THIS year's summer lamb ad has generated a lot of discussion, but unfortunately a lot of this discussion has come from those within the industry who are puzzled as to why the ad wasn't released before Australia Day.
Meat & Livestock Australia says it chose to delay the ad's release because community sentiment was "pretty flat", and to avoid it being lost among the countless stories of devastating loss caused by bushfires.
I can understand that line of thinking. Many communities were coming together to mourn or console one another, not to party or celebrate. We've seen from the issues faced by Scott Morrison and the Red Cross that not meeting the public's expectations can turn into a public relations nightmare.
Related reading:MLA defends delay to launch of lamb ad
But perhaps after watching heartbreaking footage air on the news night after night, people needed a break. Perhaps they needed the polar opposite - something to laugh about.
The situation has made me wonder - these days, how many people are looking forward to the ad's release?
In the late 2000s, people waited with great anticipation for the ad to be broadcast. Everyone wanted to know who'd be in the firing line this year? What would be targeted as un-Australian? What problems would lamb help solve?
The overarching message was clear. Not only was eating lamb the patriotic thing to do, lamb also made every situation better.
To me, it didn't matter if people were tuning in to laugh out loud, to frown at the more politically incorrect elements or simply to make sure they were in the know when the ad was discussed at work the next day. They were watching and taking notice. The ad almost became part of our culture for a while there.
Related reading: MLA dumps political correctness in this year's lamb ad
Taking the timing out of the equation, would this year's ad have resonated with the general public even if it was released before Australia Day?
The ad used to really push the boundaries - much like the Australian sense of humour. I'm not saying that we should start offending people to try and get a laugh, but what about being a bit cheeky and tapping into the larrikin spirit again?
Despite what Sam Kekovich used to try and tell us, lamb can't even come close to solving real world problems. But, there was a time when its promotion could at least give us a laugh - and a lot of people could use that right now.
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