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The ‘extraordinary story’ behind the Paul Hogan campaign that became a ‘sadly iconic brand’ in Australia

We all remember iconic Australian actor Paul Hogan’s ‘Shrimp on the barbie’ campaign, but another one was arguably more successful for the wrong reasons.

Ahead of his appearance at next week’s Mumbrella360, where he will deliver the keynote, Six Red Hot Marketing Ideas from the 1980s, comedian and presenter Tim Ross joined Mumbrella’s one-on-one podcast series where he discussed what attendees can expect.

Ross teased a talking point about Hogan’s impact in advertising, not through the ‘Shrimp on the barbie’ campaign, but an earlier one which he argues was “probably in some ways more successful and certainly more sinister and shows the power of a huge personality to sell something that’s not grouse”.

Prior to blowing up globally as the star of Crocodile Dundee, Hogan was already a household name in Australia thanks to the success of comedy series, The Paul Hogan Show. In the late 70s, he fronted a campaign for Winfield cigarettes which Ross noted was the highest selling cigarette within a year of the campaign launching.

“The Americans had to send — from Marlborough — people out to work out what exactly had happened in Australia,” Ross explained.

“People don’t smoke so much anymore, but the concept of Winnie Reds or Winnie Blues is so deeply embedded… in our culture. Hoges’ power as a personality to launch a brand so successfully, using the TV, on ads, telling us that smokes are great for us, and using his theme from his TV show. I mean, it’s from another planet now to look back at it.

“[It’s an] extraordinary story to think that you can launch a product out of the blue in one market with a brand new brand and his power was enough to see it through for years that became, you know, a sadly iconic brand in this country.”

Listen to the full episode with Ross here.

To get your tickets to Mumbrella360, click here.

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