Down Under gets the Telstra treatment for Olympics ad

telstra down underTelstra has launched its Olympics advertising campaign based around Australia’s unofficial national anthem Down Under.

The ad, created by DDB Sydney, features Men At Work’s Colin Hay and a cast of thousands.

The 60-second commercial breaks in time for the Olympics tomorrow morning, and follows a series of 15-second teaser spots that kicked off on Monday of this week.

Mark Buckman, Telstra’s marketing chief, said in a press release: “The campaign has been designed to ignite patriotism among Australians and encourage them to support our athletes in London by sending a Telstra HeroMessage. A Telstra HeroMessage is a powerful and emotional way to connect with our Olympic athletes and I encourage all Australians to harness the Olympic spirit and spur on our athletes and teams to greatness in London.”

Dylan Harrison, ECD at DDB Sydney, commented: “What better way to create the ultimate message of support for our athletes and kick-start the London 2012 HeroMessage service than to re-record one of the most identifiable tracks in Australian music history.

He added: “Down Under has always been synonymous with our strong sense of sporting patriotism and the sentiment we feel toward our sporting heroes. It strikes a real chord with Australians no matter where they are in the world and we had an overwhelming response from Aussies everywhere wanting to belt out the tune.”


  • Chief Marketing Officer: Mark Buckman
  • Director Corporate Marketing: Inese Kingsmill
  • Brand Marketing Manager: Kieran O’Donnell
  • Production Company: Rogue Films (London) / Chief Entertainment (Australia)
  • Director: Tubby Brothers (London) / Stuart McFadyen
  • Creative Agency: DDB
  • ECD: Dylan Harrison
  • Creative Director: Rupert Hancock
  • Managing Partner: Brent Annells
  • Media Agency: OMD
  • TV Trading Manager: Simon Lee


  1. Matt Granfield
    27 Jul 12
    3:39 pm

  2. Nice ad.

    Telstra must have offered to pay Men at Work’s legal bill after the copyright dispute.

  3. Tim Bennett
    27 Jul 12
    3:43 pm

  4. That $6100 Larrikin Music Publishing paid for the rights to ‘Kookaburra’ is probably looking like a good investment right now.

  5. Damo
    27 Jul 12
    3:47 pm

  6. I don’t have the best ears in the world but it would seem that controversial part of the song has been altered?

  7. Amanda Caldwell
    27 Jul 12
    3:56 pm

  8. Well said, Matt Granfield. My thoughts exactly.
    Leaves a bad taste, actually.

  9. Sam de Brito
    27 Jul 12
    4:01 pm

  10. A nice final shot would have been of Greg Ham’s coffin.

  11. Jared Quinn
    27 Jul 12
    4:01 pm

  12. I thought this was the “social media” Olympics… shouldn’t we be sending hero tweets? SMS is so 2009.

  13. Betty
    27 Jul 12
    4:04 pm

  14. Telstra is loaded – I hope Men at Work refused anything less than half a million for the song.

  15. Margaret Burke
    27 Jul 12
    4:11 pm

  16. I’ll bet Qantas are annoyed they didn’t chase up this tune to refresh their brand. Would have been a nice evolution. The Telstra ad has nailed the feel good feeling.

  17. huh
    27 Jul 12
    4:26 pm

  18. First it was Mark Ronson then Men at work

  19. Simon
    27 Jul 12
    4:27 pm

  20. Every time a new Aussie ‘patriot’ ad is released I can’t help but pay special attention to the ethnic diversity.

    I also hate to sound like a broken record, but once again an Ad promoting Australia/about being Australian contains a cast off 99% white Australians.

    I’m white, by the way. I’m also sick of seeing ads depicting our society that are blatantly false.

  21. Analog Penetration
    27 Jul 12
    4:44 pm

  22. Yep Damo, they’ve taken the “Kookaburra” bits out, in a firm single finger salute to the IP parasite that pursued them in the past.

    27 Jul 12
    4:46 pm

  24. Encourage Patriotism… rephrase: encourage usage stimulation. How much did DDB get them for this time?

  25. James Howe (Telstra)
    27 Jul 12
    4:49 pm

  26. Hi Jared, re: “social media” Olympics – messages can also be sent via Facebook at

  27. ExcitedPom
    27 Jul 12
    5:38 pm

  28. mmm, makes the Coles ad look a little sad and somewhat flat doesnt it?. nice ad.

