There are a few constants about Aussies: They are patriotic, know how to have a good time and love their meat. Australia Day is just around the corner (January 26), and that means a whole lot of meat on the barbie.
Though the holiday is shrouded in controversy, to rile up excitement, Meat & Livestock Australia created a pro-carnivore commercial in honor of the holiday, dedicated to eating a whole lot more meat. Specifically, lamb. Although the commercial’s spin is saving stranded Australians abroad from missing barbecues, what’s really getting people riled up is the mocking of vegans and torching of a bowl of kale.
After all, not everyone is firing up steaks for Australia Day, and vegans are, well, fired up about the murder of innocent kale. Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau has gotten hundreds of complaints from vegans and vegetarians.
But are people looking for an attack when there’s simply not one? “Growing up is Australia, Australia Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Traditionally we spent it at the beach, or somewhere that had a pool (it’s the middle of summer—so it’s hot), playing backyard or beach cricket, and having a BBQ. Meat, to me, was an essential part of the celebration,” says Karina Welch, an Australian now living in New York City.
“What I think people don’t understand is this is nothing new—these lamb ads have been going on for years. Sam Kekovich (a former Australian footballer turned media personality) was the face of the campaign for years. They’ve always been very tongue in cheek. I don’t think the ad is rude at all, and it plays into Australian stereotypes really well. None of this is serious, and I think that’s the most Australian part of the ad. We love our sarcasm,” says Welch.
Since we are speaking of stereotypes, a note to the rest of the world: Not all new Yorkers are bearded hipsters sporting white tank tops.