From Louie the Fly to sic ’em Rex: The best Aussie ads

Sep 20, 2020
Some of the best Aussie ads, like Mortein's Louie the fly and Antz Pantz Holeproof, are still popular today. Source: Youtube

After last weekend’s round of AFL (August at the time of writing), a friend was gloating online about his team’s win, but I think the Covid-19 version of footy this year isn’t quite the real deal.

This prompted me to write: “It’s not NOT football, it’s hard football. But hey, what are you, the football police?”

And he didn’t have a clue what I was on about! Luckily his friend Barry jumped into the fray with a clip of those fabulous Audible ads with Celeste Barber. “Doesn’t smell like a cuppa tea,” says her bed partner. “Well,” she says, “it’s not not tea. It’s hard tea. What are you, the tea police?” Barry reckons it’s the funniest saying he’s ever heard.

Which brings me to the point of this article. Considering those of us who read Starts at 60 have been around since TV was introduced in Australia, we’ve had time to absorbed some truly iconic adverts, some of which have impressed themselves so deeply into our psyche that they have become entrenched into the Aussie vernacular.

The Yellow Pages phone directory ad “Not Happy Jan!” is still referenced today, despite being released more than 20 years ago.

Here are some of my other favourites in no particular order.

Meadow Lea margarine: “You oughta be congratulated.”
Colgate toothpaste with Mrs Marsh: “It does get in!”
Palmolive dishwashing liquid with Madge: “You’re soaking in it.”
Cancer Council: “Slip Slop Slap”.
Victoria Bitters with John Meillon: “Matter of fact, I’ve got it now …”
Holeproof for Antz Pantz: “Sic ‘em, Rex”.
Transport Accident Commission: “If you drink, then drive, you’re a bloody idiot.”
Australian Government: “Life. Be in it.”
AAMI with Rhonda and Ketut: “You look so hot today, Rhonda. Like a sunrise.”
Australian Tourism Commission with Paul Hogan: “Slip an extra shrimp on the barbie.”

And we can’t forget the classic jingles that are still hummed around many Aussie homes today.

Happy Little Vegemites first went to air as a radio jingle in 1954 and when television burst into Australian homes to bring the Melbourne 1956 Olympics to lounge rooms across the country, it became a much loved tv ad.

Louie the fly helped ingrain the Mortein’s slogan, “More smart, more safe, Mortein” into our heads for years to come.

The Aeroplane Jelly jingle, which was first recorded in 1938, is still a favourite all these years later.

We can’t forget cricket’s C’mon Aussie C’mon or Up There Cazaly for AFL. They’re both still playing them some 30 years later.

It’s Time launched the Australian Labor Party into power in 1972.

One of the most enduring ads has to be Qantas’ remake of Peter Allan’s Still Call Australia Home. The 1998 ad featured the Australian Girls Choir and National Boys Choir and it’s still hard not to get a tear in your eye when watching it.


My personal all-time favourite though is the 1999 New Zealand ad that was immediately adopted as Australian – the Toyota “Bugger” ad.

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