Another new year means another lead-up to Australia Day, and another lead-up to Australia day means another excellent ad for Australian lamb. However, much like the essential hint of rosemary and garlic endemic to every good lamb chop on a barbecue, a new lamb ad would not be so if not dished up with a soupçon of controversial humour.
In its infant stages, these annual advertisements–funded by Meat & Livestock Australia–were straight-to-camera spots featuring the inimitable Sam Kekovich barking at the Australian public, demanding they eat more lamb. The ads became as much a part of the Australian summer as lamb on the barbie itself, and Kekovich’s role as ‘Lambassador’ eventually took him from behind the officious, ministerial-esque desk, to portray broader incarnations of his staunchly anti-vegan, tongue-in-cheek, all-Aussie caricature in more far-reaching and complex scenarios.
It even took him to New York, to share a chop with none other than (pre-presidential) Donald Trump, in the polarising billionaire’s own eponymous tower.
Previous years have seen big-ticket social issues tackled head-on, such as how immigration has helped shape the Aussie barbecue, how lamb is the one meat that every religion can consume, and the ever-popular concern of far-left versus far-right political commentators both behaving as exhaustingly punishing as each other.
This years instalment, however, has made what is arguably the most controversial suggestion yet: that Australia merges with New Zealand to create “New Australialand”.
Citing the ever-frustrating revolving door of Prime Ministers, as well as our embarrassing ball-tampering incident of last year as reasons Australia needs a seriously radical rebrand, the ad suggests that we entice the Kiwis with our excellent produce by way of a floating barbecue smack bang in the middle of the Tasman, manned by none other than Kekovich himself.
Though managing to still completely take the piss out of our Antipodean neighbours while admitting that, currently, New Zealand is out-Australia-ing Australia, the ad, which makes note of the fact that many of our country’s greatest icons are actually from across the ditch anyway (Phar Lap, pavlova and Russell Crowe, to be precise), this is either the most controversial or least controversial hot-take Meat & Livestock Australia has proffered yet.