AOB

What do you reckon to the Vegemite ‘Tastes Like Australia’ ads?

I don’t like Vegemite. It tastes rank. But I do really, really, really like the Vegemite ‘Tastes Like Australia’ advert campaign. Because it includes funny billboards like this…

vegemite-tastes-like-Aus-adverts-Melbourne-cup
Image: from Bestadsontv.com

According to Mumbrella it’s the first campaign the Australian spread brand have launched in six years. The creative responsibility fell to agency Thinkerbell, who have produced TV, cinema and billboard ads featuring phrases, famous locations, faces and iconic Aussie moments that the local audience will likely recognise. All imagery is framed by the very identifiable Vegemite jar label.

The thing is, some of those phrases, faces and moments could be considered quite divisive. I mean, the full-length TV ad opens with a shot of Pauline Hanson.

vegemite-advert-pauline-hanson

(If you’re one of my non-Australian readers, in a tiny nutshell she’s leader of the One Nation political party and has controversial views when it comes to race and immigration in Oz.)

According to one of Thinkerbell’s co-founders, Adam Ferrier, a ruffling of the feathers is kinda the point. He explained in a statement:

“The ‘Tastes Like Australia’ campaign is topical, thought provoking and aims to promote a discussion about national pride, difference and unity. And while the intent of the campaign is clear, a true celebration and embrace of our unique nation and Vegemite, there is no doubt the interpretation of the creative elements, could spark some heated discussions.

We live in a place full of beauty and prosper but when you think about it — it’s pretty quirky: supersized prawns and bananas, an intriguing and dynamic political environment, and the love of an underdog. These are all uniquely Australian… just like Vegemite.”

Without further ado, watch the Vegemite advert

Why do I like it?

Alright, in some ways it’s a bit twee. Like the annoying Aussie marketing habit of using a rhyming couplet or several. But that will no doubt satisfy the audience and chalks up another way it’s a ‘true blue’ kinda advert and brand.

Really, I think it’ll fly because it’s got guts. Because it includes those few fleeting shots of controversial, politically motivated moments. The potential to start interesting conversations about ‘what it means to be Australian’ could certainly be prompted by a (mere) advert.

Also, as someone who’s still pretty fresh to life in Australia (I’ve only been here 12 months!) my personal experience of the advert was one of engagement as I recognised the majority of the clips and their cultural significance. Even though I can’t stand Vegemite, it at least reaffirmed the cultural connotations that this is an Australian staple. And I flipping love the billboard ads. They’re just funny and plays on light-hearted stereotypes many can get on board with.

vegemite-tastes-like-australia-advert
You had me at ‘shark punching’! Image from Bestadsontv.com

The Vegemite advert is already dividing opinion within the marketing industry. Some are labelling it “cringeworthy” and hate it — even vowing to boycott the brand because of…well let’s not sugar coat it, it’s because of Hanson’s inclusion.

Meanwhile others from the advertising sphere appear to…erm, love it (hmm, sounds like a rival spread’s tagline, no?).

The geeky media studies student in me is very much looking forward to keeping an eye on this over the next few weeks and seeing what kind of reactions it gets from the public. Also, it would be very interesting to know how many consumers log on to the associated Tastes Like Australia website, which gives each slide in the ad context.

Does it float your boat?

I’d love to know how the Vegemite ‘Tastes Like Australia’ campaign has made you feel? Either as an Australian resident, or if outside of Australia do you get a good flavour of the country?
Post a comment, email me or Tweet me with your thoughts.

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