Meat and Livestock Association's Lambassador Sam Kekovich is back and with him is TV-presenter and fashionista Lee Lin Chin, she's cast as herself, a real life Edna Mode/M on a mission to bring Australians home for Australia day - motivated by her own horrible experience in Moscow, 1996. Whacky extractions of Australians ensue, with our Special Australian Extraction Police Team (SAEPT) pointing out all that's not Australian in the world at each stop. Luke warm beers, so wrong. Bowing in business meetings? Don't worry mate we'll get you home.
In Brooklyn a stray Australian has turned vegan, prompting the total decontamination of his flat by fire. Don't worry about offending a slice of consumers: Vegans, after all, are not the target market for a lamb meat campaign. A trip to Bali later, "Gary, get out of the pool", we soon see the SAEPT's doing a Helicopter Rescue of Princess Mary in Denmark. I'm sure she's all for lamb, her royal offspring are so Australian they risk their lives swimming in the Gold Coast surf already. With real Australian celebs like Lee Lin Chin, the Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, and the retired cricketer Mitchell Johnson in the advert, the campaign has once again raised the bar in how big the yearly MLA ad can get.
Naturally, when long-running campaigns gain this type of pop culture recognition, it must be attacked because there's nothing quite as Australian as "Tall Poppy Syndrome". A handful of people have complained about the ad on Twitter, prompting Adweek to call it 'problematic' and The Guardian to report that the advert "insults Indigenous people". Having fun with an idea like "Operation Boomerang" on what is a 'considered a day of anger and mourning for many Indigenous people' is not appropriate say social commentators on Indigenous and feminist issues, and the mock-rescuing is seen as invasions of other countries. To add to that, people are unhappy about the vegan joke, which attracted 50 complaints from people who are - I repeat myself - not in the target market for eating lamb and meat. The group marketing manager for the MLA, Andrew Howie, explained to the Guardian that brands naturally have competitors, and spelled out the obvious: "For us, it’s non meat-eaters", he added that in the 2015 ad they had a bit of a laugh at the gluten intolerant, and in 2014 they had a joke on tofu eaters expense as twenty foot toddlers stomped hipster BBQ's in Generation Lamb.
In 2009 there was a surreal 'Being John Malkovich' moment, in 2012 a duet with Barbie Girl Melissa Tkautz, but it all began ten years ago with the 2006 rant, and the following years complaints about Un-Australian food. The Meat and Livestock Association's over-the-top Australian ads are meant to be gauche, and those who take it too seriously might want to have a cold one and a chop to reach the correct chill mode on Australia day. It makes sense.