Solving the mystery of Hunter Valley’s crop circles

Beef Central, 13/06/2014

Meat & Livestock Australia has claimed responsibility for the appearance of mysterious crop-circles in the Hunter Valley, as part of its latest campaign to promote beef this winter (click here to view Beef Central’s earlier pre-launch campaign story).

The oats-field mega artwork first appeared on Saturday and Meat & Livestock Australia’s domestic marketing manager Lachlan Bowtell has revealed it was created by UK crop circle artist, Julian Richardson, to represent the position of the planets at the exact moment of Australia’s winter solstice.

Hunter_Valley_Crop_circle(0004)However instead of the sun appearing at it’s centre, there’s an odd replacement – a standing beef rib roast.

“This activity is part of our newly launched Beef Oracle campaign,” Mr Bowtell told advertising industry trade journal, B&T.

“The Beef Oracle has been designed to educate and inspire Australians to cook more beef meals in winter. He knows what cuts to choose, what ingredients you require and the meals you crave,” Mr Bowtell said.

An ‘Oracle’, according to Wikipedia, is a person considered to dispense wise counsel or prophetic predictions, inspired by the gods.

“This crop circle was designed to introduce and attract attention to the Beef Oracle, positioned in the centre of the design. His message, communicated through this crop circle, is for all Australians to make sure they cook and enjoy a hearty beef winter meal to celebrate the longest night of the year – and to consult the oracle if you need help with going about it.”

In Australia the winter solstice will fall on Saturday, June 21.

“While beef remains the number one protein choice for Australians, it’s facing increasing competition from other protein sources, and we can’t be complacent about our spot at the top. Our research has found the range of beef cuts available can be confusing for consumers, when they are unsure of how to cook it correctly,” Mr Bowtell said.

“Greater cooking confidence, which comes with knowing how to match beef cut and cooking method, is linked to increased numbers of beef meals in the home kitchen. The Beef Oracle is here to help consumers navigate the beef cabinet confidently and instil a desire to prepare a wider variety of beef meals.”

More than 30% of consumers consider themselves low-confidence* cooks who would cook beef more often if they had greater confidence that they were buying the right cut and knew how to cook it.

Knowing this, Mr Bowtell said a full range of beef cuts and meals was being promoted. “While casseroles are an obvious go-to winter dish, we want to inspire consumers with more meal options like adding to their weekly spaghetti bolognese and turning mince into a meatball curry or chilli con carne for something different,” he said.

The Beef Oracle’s official website will go live on Monday, where consumers can interact online through hosted chat sessions with the ‘Oracle’ and find information on cuts, tips and recipe techniques.

The campaign runs until August, focusing on metropolitan areas in the major capital cities, and some regional centres including Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Newcastle, Dubbo, Bendigo and Rockhampton.

  • Click here to view the Hunter Valley crop circles on a Youtube video.
  • Click here to visit MLA’s Ask The Beef Oracle website, active from Monday


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