MLA goes West Side Story with musical satire on Australia’s Culture Wars

The wars between Australia’s left and right have been turned into a Broadway-style musical in Meat & Livestock Australia’s annual Summer Lamb campaign.

The singing and dancing “Lamb Side Story” includes a version running to nearly three minutes. The pastiche on the 1961 musical West Side Story is set up for viewers by a suburban mother cooking lamb for her kids on a barbecue before urging them:

“Quick kids – go inside. It’s the extreme left and right wing commentators represented as Broadway musical style street gangs – a satirical commentary on our current divided political climate.”

The campaign has once again been created by The Monkeys and directed by Paul Middleditch – who said last year that making the previous MLA summer campaign based on controversy around the date of Australia Day was one of the proudest moments of his life.

The ad features the right wingers dressed in blue – singing “If you are right, your are right about every single issue” – while the left, dressed in pink, hit back on equal rights and climate change.


“Stop with with your political correctness, now we can’t even celebrate Christmas,” the right wingers then counter.

The ad once again features a cameo from Sam Kekovich, who kicked off the MLA’s summer campaign – then centred on Australia Day – more than a decade ago.

“Well I’m to scared to cause offence, that’s why I’m sitting on the fence,” a man sitting on a white picket fence responds before Kekovich squirts him with a hose and tells him to get off his fence.

Kekovich’s cameo continues his long association with the MLA summer campaign

The ad ends with both groups agreeing to enjoy a barbecue together.

Scott Nowell, co-founder and chief creative officer at The Monkeys, said in a press release: “There’s nothing like lamb and dancing to bring people with various levels of outrage together.”

MLA chief marketing officer Lisa Sharp said: “Lamb as a brand stands for unity and this latest campaign shines a light on what unites us rather than divides us. We are celebrating our nation’s ability to put aside our differences and join together over our love of lamb, the meat that brings everyone to the table.”

The new ‘Lamb Side Story’ ad is the first campaign to be released following the departure of MLA’s previous lead marketer, Andrew Howie, who left in October last year to join Westpac as its head of advertising.

The campaign is set to run across digital, social, television and cinema.

The Nova Network and The Beetoota Advocate will support the campaign by encouraging Australians to embrace ‘Lambnesty’ and put aside their differences.

The new campaign is a continuation of MLA’s ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ brand positioning which includes last year’s Australia Day Lamb campaign and its controversial Spring Lamb campaign which featured religious figures and aliens all sharing lamb in a non-religious woman’s backyard. The campaign was eventually banned by the Advertising Standards Board  because of the offence it caused to Hindus by showing the vegetarian Lord Ganesha eating meat.

West End Story:

The ad is not the first time MLA has taken a musical approach. Last July, MLA promoted beef with a troupe of singing butchers.

MLA – Chief Marketing Office – Lisa Sharp
MLA – Brand Manager – Anna Sharp
MLA – Acting Brand Manager- Rebecca Tearle
MLA – Assistant Brand Manager – Jasmin Koch
Creative Agency – The Monkeys
Executive Creative Director / Partner – Scott Nowell
Creative Director – Scott Dettrick
Art Director – Scott Zuliani
Copywriter – Tim Pashen
Head of Planning – Michael Hogg
Planner – Charlotte Marshall
Head of Production – Thea Carone
Senior Producer – Jade Rodriguez
Group Content Director – Humphrey Taylor
Senior Content Director – Katie Wong-Hee
Content Manager – Victoria Zourkas
Content Executive – Will Davies
Production Company – Plaza Films
Director – Paul Middleditch
Executive Producer – Peter Masterton
Producer – Alex Taussig
DOP – Daniel Ardilli
Post Production – The Editors
Editor – Stu Morley
Sound house – Song Zu
Composer – Remesh Sathiah
Media Agency – UM
Group Director – Mike Worden
Senior Client Director – Tim Rogers
Sydney Strategy Director – Chris Colter
Strategy Director – David Toussaint
Partnerships Manager: – Jessica Ngu
Partnership Trader – Emily Ng
PR Agency – One Green Bean


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