MLA’s Australia Day campaign moves away from Kekovich rant to a Richie Benaud BBQ

Meat and Livestock Australia are moving away from the Sam Kekovich rant style Australia Day campaigns with cricket legend Richie Benaud fronting this year’s campaign.

The change in tactics comes after the appointment of The Monkeys to the lamb account last year, with a brief to create a brand platform to transcend the year.

In the new ad released today Benaud recruits a number of national icons, past and present, to attend an Australia Day lamb barbecue.

Sam Kekovich still warrants  a place on Beanud’s invite list, along with the likes of Captain Cook, or ‘Cooky’, explorers Burke and Wills, bushranger Ned Kelly, cricketer Don Bradman and media icon Ita Buttrose. However when Billy Birmingham – best known for impersonating Benaud as the 12th Man – calls looking for an invite he’s bluntly shut down by the cricket legend.

It builds on the MLA’s spring lamb campaign, created by The Monkeys, which introduced the tagline ‘You Never Lamb Alone’.

Speaking to Mumbrella, MLA general manager of global marketing Micahel Edmonds said it was time for a change and the brief given to The Monkeys was to establish a new platform that can transcend the year.

“This is our 11th year now,” he said. “We’ve created a real occasion for people to enjoy lamb, it’s very unAustralian not to have lamb on Australia Day now, but with that comes an expectation that we’re going to do something pretty exciting each year.

“We decided it was time to move away from Sam’s Rant, which has obviously been very successful and we’ve extended it pretty well for 10 years but we need something new.

With The Monkeys, and also One Green Bean our PR agency and together with UM who were retained, the brief to these guys was to establish a new platform for lamb that really could transcend the year and together we’ve worked up a new brand platform that’s represented by the line ‘You Never Lamb Alone’.

“It was really important to evolve Australia Day away from the rant but to also have a theme that we can carry throughout the year,” Edmonds added.

The Monkeys ECD Scott Nowell said the MLA tasked the agency with creating “something that wasn’t focused solely around Sam”.

“The concept came first,” he said. “The concept of a legendary Australian organising a barbecue with every legendary Australian we could think of.  Richie Benaud is just that legendary figure.”

Buts while the client wanted a fresh approach, it was made clear there would be a limited budget for it to be created on.

“It’s not just about about evolving away from the rant, something new and fresh and exciting, because underlying this from a marketing strategy point of view, money is limited and the cost of reaching consumers is increasing so we needed a consistent approach across the year through all our different campaigns,” Edmonds said.

Despite his limited role in the new campaign Kekovich will remain as the Lambassador and operating in the field, working with farmers as the face of lamb for the MLA.

“It was really important actually because it has been so successful for so long,” Edmonds said when quizzed on keeping Kekovich involved.

“Sam actually does a great job as lambassador for us out in the field. We’re funded by a levy from lamb and beef producers and Sam gets out there to a lot of events. He really is still the face of lamb and lamb advertising amongst our stakeholders which is really important. He is going to continue that role.”

On the choice of cricket legend Richie Benaud as this year’s frontman Edmonds said: “We just felt cricket was an iconic thing, it’s really popular at this time of year. Richie is an iconic Australia, it just felt right that we do something around that.”

Nowell said Beanud was “perfect for the role”.

“He’s such a loved figure, he’s the voice of summer”.

But on using him again in next year’s Australia Day campaign Nowell was cagey, saying the campaign was about the idea and not a personality.

“The idea is ‘Never Lamb Alone’, it’s not a person. We want the idea to be stronger than one personality so it can carry across the year so it’s not just a one hit thing during the year, we can keep it going,” he said.

The lamb account was shifted away from BMF to The Monkeys in September following a pitch in May but Edmonds stressed the organisation is still working closely with BMF, which retained the beef account.

“We’re still working really closely with BMF and they’re working on a really important program with beef,” he said.

“We just felt that it was time for a review, so we conducted a review last year, BMF were part of the process. We were keen to inject something new and we were impressed with what The Monkeys have done and they way they approach things, so we got them on board. And so far, so good.”

Nowell said they won the lamb account off the back of the ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ idea, and when presented with a pitch for the Australia Day work they applied that line.

“When we looked at the pitch for Australia Day we used that line and thought what’s the biggest and best way to get that across,” he said.

The ad was directed by Tom Noakes who directed the Finger Cleaner ad which was a finalist in last year’s Doritos Crash the Super Bowl competition.

“The director Tom Noakes did a wonderful job. That was a great collaboration,” Nowell said.

“He’s a young guy who wants to make his mark and he brought a lot to the equation.”

The campaign is complemented by a competition in which ten viewers, along with two of their mates, could win tickets to attend a BBQ to meet Benaud. To win viewers need to upload an impersonation of Benaud’s lamb BBQ call “Top Lamb Chop That!” to the We Love our Lamb Facebook page.

Last year’s Australia Day campaign saw Kekovich urge parents to teach their offspring that lamb is the official dish for Australians, and features a giant baby stomping someone asking for tofu.

Previous Australia Day campaigns:

2015 Australia Day campaign Credits:

  • MLA Marketing Manager – Andrew Howie
  • MLA Brand Manager – Lamb – Magali Nonnenmacher
  • PR Agency – One Green Bean
  • Media Agency – UM
  • Advertising Agency – The Monkeys
  • ECD: Scott Nowell
  • Managing Director: Matt Michael
  • Senior Planner: Michael Hogg
  • Head of Production – Thea Carone
  • Senior Producer: Jade Rodriguez
  • Senior Content Manager: Katie Wong-Hee
  • Production company: Photoplay
  • Director: Tom Noakes
  • Producer: Belinda Dean
  • DOP – James Brown
  • Post House: FSM
  • Editor – Stuart Morley
  • Composer – Damian De Boos-Smith
  • Sound House – Nylon Studios

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