No Agency Will Admit to Working on This Anti-Gay Marriage Ad from Australia

By Patrick Coffee 

Australia: it’s a different kind of place! The country has something approaching universal health coverage, and it’s one of the few places in the world with compulsory voting.

But unlike the U.S., it still doesn’t allow same-sex partners to legally marry.

The country’s government is about to vote on that issue, and shit is getting quite real in the meantime. You probably remember the related debates in this country, and it all seems every bit as intense down under. The New York Times recently reported that anti-gay flyers reading “Stop the Fags” have begun to appear, with some particularly targeting the Chinese community.

Interestingly, Australia’s AdNews reports that some local news outlets admitted to exacerbating/exaggerating the problem by “photoshopp[ing] the poster into a Melbourne laneway.”

This week, the first official ad in the anti-SSM campaign from the Australian Christian Lobby aired, and it is something else.

So, what have parents lost their rights to choose? Whether to send their kids to school with teh gheyz? Extreme Park Slope Parents aside, that’s a pretty tired non-argument. The idea that a school’s policies are going to turn your son gay is even more ridiculous, but we’ve heard worse.

The fact that the video has 2K likes and 14K downvotes might tell us something about how effective the campaign will be, but then no one trusts digital metrics.

And we’re most interested in the agency angle, a la this line from the writeup in AdNews: “The Marriage Coalition declined to reveal the agency behind the ad.”

That’s probably because none of the big names would agree to do it. Earlier this month, several shops including Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, DDB and many more signed on to the “Say No To No” initiative saying they would refuse to work on this (well-paid) project.

The latter point is the most interesting thing about the whole story to us as Americans, because the government has to allocate a certain amount of money any time a big vote or “plebiscite” goes down. An earlier HuffPo story estimated that each competing campaign could have up to $10 million in funding.

Here’s what Nick Cummins, creative partner at The Royals, told HuffPo:

“I’ve been in ads for over 30 years and it’s a great community. Sometimes we have to make messages or ads for things we don’t necessarily believe in 100 percent, but when it comes to these sorts of issues, it’s an opportunity for us to have an impact. …It’s like refusing to work on tobacco advertising, I see it as similar.”

Hmmm. Even Meghan Trainor got into it when someone used her unauthorized image for a “No” flyer.

Now someone please help us figure out which agency made this ad. And feel free to correct our admittedly poor understanding of the Australian legal system.