Sam Neill gets the chop by Meat & Livestock Australia

Hollywood actor Sam Neill has been axed by Meat & Livestock Australia after seven years as the brand ambassador and star of MLA’s much-loved TV commercials for red meat.

The decision to drop the Jurassic Park, Event Horizon and The Piano star was made because Neill was contracted to feature only in TV ads – and MLA increasingly uses other forms of media.

MLA’s group marketing director Andrew Cox told Mumbrella: “Sam only wanted to appear on TV. Which meant we couldn’t take the campaign into other media. Just doing TV worked fine in 2005. But seven years is a long time in media. And we need to be able to execute our nutrition campaign at a grass roots level using other channels.”

Cox added that Neill’s time as the face of MLA had “run its course” and the brand is not looking for a replacement spokesman.

“Sam has done great things for our brand. He’s had an amazing impact. In the earlier days, he was the foundation of our nutritional messaging for red meat. But the association has run its course.”

In Neill’s last appearance for MLA, he plays a newsreader in the ‘Stay Ready, Australia’ campaign. The agency behind the ad was Host, which won the business from Brand Council in 2010.

Neill was signed by MLA to be the face of red meat in 2005, when red meat was under fire from health critics on nutrition grounds.

The advertiser wanted to build on its successful ‘Dancing Butcher’ campaign and get the message across that red meat has been a part of the human diet since humans first evolved.

The Jurassic Park actor was chosen to front the campaign, through ad agency The Campaign Palace, and starred in a number of popular spots for red meat.

Sam Neill’s most recent appearance on Australian TV was in Nine’s prison drama Alcatraz, which was axed after its first season by program maker Fox.


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