Meat & Livestock Australia has taken a novel new direction, while revisiting a much-loved old theme, with its latest summer barbecue season beef marketing campaign launched last night.
The theme of the broader campaign and the TV ad is designed around fostering public support for a petition to re-make the iconic 1970s tourism ad, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie,” to better reflect Australia’s love affair with beef during summer barbecue season.
“Join me, and sign the petition, to throw another Australian steak on the barbie,” well-known comedian Merrick Watts, from the duo, Merrick and Russo, implores viewers.
“This nation was built on beef, and we know how to barbie,” he says. “Nothing beats beef. And we don’t even call them shrimp.”
Australian Meat Industry Council’s national retail council chair, Ray Kelso, gave the new ad a thumbs-up after a first viewing.
“It’s about time we had a ballsy beef ad to match the strong lamb ads we have seen over the years,” Mr Kelso, a Brisbane retail butcher, said.
“I think the message in this latest ad is very clear and the finish was very strong. The in-store posters sent a simple message (buy steak), which I liked.”
“Will it sell more beef? I don’t know if this one ad will do that, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m hopeful this whole new campaign will give our beef sales a much needed boost,” Mr Kelso said.
MLA general manager marketing, Michael Edmonds, said the producer-owned company had set out to challenge itself and the creative agency involved (BMF) to 'beef things' up in the latest ad campaign.
"We're cogniscent of the fact that beef is under a lot of pressure on the domestic market, in what is now a very competitive environment. That means we have to continue to lift the bar, and that's what this ad is all about," he said.
"Our job is to put beef front and centre with our summer activity. Execution at retail is critical, and we are really looking at getting the support of all beef retailers behind this program, both independents and larger supermarket chains."
Displaying the formidable power of social media, You Tube viewings of the new MLA ad are already above 700,000. Sponsored You Tube links have been partly responsible for building that number, as well as awarenes through the MLA media and trade networks around Australia and overseas. The TV campaign will be backed by posters, in-store signage and other platforms.
There will also be a range of other activities, including encouraging consumers to 'vote' for the revision of the 'Shrimp' campaign on the MLA website, through channels like Facebook.
The new ad will screen on metropolitan and regional commercial TV channels over the summer barbecue season.
As well as a 'significant' budget directed at the p[rogram from MLA marketing channels, the campaign is also receiving MSA support, the ad for which will run again in February.
Depending on the success of the initial BBQ ad, Merrick Watts may be adopted as a more 'regular' character around which MLA may build more beef campaigns, just as it has in lamb with Sam Kekovich.
As described in earlier Beef Central reports, MLA's future messaging about nutrition will no longer use a spokesperson (previously actor, Sam Neill), and will become a much more 'grassroots' campaign, centred around information contained on MLA's The Main Meal website, accessible here.
"Nutrition support is very important, as it is a big motivating factor to purchase beef, but we found having multiple messages 'above the line' as the previous campaigns did was just too confusing," Mr Edmonds said.
"Our research showed we are much better to support activities below the line, at a more fundamental level."