Australia and New Zealand, for the longest time, have had a decent rivalry, from cricket to who invented the pavlova (history’s most magnificent dessert). Though, when push comes to shove, the countries band together—or at least make an attempt.
In a new, humorous ad touting Australia lamb for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the country has a unique proposition: unite the two countries into what would be known as New Australia-Land. Of course, this is all done over delicious, Australian lamb in the middle of the Tasman Sea, equidistant from the two countries.
The entire film is chock full of tongue-in-cheek moments and is incredibly self-aware. One of the subplots is the perceived success of the two countries—Australia is more conservative and in a lull, and New Zealand is experiencing a renaissance of sorts under its progressive prime minister Jacinda Arden. Throughout the ad, a merry-go-round of Aussie prime minister photos is replaced on a wall, illustrating the fact that the country can’t keep a leader in office for very long.
Taking it even one step further, Arden made a lighthearted jab at the ad saying that “any suggestion that [Australia’s] lamb outdoes us is an absolute outrage.”
“Lamb’s brand essence is unity,” said Scott Nowell, chief creative officer and co-founder of The Monkeys, the Accenture-owned agency that created the ad. “This one is timely because New Zealand is quite a progressive place (and) we can’t keep a prime minister for more than five minutes. Overlaying that on the natural rivalry we have with New Zealand, who currently seems to be doing better, that’s when you get something like [the ad].”
The spirited film has several amusing elements and inside Trans-Tasman jokes. At the front end, a politician posits that the way to convince New Zealand to join forces is the “same way Australia solves everything: Lamb and a Hemsworth.” The ad also gives the nod to some of the things Australia stole from New Zealand, including actor Russell Crowe (he was born in Wellington and is technically a Kiwi), who tweeted his approval of the campaign.
But even going one step further, both New Zealand’s tourism commission and Air New Zealand got into the act, changing their homepages to pay homage to the newly minted country of New Australia-Land.
Who knew that a simple, funny ad about lamb would provoke such response? But it isn’t the first time a campaign for MLA has sparked a strong reaction. The 2016 ad attempted to repatriate Aussies, and its 2015 effort mocked vegetarians (with obvious satire). But it’s all part of the way The Monkeys approaches creativity.
“What we say is that we provoke with purpose,” notes Nowell. “Provocation of a random kind is just that…and it’s useless. If you’ve got a purpose and something you can talk about in a provocative, meaningful way, that’s going to connect with people and be much more effective.”
“I had no idea that [this year’s ad] would be as big as it has been,” he added. “It’s obviously touched a nerve.”