It’s the 60th anniversary of TV in Australia TODAY! And to celebrate, Think TV boss Kim Portrate has come up with her top 10 list of all-time great Aussie ads for B&T readers. Enjoy (although, sadly, there’s no cake)…
10.”Louie The Fly” for Mortein
The loveable pest first landed on Australian TV screens in 1957 – straight from the rubbish tip to you – accompanied by an irresistible jazz jingle created by the late ad-man and novelist Bryce Courtenay, along with Brian Henderson and Jean Tych. Louie buzzed his way into viewers’ collective fear of creepy crawlies and germs, where he resides to this day. He earned his own spin-off cartoon series in Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper at one point and has proved a persistently effective messenger for the household insecticide brand.
9. “I Still Call Australia Home” for Qantas
John Singleton and Mojo’s epic re-imagining of Peter Allen’s nostalgic paean to Down Under, inspired by then-Qantas boss Geoff Dixon hearing the National Boys Choir performing Christmas carols in Canberra, tugged at the heartstrings of Australians at home and overseas, their families alike and millions of others besides. The enduring campaign has been reworked many times, running for more than a decade after its first airing in 1998.
8. “I Like Aeroplane Jelly”
Creator Bert Appleroth’s sugary treat was a marketing sensation before television and has remained so, helped by a procession of iconic TV ads, first created Les Wood and Albert Lenertz and later adapted by Reg Hepworth. Its jaunty jingle was stamped deep into our subconscious thanks to a strategic decision to roadblock airtime. The product’s original image and branding has remained steady for its nine decades, a testament to the power of pioneering TV ads like 1956’s ‘Girl On Swing’ and ‘Bertie’ the aeroplane.
7. “You Oughta Be Congratulated” for Meadow Lea margarine
The brainchild of Alan Morris and Alan Johnston – the “Mo” and “Jo” of Sydney’s Mojo – the campaign became one of the most successful campaigns of its time, starting in 1977. The gentle harmonic country-rock jingle, played over scenes of wholesome family togetherness, evoked warm feelings and had a homely lyric that acknowledged Australia’s mums. It also featured one of the few words in the English language that rhymed with “polyunsaturated”.
6. “De-de-de-Decore” for Decore
This classic comedic ad from 1988, showing people of all ages lip synching and goofing off in the shower while shampooing their hair with Decore, pre-dated James Corden’s carpool Karaoke and Aussie YouTube stars SketchSHE by nearly three decades. Creative agency Magnus Nankervis & Curl tapped into a classic guilty pleasure – singing in the shower – the jingle used a parody of a classic Gene Chandler doo-wop hit “Duke Of Earl” that you couldn’t get out of your hair.
5. “Which Bank?” for Commonwealth Bank.
Another 1980s classic series, this time from Saatchi & Saatchi, that ran beyond that decade, featuring rapid fire scenes of different pairs of actors in various comedic and cute scenarios asking each other questions, such as “which bank has the highest credit rating the world?” and being told each time, “the Commonwealth Bank”. And an ear worm was born.
4. “Memories” for OTC
In 1977 the Overseas Telecommunications Commission made an unlikely leap into our hearts with ad that played upon every migrant’s nostalgia for their homeland overseas. Featuring a version of the sentimental ballad “The Way We Were”, the ad, created by George Patterson, closed with irresistible pay-off: “When you’re thinking of home. Go home… on the telephone”. It was the first Australian commercial to ever win the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions.
3. Spring Lamb 2016 – You’ll Never Lamb Alone – Meat and Livestock Australia
Meat and Livestock Australia’s Australia Day ad “Operation Boomerang” was slammed by some for mocking vegans and being insensitive to Indigenous people, but won awards and generated a 39.5 per cent sales lift versus the weekly average, for the week of Australia Day, according to the MLA. The follow up ad, also by The Monkeys advertising agency in Sydney, is a modern comic Aussie classic, featuring transgender comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, two actors playing gay dads and a flurry of celebs including gold medal Olympian Cathy Freeman. “It proves that there is no other meat that brings people together quite like lamb,” MLA says on its website.
2. “Not happy, Jan!” for Sensis
Comedian Deborah Kennedy’s strident catchphrase entered the cultural lexicon in the year 2000 and has remained there since thanks to a highly successful ad campaign for Sensis, the Yellow Pages company.
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne cast Kennedy as a businesswoman who’s found out one of her staff has neglected to book an ad in the next Yellow Pages, meaning they’ll miss a year. It made you laugh and, if you were a small business, scared you into remembering that a place in the yellow book was, at that time, a must for every business just like TV is, was and will continue to be.
1. “Rhonda and Ketuk” series for AAMI
The insurer’s ad series ran for three years from 2011 to 2014 and earned a popular following. Rhonda, played by actress Mandy McElhinney, was initially cast as a heroine for not claiming on her car insurance but morphed into an even more engaging character due to her interactions with Baiinese love interest Ketut, played by Kadek Mahardika. The campaign, by Ogilvy, spawned dozens of fan pages on social networks and unofficial t-shirts in Bali featuring Ketut catchphrases. It also underlined the power of TV advertising by increasing AAMI’s new business opportunities by 20 per cent between October 2011 and December 2013.AMI experienced an increase of over 20 per cent YOY in new business opportunities in the period of October 2011 – December 2013.