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The 5 Greatest Australian TV Commercials of All Time

Aug 23, 2017

Most of the time, TV commercials are an unwanted interruption to normal programming. After all, having to wait a few more minutes to see what Manu and Pete thought of a botched roasted vegetable tart on My Kitchen Rules is absolute agony.

But every now and again, advertising executives will pull something truly special out of the bag, which is often better than the TV show you’re actually watching.

Jumbla loves adding imagination and inventiveness to TVCs with animation - with this in mind, here are five of the very best TV commercials ever to come out of Australia.

  1. Slip! Slop! Slap! - Cancer Council Victoria (1980)

As far as Jumbla is concerned, this commercial has it all. It might be a bit primitive by today’s animation standards, but you can’t help but love Sid the Seagull and his heart-warming rendition of the original “Slip, Slop, Slap!” jingle.

At a time when melanoma rates were climbing, Cancer Council Victoria needed to encourage Australians to protect their skin in an earnest yet entertaining way.

It was an immediate hit and remains a slogan for staying safe in the sun to this day. A superb example of how animation can bridge the gap between serious subjects and captivating content.

  1. Big Ad - Carlton Draught (2005)

Hilariously explicit and bloody big! Carlton Draught’s ‘Big Ad’ is everything a TV commercial should be. It entertains and enthrals in equal measure, but also makes you want a beer!

Carlton Draught wasn’t lying about it being a big ad either. Although it relies on people power to get the message across, computer-generated human extras were required for the overhead crowd shots.

Matte paintings were also used to enhance the mountainous backdrop, while the Melbourne Chorale and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra provide the epic soundtrack.

  1. Louie the Fly – Mortein (1957)

Another ad, another animation. Did you really expect anything less? Landing on TV screens back in 1957, Louie the Fly infamously came straight from the rubbish tip to you.

In spite of such off-putting origins, Louie established himself as a loveable Australian larrikin, who highlighted the dangers of bacteria with his catchy jingle and impressive animation (considering when it was produced).

Clearly big believers in the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Mortein continued to give Louie the Fly lots of advertising airtime over the next 50 years, including a 3D version in the early 21st century.  

  1. VB - Matter of Fact I Got It Now (1984)

So far, this list has featured two animated ads and two beer commercials. There is definitely a pattern emerging here…

There was nothing particularly ground-breaking about VB’s ‘Matter of Fact I Got It Now’ ad, but those immortal words from John Meillon became synonymous with being thirsty and craving a beer.

It was supported by a heartfelt, if a little contrived script that proved all sorts of everyday situations warranted a cold one. It’s fair to say this resonated with hard-working men across Australia. Come to mention it, this blog writing is thirsty work…

  1. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) – We Love Our Lamb (Various)

Australia Day wouldn’t be complete without a backyard BBQ, the Triple J Hottest 100, and MLA’s annual ‘We Love Our Lamb’ ad.

Over the years, former AFL legend Sam Kekovich has championed Australian lamb with impassioned patriotism. He’s been unequivocal in his disdain for vegetarians and foreign food as well.

The 2017 campaign was described as “the most important piece of Aussie advertising in a very long time’ by Mumbrella. However, it also courted controversy for not mentioning Australia Day and was described by Indigenous groups as “highly offensive.” You could forgive MLA for feeling a little ‘sheepish’ after that...

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