Accenture Song's ‘un-Australian’ lamb ad comes full circle

26 January 2023 2 min. read
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Now spanning nearly two decades, the latest annual lamb ad created by Accenture Song agency The Monkeys has come full circle, featuring an exploration of what it means to be ‘un-Australian’.

Australia’s legendary annual summer lamb ad for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has dropped for 2023, with punters agreeing that the latest campaign created by Accenture Song has again surpassed expectations.

Following last year’s theme which played on the reopening of the country’s international borders following the isolation of Covid-19, this year Accenture Song has explored a once common concept of what it means to be Australian – that is, by not being ‘un-Australian’.

Having attracted plenty of controversy for various insensitivities across its lengthy history, the 2023 campaign manages to promote greater inclusion by subverting a long-held platitude of exclusion, imagining a barren, desert wasteland where just about everybody is ultimately banished for committing minor transgressions against traditional Aussie culture. Attempt to eat a meat pie with a knife and a fork? Off you vanish to the infinite cultural exile of ‘un-Australia’.

In an association dating back for more than twenty years, the MLA campaign is again led by locally-founded agency The Monkeys, which was acquired by Accenture in 2017.

“We’re in an uncertain time where people are struggling to define what it means to be Australian but, ironically, some find it very easy to define what is un-Australian,” said Monkeys creative director Scott Dettrick. “Our campaign explores how we can rethink what it really means to be a modern Australian.”

Other breaches of the supposed Aussie cultural code to feature in the commercial include charging for tomato sauce, not knowing the words to ‘Khe Sanh’, and accidentally switching over the cricket to a TV show with subtitles. Fittingly, the ad debuted during the recent Sydney test versus South Africa, and will continue to be rolled out nationally in various forms across free-to-air and subscription television, digital, social media and retail OOH (out-of-home) channels.

In addition to old Australia tropes, the ad also subverts its own history, with original ‘Lambassador’ Sam Kekovich making an appearance in un-Australia for a foreign language violation. While intended as satire, it was Kekovich first railing against ‘un-Australian’ behaviour which put the ads on the local cultural map.

Speaking with The Age, Meat & Livestock Australia domestic market manager Graeme Yardy admitted they had deliberately courted controversy in the past, “but things have evolved.”

Media professionals appear to agree. “The Australian Lamb ads have a history of being controversially entertaining and tongue-in-cheek, and this one smashes it out of the park,” Awaken creative strategist Amelia Morgan told AdNews. “Although the ad is playing in a safer space than other Australian Lamb ads, I love how this one is controversial in a completely self-deprecating way. It’s also good to see the ads continue to modernise – this one is ironically inclusive through exclusion.”