Top 5 Best vs Worst Australian Marketing Campaigns

Top 5 Best vs Worst Australian Marketing Campaigns

We’re surrounded by advertisements in our daily lives; literally, everywhere. Most people have neutral reactions to most ads, some like and others dislike. You don’t necessarily react to an unless it truly wows you, or disgusts you. Here are our top 5 picks for the most memorable and likeable Australian marketing campaigns, as well as the 5 most controversial and worrying Australian marketing campaigns ever.


1. Tourism Australia: There’s Nothing Like Australia

First on the list is Tourism Australia with their 2012 campaign, “There’s Nothing Like Australia”. Their ads were a very refreshing display of the wonder and beauty that Australia offers and epitomises how unique and different we actually are.

The ad is solemn and blissful, and in that way, it stands aside from some of the previous Australian tourism ads that show Australia in its classically stereotypical state, with fair dinkum true blues slipping extra shrimps on the barbie, and hot Aussie babes in bikinis walking the beaches — which all started with Paul Hogan’s somehow popular 1984 ad.

So you can see how this 2012 ad takes a much-needed step away, treating Australia seriously, and not like we’re cartoon characters.

2. Tourism Queensland: Best Job in the World

Everyone has heard about the supposed “Best Job in the World” in 2009. The campaign became a massive global hit, simply because it ticked all the right boxes:

  • Provided an escape for anyone around the world, to experience a new life on one of Australia’s beautiful islands
  • Allowed self-expression through 60-second uploads of video applications on their website
  • Engaged public in voting competition for the best candidates

It went viral after launch, receiving 4 million hits an hour on day one, and became a global sensation, receiving around 35,000 applications from over 200 countries — which also consequently crashed their website.

Overall, it was a clever way to achieve worldwide recognition of the beauty and location of Queensland’s Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

3. AAMI: Rhonda & Katut

Rhonda and Katut’s relationship seemed to get boring after a while, but nonetheless, AAMI’s 2013 campaign starring Rhonda and Katut, was a great Australian marketing campaign. The humour surrounding the acting and unlikely love story was a hit with Australian audiences, no matter what the ad was actually promoting — which was AAMI Safe Driver Rewards (I know right?).

The campaign unconsciously became a soap opera in the lives of many Australians, who started a fan base for the couple, which is a clear indicator of a successful Australian marketing campaign.

4. Carlton Draught: Big Ad

Carlton Draught’s “Big Ad” from 2005 is probably my favourite ad out of the bunch, simply because it’s epic, extravagant, and mostly makes fun of itself as well as other beer ads. I can just imagine pitching this to the Carlton Draught marketing team: “armies of people in different-coloured cloaks running through a massive field whilst singing O Fortuna depicting a red man drinking a beer”.

Sounds crazily stupid, but the execution was a massive Australian sensation — that’s really better to watch than describe.

5. Meat and Livestock Australia: Sam Kekovich and Lamb

Every Australian knows Sam Kekovich due to the fact that he’s been on TV since around 2006 promoting lamb on Australia Day. This campaign makes the top 5 best as it’s so bad, that it’s actually great, or at least memorable — only for the reason that it’s controversial.

It started off in 2006, with Sam Kekovich calling anyone who doesn’t have lamb on Australia Day “unaustralian”, in a Prime Minister-style address commercial. It was blatant and upfront about many things surrounding Australia Day, which made it popular and talked about.

This year, Sam Kekovich is back (thankfully in a brief, funny cameo), but there’s a satirical dance-debate going on (with a strong homage to West Side Story) between followers of Liberal and Labour parties. I get it, it’s making fun of both sides of Australia’s political spectrum, while giving the “Lamb brings us together” message. I get it, it has the right message for people to put aside their differences and enjoy Australia Day for what it is. But… it’s just laaaaaaaaaaame.


1. Toohey’s Extra Dry: Pod People Harvest

Possibly one of the weirdest Australian marketing campaigns, ever. Toohey’s 2007 campaign took us on a big mind trip, on which we encounter:

  • A guy with boofy pompadour hair plucking individual hairs, sewing them in the soil and watering them with beer. Ok, that’s alright.
  • The pods start growing, and he starts shaving them. No worries.
  • He builds a spider-like buffering machine on his motorcycle. That’s pretty cool.
  • One night there are heaps of people standing in his field that wave at him, and he proceeds to have a huge party with them. Bit creepy.
  • In the morning, the pods hatch revealing clothed people with boofy pompadour hair holding Extra Dry bottles. Ultra weird, but at least we finally know what the product is.
  • The man then freezes the hatchlings with a weird CO2 gun and steals the beer off of them…

I think I’ve explained enough.

2. Mentos Ice: That Weird Nipple Ad

2006 brought us something weirdly special. Not only does Mentos Ice not give you long nipples (disappointing), but I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone in their right mind would socially accept an egocentric, shirtless guy with long, moving nipples (that can catch frisbees, push elevator buttons, and DJ).

In what world would this make people want to eat Mentos? It just made me uncomfortable and conscious about my nipples.

3. Kotex U: The Beaver

Ok, it’s witty, but a bit upfront, don’t you think? Kotex U gave us their 2008 campaign depicting a woman having a fun day out with a beaver, which seems odd at first until the punch line hits you right in the face.

Yes, the physical “beaver” is actually a not-so-subtle euphemism for the derogatory term alluding to a woman’s vagina. The whole metaphor is corny, and the ad’s execution was much the same. The woman is taking care of her beaver companion by giving it Kotex U pads, and well, that’s weird.

4. Budget Direct Insurance: Aliens?

The first series of Budget Direct Insurance ads were popular, with the (French?) lady singing, “boojey boojey”, and the Australian man corrected her with, “it’s budget love!”. That’s a lovable and memorable ad with a catchy tune.

Yet, in 2013, Budget Direct Insurance removed the two lovable lead roles and replaced them with cheaply-animated CGI aliens — for some reason.

5. Toohey’s Extra Dry: Repay Your Mouth

2013 did bring us the adorable Rhonda and Katut saga, but also showed that Tooheys was struggling to keep up with the viral Carlton Draught marketing campaigns, especially after their 2007 “pod harvest”.

If the pod harvest wasn’t creepy enough, this guys mouth jumps off of his face and starts speaking to him. We then see a short montage of the disgusting things that this guy does with his mouth, which is quite unsettling. Then we’re presented with the mouth being satisfied with a cold Tooheys beer. After that, I don’t want a beer, I don’t want anything going near my mouth!

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Top 5 Best vs Worst Australian Marketing Campaigns