  29. Matt
    27 Jul 12
    6:28 pm

  30. Wow, who would have thought Tesltra would be showing QANTAS how it’s done?

  31. Last time I was in "Straya" said
    27 Jul 12
    7:48 pm

  32. Correct. Can’t recall that much white skin whenever I’ve been there. Still, truth has always and continues to be the great Aussie dream.

  33. AnonymousVitriol
    27 Jul 12
    10:44 pm

  34. Why are there AFL players all over an ad about the Olympics? And an NRL field? There’s a complete disconnect… no?

  35. Dannyboi
    27 Jul 12
    11:19 pm

  36. Brilliant. Love it. Assuming Qantas use Daniel Johns’ savant-esque humming throughout the Olympic telecast, then this spot will dominate.

    The haters can hate on the casting

  37. Sharon Kelly
    28 Jul 12
    2:29 am

  38. Love this….the original song made me want to come to these beautiful shores! Love Australia xxx

  39. HR
    28 Jul 12
    9:15 am

  40. Well done, bloody brilliant!

  41. Peter A
    28 Jul 12
    4:34 pm

  42. When this first appeared on TV, I thought it was going to be a new Qantas ad. Anyway, the best Aussie ad released during the Olympics so far. Hits all the right notes… goose bumps and all. Well done Telstra.

  43. Peter Petrovski
    28 Jul 12
    10:06 pm

  44. I thought this was a great rendition. though too much of the AFL blokes.

  45. Shivani Patel
    29 Jul 12
    12:56 pm

  46. I am not originally Australian and yet to call it home inspite of having lived here for 4 years, but the ad did its charm. Felt the emotion and patriotism indeed. Well done Telstra!

  47. haha-nelson
    30 Jul 12
    10:17 am

  48. Great song. this should be the national anthem

  49. Ryan B.
    30 Jul 12
    11:30 am

  50. I just posted this same comment on Campaign Brief…

    When you look at the comments for the same ads on CB which, I believe, is mainly a creative blog vs. Mumbrella which, I believe, is mainly a client/media/suit blog you really see a drastic difference between views.

    For the same ad, on Mumbrella (take this one) you typically get vastly more positive feedback and chat about how the public will like it. On CB you get chat about how the campaign was “done before” in some obscure (or non-obscure) country that no Australian consumer would know or care about…or that it’s just shit.

    Both sites are anonymous.

    What does that tell us? Might it say that one side is more concerned about the consumer than their personal “reel”? Is one side just creatively “out of it” and the other the only real authority on what’s great creative?

    Maybe I’ve got the audiences between CB and Mumbrella wrong, but it’s an interesting analysis and comment on the industry…

  51. Kate Rose
    30 Jul 12
    1:21 pm

  52. Never thought I would ever say this about a commercial – but, when can we see a longer version ?

  53. Mike
    30 Jul 12
    1:55 pm

  54. “Australia’s unofficial national anthem Down Under…..” ??????????

    I think the correct response to that is: WTF???

    That could only have been written by someone who isn’t an Australian.

    Our national anthem, in the hearts of all Australians, is Waltzing Matilda.

    Nothing comes close to its power over the people, and their love for it.
    Nothing wrong with “Down Under” but it’s not even in the same galaxy as Waltzing Matilda. And I daresay it won’t be sung in a century’s time like WM is.

  55. Rob Da Bank
    30 Jul 12
    4:13 pm

  56. Maybe you are right Mike, but when I lived in England and also travelled through the Continent, Africa etc for Rugby and Football World Cups I never once heard WM belted out in a bar, pub, football ground or nightclub and saw the punters come simultaneously from from North, East, South and West to join in as one and sing WM… Down Under on the other hand caused a rapturous cheer and a stampede to the microphone, dancefloor or stage and every single time a truly lung busting rendition of DU was performed by all.

  57. LB
    31 Jul 12
    11:28 pm

  58. I first viewed the ad on this site, and have subsequently seen it many times on the Olympic coverage, as was Telstra’s intention. I love the idea of the ad, but can’t warm to it due to bitterness of the court case that engulfed this iconic song.
    Each time I see it, I can’t but help think how Greg Ham should be standing alongside Colin Hay, playing the riff that made the song.
    Larrikin Music, you have tainted this song forever, in so many ways

  59. Adrian Taylor
    8 Aug 12
    10:01 pm

  60. Great ad. Love seeing it.

  61. Nik Walker
    15 Aug 12
    2:37 pm

  62. Great add!