SOUTHERN lamb producers querying the validity of featuring Queensland in Meat & Livestock Australia’s latest Summer Lamb ad need not be too concerned, according to Sheep Producers Australia chief executive officer Stephen Crisp.
The ad footage shows an elderly NSW shopper being tempted by the scent of cooking lamb through a crack in a wall between Australia’s most populous sheep state in New South Wales and Queensland – a state recently ranking with Tasmania as having the least sheep in the nation.
In the ad, the crack in the wall becomes a hole with the help of a NSW wall security guard and then the NSW shopper is tempted to take a bite from a barbecued lamb chop held through the hole, stating later that he “just wanted some lamb.” After a mob of lamb lovers then breaches the wall a momentous cross-border barbecue ensues.
Building on the ‘Share the Lamb’ brand platform, the integrated campaign reflects upon 2020 as a pivotal time in our history where, for the first time, Australia was physically distanced due to the pandemic.
The new TV advert takes viewers to the year 2031 – where division between states has escalated to new heights and a once united nation is separated by a great wall, towering over every state border – offering a tongue-in-cheek look at what could be if state borders are shut for good.
Some people on social media queried the elevation of Queensland as the source of quality lamb in the ad, rather than the big sheep states of Victoria and NSW after the ad’s release this week, but Mr Crisp said it was good to see Queensland featured.
He said Queensland was coming off a very low base in sheep numbers, but was going through a very aggressive restocking program.
“So I don’t think it is such a bad thing to promote that there is lamb in Queensland.”
Mr Crisp said he is a New South Welshman, who has spent 20 years working in Queensland.
“I don’t see it as a bad thing because Queensland has always been a very beef-dominated state and the fact that this highlights that sheep are making a comeback up there is a good thing.
“And they’ve got the NSW-Victorian border represented there with the same issues, even though we can all eat our own lamb in those states,” he said.
“We obviously note things like that because we are part of the industry and we see things like that and might think it’s strange, but I don’t think the average person looking at the ad would have a clue where most of the lamb originates from.
“Queensland always sees itself as the beef capital and sticking a bit of lamb in their home state is probably a good thing.”
Mr Crisp said “it’s a good ad.”
“After a couple of patchy years, it’s a really good return to form and that’s what we hoped for and that’s what we got.
“So we are really happy with the ad this year and I think everyone should take the shots at the Western Australians and the Tasmanians in the spirit in which it is intended,” he said.
“And I hope Scott Morrison takes it in the same vein, because there are some serious issue behind it all, but we needed a laugh and I think they have provided it this time around.”
South-west lamb producer Georgina Gubbins said she would have preferred the ad had focussed on the “powerhouse” quality lamb-producing states.
“It was sad that they didn’t use (the border) between Victoria and New South Wales, or Victoria and Tasmania — because they are more the lamb powerhouse states.
“I think that would have been a better way of doing it.”
Ad used NSW lamb – MLA
MLA’s domestic market manager Graeme Yardy, said the Summer Lamb campaign for 2021 is off to a fantastic start and he hoped lamb producers were really proud of it.
“The overall response and sentiment from media and consumers has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Many are hailing the advert as the ‘best one yet’ with the video trending number one on YouTube with over 1 million views on Youtube and Facebook,” he said.
“It’s great to see many of the comments on social media saying the advert has inspired them to head out and purchase lamb.
“Much of the conversation has been around unity and the Aussie spirit, which is the outcome we hoped for.”
Mr Yardy said the advert was set on the NSW/Queensland border as it’s one of the most populous border geographies.
“It was also a convenient setting to land some of the more obvious state rivalry jokes that have hit a chord with consumers since the advert was launched.
“In general, Australians have little awareness of sheep flock numbers per state, so this was never a consideration,” he said.
“For many consumers, top quality Aussie lamb is top quality Aussie lamb, regardless of its origin.”
Mt Yardy said the choice of setting for the advert has not been a conversation, and all those at MLA are delighted to have captured the tone of the nation and brought some laughter to many after a tough year.
“And for the record, the lamb featured in the advert was from a butcher in the Southern Highlands of NSW, where the advert was filmed.”
The campaign runs for a further six weeks, with ongoing and new activations appearing across a number of channels, including billboards later in January. To keep lamb top of mind and drive sales, the campaign will also connect with consumers along the ‘path to purchase’ with digital screens in retail outlets that are product-focused and deliver meal inspiration.