SBS draws on national anthem to promote new documentary series

punchbowl 2SBS has kicked off a new campaign to promote its new TV documentary series ‘Once Upon A Time in Punchbowl’, a series telling the story of how the Lebanese community found their place in multicultural Australia.

The campaign, conceived and designed by SBS’s in-house creative team, features one face split into two – with one half of Lebanese origin and the other of Anglo Australian origin to highlight the key theme of the documentary series, the question of identity.

The TV promo, central to the campaign, uses the second verse of the Australian national anthem – “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share” – juxtaposed against a backdrop of media coverage highlighting strained Anglo-Lebanese relations in Australia.

SBS Group marketing manager Katherine Raskob said in a statement: “SBS is keen to ensure the marketing for this landmark program is in keeping with its history of developing campaigns which are both provocative and compelling in the way they reflect the nature of the stories SBS has a tradition of telling, that no other broadcaster can or will.”

The multi-platform campaign consists of a TV promo, billboards on bus and railway shelters and other outdoor ads throughout Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

SBS creative director Nol Davis said in a statement: “To match this daring commissioning, the creative took on the big themes of national identity, face values and the human need to belong. It is marketing with risk and relevance that reaffirms SBS’s core values with what it means to be a modern Australian.”

The campaign launched on SBS TV last week and will continue to roll out during December and January in the lead-up to the series premiere at 8.30pm 7 January on SBS One.


  1. Bongo
    12 Dec 13
    6:34 pm

  2. Let’s hope that for balance it properly highlights the immense contribution made to the Australian prison population.

  3. Adam Joseph
    12 Dec 13
    9:20 pm

  4. WAY off base, Bongo. As Scott Morrison highlighted to a community gathering during the 2013 election campaign earlier this year, migrants and their offspring are under represented in prisons and over represented in higher education (that’s to say, compared to the national average). The great thing about Renata Gombac’s first installment “Once Upon A Time In Cabramatta” was that it reinforced the need for migrant support services, which were lacking when Malcolm Fraser opened Australia’s doors to Vietnamese refugees. Lebanese Muslims do a hell of a lot of good in Australia that goes unrecognized, and organisations like the LMA are invaluable to social cohesion. Morrison’s annual “mateship treck” to bring together Muslim and non-Muslim kids is similarly worthwhile in dispelling these stereotypes.

  5. Daniel
    13 Dec 13
    9:52 am

  6. Hope it also highlights the increase in gun violence and violent gang assaults.

  7. Andrew Montell
    13 Dec 13
    12:07 pm

  8. Typical commentary from Australia’s whitewashed and segregated media industry types (Adam Joseph excluded). It’s amazing to me that people still try to argue we’re not a racist country. Sad.

  9. Spin
    13 Dec 13
    12:14 pm

  10. The best thing SBS ever did for multiculturalism was engaging Paul Fenech… He’s done more to bring together all sides of the cultural divide. Think Housos and Swift & Shift Courier. Humour is key!

  11. Adam Joseph
    13 Dec 13
    3:16 pm

  12. It’s quite sad, Andrew. And the only way to overcome it is through cross cultural engagement and awareness, fostered institutions like SBS: