chin, becoming one of the most complained about ads of all time.
But this week, in a new push for Spring lamb, the We Love Our Lamb campaign stepped things up a notch with a commercial that’s funny and politically pointed, celebrating the nation’s diversity with cheeky Australian humour in a star-studded 90-second YouTube slot featuring Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman, NRL player Greg Inglis and model Samantha Harris, alongside the likes of Greek-transgender comic Jordan Raskopoulos.
The message is no other meat unites Australia like lamb, starting out with X Factor host Luke Jacobz saying he is “here to address concerns that too many perky white males are contributing to a lack of diversity on our screens” before disappearing behind a eucalyptus tree.
Bengali-Australian actor Arka Das (Farid in ABC TV’s ‘The Code”) appears on the other side saying “We couldn’t agree more” as he gives a shout out to Mustafa and Sukura and extols the virtues of “the ultimate cross-cultural protein”.
He talks about people of colour, including “white-whites, translucent whites, beige whites, red whites, and our dark whites, who are darker than the light dark guys” (a pointed comment since the current fight over repealing 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act often features advocates of scrapping it referring to Andrew Bolt, who complained about the pale skin colour of some Aboriginal people in two columns and was found guilty of breaching the Act).
“Get together over the meat that doesn’t disciminate,” Das says, heading to the barbecue, tongs in hand and asking “So who was here first?”
Inglis and Freeman pipe up “Umm, that would be us”.
MLA has a multi-cultural strategy for the month-long campaign, saying in a media release that the campaign will be:
Focusing on areas with diverse backgrounds, it will spread unique messages linking lamb to diversity e.g. language, sexuality, culture and physical ability. Further embracing unity the lamb message will also be spread across ethnic print press and in language social media (WeChat and Weibo).
Here’s the ad:
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