The latest lamb ad campaign from Meat and Livestock Australia is being skewered by critics.
Always much anticipated, the latest offering has been deemed “terrible” by audiences for its Broadway-themed depiction of Australia’s warring left and right-wing factions.
The annual lamb ad typically reflects the country’s social climate – with mixed degrees of success – and this year’s is titled Lamb Side Story (a play on the 1950s musical West Side Story), featuring right and left-wing political commentators locked in a singing and dancing showdown.
The ad opens with a woman at a barbecue urging her children to go inside as both groups begin their meaty dance-off.
“Quick kids – go inside,” she says.
“It’s the extreme left and right-wing commentators represented as Broadway musical style street gangs – a satirical commentary on our current divided political climate.”
The ad also stars “Lambassador” Sam Kekovich as an angry neighbour who kicks one “fence-sitter” off his fence, plus a character many on social media are speculating is meant to be controversial far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.
The official description of the campaign declares: “In a diverse and free nation we are bound to have differences, however the content aims to shine a light on what unites us, rather than divides us, and celebrates Aussies putting their differences aside to come together over a ‘barbie’.”
i watched the lamb ad and have two conclusions: this boofhead is meant to be milo yiannopoulos … pic.twitter.com/ZoPfQRbNWE
— Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) January 10, 2018
Reaction to the ad has been mostly critical, with some people joking it’s an argument for going vegetarian or vegan.
“Amazing work from the lamb council people finally making an ad that everyone can hate equally,” one Twitter user joked.
The new lamb ad is officially the best argument for going vegetarian.
— Nic Healey: a stable and, like, smart Orc. (@dr_nic) January 10, 2018
Hot take: new lamb ad is bad.
— Angus Randall (@angusrandall) January 10, 2018
The new lamb ad is a bit much. pic.twitter.com/Z8OHECQ9LM
— Matt Burke (@matttburke) January 10, 2018
I just watched the terrible lamb ad and I think I'm a raw vegan now
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) January 10, 2018
There were a few fans of the ad, however, who argued it had nailed a “tough brief”.
Others pointed out people were taking it far too seriously, and, by discussing it, were only giving it free publicity.
“You do realise it’s just an ad and not a commentary on the existential political crisis gripping the nation via Leonard Bernstein don’t you?” asked one Twitter user.
Is the lamb ad bad in the sense of “most ads are bad and this is one of them” or in the sense of “I am a person who somehow thinks the political rectitude of lamb ads is important”?
— Ben Pobjie (@benpobjie) January 11, 2018
How many people would actually see the lamb ad if media didn't write stories about it
— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) January 10, 2018
Speaking to The New Daily about the ad’s critics, Kekovich said he felt the ad had done a good job of representing of the “state of confusion” in Australian politics.
“I think there’s a propensity to overdose on tolerance and political correctness but I’m not so sure that’s because we’re racist, or homophobic, or toxic in any way,” said Kekovich.
“I think there’s just naivety and ignorance in a lot of issues and I think we’re just going through some growing pains.”
While Kekovich is perhaps best known for the ‘Address to the Nation’ lamb ads, in which he berates viewers for being ‘un-Australian’, he conceded the changing social landscape called for a different approach.
“There may have been a shift in terms of delivery – no more me delivering rants – and the commercial has evolved as our nation has evolved, but the underlying message has always been that lamb is about rejoicing living in the best nation on the planet.”