MLA Australia Day ad generates just five complaints to watchdog

A year after Meat& Livestock Australia’s Operation Boomerang Australia Day ad generated hundreds of complaints to the advertising watchdog, this year’s version – the most political in the campaign’s history – has provoked just five.

MLA's latest "Australia Day" ad has generated few official complaints.

MLA’s latest “Australia Day” ad has generated few official complaints.

Mumbrella can reveal the campaign, which has garnered widespread media coverage and generated heated debate about the decision not to mention Australia Day, has failed to bother administrators at the Advertising Standards Board.

And a spokesperson for the ASB has confirmed that it will not hear any of the complaints received so far as they do not fall within the remit of the ASB which covers sex, violence, safety, taste and decency.

Just last year the MLA ad featuring SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin generated hundreds of complaints about a scene where a vegan’s kale is incinerated by commandos, forcing the ASB to hold an urgent hearing into the ad.

The complaints covered a number of issues including claims of discrimination, violence and health and safety.

A flamethrower scene in the 2016 campaign provoked hundreds of complaints.

A flamethrower scene in the 2016 campaign provoked hundreds of complaints.

The ad was the second-most complained about of 2016, with the TV version attracting 376 complaints, while the online version attracted a further 241 complaints.

Complaints about both versions were dismissed but the ASB was forced to release three separate reports totalling 140 pages explaining its decisions.

The 2017 campaign avoids the use of the phrase “Australia Day” altogether and focuses on the idea of welcoming boat people in what has been interpreted by some as a direct attack on current federal government immigration policy.

The decision not to acknowledge Australia Day for the first time in the campaign is also a reflection of the way in which some indigenous Australians perceive the national holiday.

However, the decision to have indigenous Australians welcoming the First Fleet to a beach barbecue has angered some indigenous leaders who have described the ad as “highly offensive”.

The ad suggests all Australians are boat people.

The ad suggests all Australians are boat people.

MLA’s ad, created by The Monkeys, this time avoids attacking vegetarians and vegans, a common theme of the campaigns since they were first launched with Sam Kekovich as the spokesperson in 2005.

As a trio of vegans walk up the beach, one of the cast asks “Should we crack a vegan joke?” before the other replies “Nah”.


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