Australia has a massive population of sheep, and each year when we celebrate Australia day on 26 January we are encouraged to eat lamb. The push to make lamb the national meat for the day was begun in the lead-up to Australia Day in 2005. Sam Kekovich, a retired player of Australian rules football, was chosen as the national lamb spokesman, and has now been the face of Australia Day lamb for over 9 years. The advertisements released each year have developed a cult following as Sam delivers his deadpan commentary at the camera and takes a satirical look at the political and social events of the past year. Here are links to all of them, with some commentary explaining what he’s talking about for those who know nothing about what’s being going on in Australia. (My favourite is Barbie Girl from 2012)
Sam Kekovich Australia Day Message 2005
The text of this ad can be read on the Siren Awards site (http://www.sirenawards.com.au/files/entries/59_Unaustralian.pdf). In Australia "thongs" refer to things you wear on your feet, also known as flip-flops, "dole-bludgers" are people on long-term unemployment benefits, and "diggers in the trenches" are the soldiers who fought in the two World Wars. When this ad was released the Australian Vegetarian Society and animal rights activists were outraged that he called vegetarians un-Australian and called for the advert to be banned. The Australian Advertising Standards wouldn’t ban them as they determined they were clearly satirical in nature.
Sam Kekovich Eat Lamb on Australia Day 2006
As in 2005, this advert got several complaints when it went to air and once again the Advertising Standards Bureau dismissed the complaints. This is covered in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Keko’s reference to violence on the beaches refers to the Cronulla riots that took place in Sydney, and his reference to cricketers sending lurid text messages mainly refers to bowler Shane Warne who made the news a lot for all the wrong reasons. The Ashes is the name of the trophy that Australia and England battle for in the cricket. Elle Macpherson was one of Australia’s top supermodels.
Australia Day 07 Sam Kekovich Lamb 3min TVC - Vote Lamb
The full transcript for the 2007 ad can be read at The Inspitration Room ( http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2007/sam-kekovich-says-vote-lamb/). One of my favourite things about this ad is when the curtain behind him moves away and you realize it was just a piece of washing hung on the Hills Hoist (washing line). I also love the sticker that turns LA into LAMB.
Eat Lamb during Australia Week 08 (Sam Kekovich)
The full transcript for the 2008 ad can be read at Give Me The Remote (http://givemetheremote.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/australia-week-08-sam-kekovich-lamb-ad/). Near the start Sam speaks of “…unAustralianism racing through the land like horse-flu through a Japanese jockey club”. This refers to the fact that in November 2006 two Japanese horses quinellaed Australia’s biggest horse race, the Melbourne Cup, the first time Japanese horses had ever run in it. The racing industry expected a flood of Japanese horses in November 2007 to try and win the $6,000,000 race, but an outbreak of equine influenza meant they were not allowed to travel to Australia. Helen Clark was the Prime Minister of New Zealand at the time, and there is lots of rivalry between Australia and New Zealand.
Sam Kekovich 2009
Some of the transcript for 2009 can be read at Australian Food News (http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2009/01/08/sam-kekovich-australia-day-lamb-ad-returns-with-a-swipe-at-bankers.html). This was the year of credit crunches and stock crashes. Sam also takes a swipe at Australia’s Olympic team who didn’t do as well as expected. The movie “Australia” starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman was released in the previous year. At the end of the ad clip all Australians are Sam Kekovich – scary thought.
Australia Day 2010
The transcript for the 2010 ad can be read at News Articles. Sam Kekovich, addresses the United Nations as Lambassador and asks the United Nations to declare January 26th “International Australia Day.”