It’s summer, which means Australian Lamb—the meat lobby secretly running the federal government, probably—has released its annual summer lamb ad. Traditionally, said ad promotes the eating of lamb, that most beloved of national meats, using high production values and blatantly provocative attempts to stoke the flames of national debate and make barbecue culture go viral in the lead up to January 26.
Here it is:
A close reading reveals we’re looking at a numb suburban spoof of West Side Story, with a musical stand-off between Australia’s political left and right. Very YouTube circa 2008. The two sides are singing about their opposing stances on issues! Equal marriage, mainly. Climate change also gets a mention. There’s a blonde man in sunglasses who is clearly a stand-in for Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as some annoying inner-city white dude Greens voter types.
In the middle of it all stands a hapless woman with a cutesy pastel yellow barbecue that matches her dress who just wants us all to stop fighting and get along. As the YouTube description attests, “A lamb barbie can prove that what unites us is more delicious than what divides us. You Never Lamb Alone.”
The nice blonde lady with lamb skewers sizzling on her Weber who doesn’t want to talk about nasty divisive social issues represents, I guess, the apathetic Australian political centre. The average Australian voter who doesn’t feel the need to educate themselves about anything that’s going on, who doesn’t discuss politics over the dinner table, who enjoys enough middle class privilege that she doesn’t actually need to worry about who is in power anyway because her rights will literally never be put under threat. The everyday Australian who votes for whoever Sunrise tells them to.
Each year, the summer lamb video aims to tune in with the Australian zeitgeist. I reckon 2018’s ad agency did a great job.
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