Every year, Meat and Livestock Australia treat us to a new advert to promote the consumption of lamb as the weather heats up and, over the years, the tongue-in-cheek adverts have become a staple of the Aussie summer.
Previous ads have poked fun at the nation’s sporting antics, politics and even suggested that Australia should merge with New Zealand to create the best country on Earth, but this year’s offering has divided opinion, with some even branding it the “worst advert they’ve ever seen”.
The new campaign focuses on a tech company, named Lambalytica HQ, that appears to be hacking into people’s mobile phones and spying on them in a bid to draw their attention away from the devices and increase the country’s “togetherness”.
“The Lambalytica algorithm scrapes the data of the entire country, then hacks peoples devices to actually bring them together, face to face,” a female worker says. “The science has proven it’s Australia’s only hope,” a scientist adds.
From forcably showing a husband and wife their wedding video to trigger conversation, to stopping a pair of Millennial girls from posting on social media, the advert – titled ‘Lamb. The Original Social Feed – makes light of people’s addictions to their mobile phones in the modern age.
It then shows a number of phone screens flickering before displaying the Lambalytica logo, as flocks of people then aimlessly follow their devices to an unknown location. Lamb ad veteran Sam Kekovich also makes a short but sweet appearance as the star of a video game who tells a teenage boy: “Game over mate, we’re going to a barbecue.”
The advert comes to an end with friends and family coming together to “talk with their mouths” at a traditional Aussie BBQ, before the scientist at HQ declares that Australia has “just gone to number one on the togetherness index”.
The advert has received mixed reviews though, with 3AW Mornings TV expert Jane Holmes telling Neil Mitchell that it is possibly the “worst advert she has ever seen”. She said: “If it convinces one person to accidentally buy lamb, I will be surprised.”
Many people chimed in with their opinions on Twitter, with one saying: “What a crap waste of my money.” Another wrote: “That’s about 2 out of 10 compared to previous ones.”
While another disappointed viewer suggested that the adverts have been on a downward trajectory since 2016, describing every ad since as “Woke” – meaning to be conscious of social injustice – adding that they “briefly, rarely mentioned Lamb“.
However others thought the advert successfully made light of a major societal habit, as one person wrote: “It’s a great ad! Making fun of our tech obsession, which is a real problem, while still keeping to the larrikinism that the ads have always been known for. I guess Karl doesn’t like people to get off their phones.”
Another commented: “Love the new Lamb ad!”
Last year’s advert used the natural spirit of competition between Australia and New Zealand as the basis for the video, suggesting that the country would be much better off if we formally united with our neighbours across the Tasman.
The 2019 campaign called for Aussies and Kiwis to bond over a lamb meal and began with the nation’s first PM finalising the constitution act in 1900. Fast forward to modern days, it then showed an MP explaining that Australia has lost its way as a nation. He said: “We used to be the greatest country on earth, but we have lost the plot. Cheating at sport, can’t even hang on to a prime minister.”
Hilariously, a portrait of former PM Malcolm Turnbull could also be seen being taken off the wall.
“There’s only one obvious solution, don’t you think?” another MP said. “We finally make New Zealand part of us!”