Wine brand Yellow Tail has courted cries of “cultural cringe” with its Super Bowl ad – the first ever by an Australian company – with the 30-second spot said to have “humiliated” and “embarrassed” Australian viewers.
The ad, which was screened during coveted Super Bowl airtime in local US markets, features an animatronic kangaroo flipping meat on a barbecue and an Australian actress in a bikini.
It is presented by a man in a yellow suit, dubbed Yellow Tail Guy, who asks the female actress, model Ellie Gonsalves, as she passes on the beach: “Wanna pet my roo?”
Directed by Dutch-Norwegian Hollywood director Harald Zwart, whose credits include The Pink Panther 2 and a remake of The Karate Kid, the ad quickly had viewers crying “cultural cringe”, with many unhappy with the stereotypical portrayal of Australian life.
The Yellowtail Super Bowl ad humiliated my country more than Trump ever could.
— Steve Hind (@stevehind) February 6, 2017
OMFG, that Yellow Tail wine ad.
On behalf of Australia, we apologise.
— Peter Phelps MLC (@PeterPhelpsMLC) February 6, 2017
— Kelly (@divabooknerd) February 6, 2017
It's been a rough week for Australia but surely that Yellow Tail #SuperBowl Ad with the DJing kangaroo was the low point.
— Josephine Tovey (@Jo_Tovey) February 6, 2017
The commercial was the first wine ad to be shown during US sport’s biggest event in 40 years, with the Super Bowl more commonly associated with beer.
Australian National University marketing lecturer Dr Andrew Hughes said the ad may have achieved awareness for the brand. But he questioned its overall effectiveness.
“In terms of getting likability towards the brand in America and getting people swayed by it, I don’t think it will be that effective,” he said.
“I think there’s too many cliches and stereotypes in there. You’ve got to be more thoughtful and creative with your campaigns nowadays.
“My first thought was maybe it was trying to cut and paste that Paul Hogan, ‘Put another shrimp on the barbie’, sort of thing. The thing is, times have changed, people have changed.”
Watch the controversial advert below:
The company aimed to promote the idea that wine can be about fun and is a good choice for events such as the Super Bowl, usually associated with beer, according to USA Today.
But Dr Hughes said the ad had struggled to walk the fine line between appealing to an international audience without alienating a local market.
“It’s cute, and it might be designed more to get a reaction than to get a behaviour change,” he said.
“I can understand why an Australian brand might want to advertise on the Super Bowl. It’s very hard to crack the US market.
“[But] they’ve upset us back here, undoubtedly. They’ve upset one market to try and please another who may not like the product anyway.”
Super Bowl commercials are always highly anticipated, with companies spending millions of dollars to create memorable campaign and purchase airtime during one of world’s most watched television events.
A 30-second spot during this year’s event cost companies $US5 million ($6.5 million), at $166,667 per second, according to Fortune.
“People know companies spend a lot of money on these ads so they will be really good, not your local, run-of-the-mill ads,” Dr Hughes said.