Food advertising in Australia has taken many shapes over the last 80 years.
While today’s ads stretch across a plethora of mediums and spruik a number of different products, Aussie ads weren’t always so diverse.
Nor were the products being advertised.
Long before the days of social media, targeted advertising and influencers, adland had to rely largely on one simple format: TV ads.
And boy were the ads different to those of today.
It’s time to peek into the annals of Aussie TV ads and watch some of the most progressive, strange and historic moments of Australian food advertising.
Let’s start from the beginning.
There are few jingles which have captured Aussie hearts more than Aeroplane Jelly’s, a company founded back in 1927.
As one of the earliest records of Australian TV advertising, this spot for the confectionary brand was released in 1934 and then recycled in the 1980s for cinema.
Almost 90 years on, the song still pulls at the heartstrings.
Next up from 1954 is one of Vegemite’s most famous ads.
Like Aeroplane Jelly, the Vegemite marketing department knew how to make a jingle with an extremely long shelf-life.
A touch simpler when compared to the brand’s recent partnerships and activations, the ad does a pretty great job of spreading Vegemite’s message.
The next ad on the list is Victoria Bitter’s 1968 spot, including one particularly catchy piece of music still being used today.
While this ad falls in third place in terms of its release date, the brand itself dates back to 1854, making it the oldest Aussie food and drink brand on our list.
Those who work in advertising may be familiar with the phrase ‘sex sells’, though no one seems to have adopted this concept more than Cherry Ripe’s marketing department back in the 1970s.
Titled ‘Wild Woman’, the chocolate bar’s earlier advertising is both extremely cringey and completely representative of its time.
Is the ad a little sexist? Maybe, but we’re willing to give the creatives the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Cottee’s Cordial has been a staple of Australian pantries since the company was founded in the early 1900s.
Usually marketed towards children and young parents, the campaign took a markedly different tone to Cherry Ripe’s effort.
From the mid-1980s, the ad champions Cottee’s “real fruit taste”, though conveniently forgets to mention the drink’s actual fruit content.
As the original Tim Tam ‘Genie in a bottle’ ad, this 1990s spot needed a rising star to head up the new campaign, and who better than Aussie screen legend Cate Blanchett?
Wishing for more Tim Tams might be a little more complicated now than it was in the 1990s, given there have been 217 different varieties since the ad’s debut.
Almost 30 years on and the ad still does exactly what it’s supposed to, make anyone who watches it crave a Tim Tam.
And while this is not exactly food, it would be remiss to omit this timeless Aussie classic.
Often voted as the best Australian ad of all time, Carlton’s ‘The Big Ad’ from George Patterson and Partners premiered on Australian television screens on August 7, 2005, and beer advertising has never been the same since.
Talk about upping the ante.
Last of all, it’d be hard to talk about Australian food advertising without mentioning The Monkeys’ famed Meat & Livestock (MLA) ads.
Particularly worthy of a mention is the ‘Celebrate Australia with a Lamb BBQ’, which rolled out in January 2017.
At the time, MLA said the campaign tapped into the central role that lamb plays in celebrating the face of modern Australia and bringing everyone together, no matter their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or ability.
It was celebrated for its focus on inclusiveness, and will long be lodged in Aussie brains.
And if this timeline has tickled your fancy (see: tastebuds), check out HelloFresh’s epic infographic on the history of Aussie food here.