I’m heading off on a well-earned late summer break to Sydney this week. Aside from the obvious allure of summer, sunshine and the potential for some quality Aussie hospitality, I’m very much looking forward to seeing some new examples of the magnificent bluntness of Australian advertising.
I should say at this point, that my partner is Australian, so she’s told me many advertising slogans she grew up with. And they do have a brilliant straightforwardness to them that can sometimes be lost in British advertising. Australians will never shy away from telling you exactly what you’re buying, without all this messing around with subtext and inferred meanings.
My all-time favourite has to be the 1980s slogan ‘Pork. The Other White Meat.’ – a strapline promoting pork as an alternative to chicken and encouraging those strapping Aussies to eat more pigs. What I like about that slogan is the simplicity. You can almost image the scene at the agency as they sat down for the initial editorial brainstorm:
‘Hey, John, what’s this we’re trying to flog today, mate?’
‘Looks like it’s pork. You know, the other white meat’
‘That’s a beauty. Let’s roll with that’
‘Pork. The Other White Meat. I like it!’
‘Why not, eh. We deserve it after all that hard work …’
No time has been wasted, no ‘artiness’ has been inserted. To use the Thomson’s Woodseal approach, it does what it says on the tin.
I’m looking forward to finding some new examples of this most frank of advertising copy. And this approach to ‘telling it like it is’ doesn’t just stop with advertising. I was watching ‘8 Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown’ last week on Channel 4, and the Australian comic Adam Hills let on that the Australian version of ‘Countdown’ is actually called ‘Letters and Numbers’ – you’ve got to admire that. That’s exactly what the show is about; letters and numbers. Why mess around calling it something else. God bless you, Australia.