White Australia Day – Others not invited…

Aust_Day_668What the? Iconophilia wonders what set of smarts idiots thought that Fascist Realism would be the right style to stir up the annual jingoism around the Australia Day holiday? Yes, multiculturalism has slipped out of political fashion, but what other-than-Ayran ethnicities (with the exception of the designer boy-girl with olive complexion and well-plucked eyebrows) might feel included in this “celebration”? Indigenous? Indian? Anyone? Who is the Government Minister responsible for the creative genius on the Australia Day Committee who thought is was a good idea? At least some lowly layout designer at The Oz got it right: Think Again… And maybe patriotic Indigenous Australians like Maria (below “XOZX”) have another apology coming?


PS. We haven’t seen it since – perhaps its been pulled? Nothing on the official site… Or does this Australia Day advertisement mean Sam Kekovich has gone mainstream? Only The Punch seems to have noticed…

PPS. Ad agency CEO Russel Howcroft (George Patterson Y&R) takes the credit for it. See the comments below…

PPPS. Yesterday the blog for ad enthusiasts The Inspiration Room posted a story claiming it’s just great, and have reproduced better images, if you’re interested, and name all those who actually did the work: executive creative director Ben Coulson, copywriter Annie Egan, art director Ryan Fitzgerald, illustrator Mark Thomas and retoucher Hung Nguyen. Makes you wonder…


#1 Robert Bonnett on 01.18.10 at 8:29 pm

“BBQ Für Führer Und Volk” springs to mind. Vegetarians seem to have been left out too. And that lawn doesn’t look very wheelchair friendly . . .

#2 Nigel on 01.20.10 at 8:04 am

I’ve only seen it once, and it doesn’t appear on the official Australia Day website – perhaps it’s been pulled? If so, by whom?

#3 AdamC on 01.22.10 at 12:51 pm

Um, you do realise that the image (which I hadn’t seen before) is clearly intended to be tongue-in-cheek, don’t you? It’s quite obvious.

Surely you are actually trying to be offended?

#4 Nigel on 01.22.10 at 2:32 pm

Sure, but the subtlety of such (Kekovich) humour (as an official representation) beggars the imagination. The inverted humour of a pastiche of Fascist Realism would surely be lost on a non-Aryan audience? If you’re right, selling ourselves as a joke in bad taste (Haha, this is a pastiche of the official Nazi/Mussolini/Stalinist/North Korean style, we’re not really like this, are we? get it? No?) may indeed be the most appropriate representation of the national psyche.

#5 meh on 01.22.10 at 2:47 pm

The bird in the middle looks a bit asiatic to me. Maybe you just saw what you wanted to see. I however see a wonderful interracial melting pot of meat eating and blue skies.

#6 Zoe on 01.23.10 at 12:04 pm

Yep, she’s definitely got a touch of something. That bloke in front of her looks like he needs to poo, though.

#7 dan on 01.23.10 at 12:50 pm

And look there’s “Dexter” on the end! Your author got credit and an explanation in Sat 23rd Jan’s Canberra Times. He says its really funny (must be the text/image conflict), but he’s also a fan of a reduced cultural cringe (as evidenced by increased jingoism).

#8 Nigel on 01.23.10 at 2:49 pm

Well spotted byrd! I rarely read the CT, so I missed the (fawning) article by Michael Ruffles, an interview with Russel Howcroft, national CE of George Patterson Y&R, late of the Groan Transfer. Apparently the company does such work pro bono for the Australia Day Council, who must have thought it was just the bee’s knees. But was it pulled? I’ve only seen it the once… Eschewing his Art History 101, (or for that matter the Australia Day Council’s Reconciliation Policy), Howcroft says he’s “humorously using propaganda-style cartoons of decades past.” No mention of the style’s bad taste left by Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Kim il-sung… Eloquently, Howcroft continues “Obviously we’re taking the style, we’re taking the piss out of that style… that is hysterical really.” And, but “If that ad ran overseas, I can’t imagine it working…” Then, as a finale, we find Kekovich is now mainstream: “…you have a look at Sam Kekovich and lamb, that’s just some fabulous creativity that’s been driven around Australia Day, and the more of that the better. The more we can promote our creativity, the better as well.” “Our?” Well, promotion for George Patterson Y&R, certainly, in this piece… So that’s all OK, then…

#9 getoverit on 01.24.10 at 6:59 am

Nobody noticed that the flag is arse about..

#10 Nigel on 01.24.10 at 8:24 am

“…that is really hysterical really.” See? if you want this kind of creativity, that’s what you get.

#11 stephen on 01.24.10 at 12:21 pm

The flag isn’t arse about , just a tea towel that is draped over the rung sideways, like it would be on most oven doors.

#12 Wayne on 01.25.10 at 1:17 am

This is what we call in Australia a “Piss Take” It is satirical humour, not racism, it is not officail government material. it is Sam Kekovich who is a comedian and also works for the Meat board and forms part of their style of advertising. If you are offended, I am sorry, sorry that you are such an ill-informed idiot.

#13 Reisan on 01.25.10 at 7:25 am

The reason you wouldn’t have seen this online or are unable to find it online is because it is not an online advertisment. It is a print piece that is intended as tounge-in-cheek assuming that Australians still have a sense of humour and can tell these things. It has intentionally been orchestrated so that there is no diversity, culturally, sexually, religiously, or physically – It is a joke .. Get it? No? .. Well that’s because we have become so lacking in humour, so boring, so easily offended that no-one is allowed to make a joke any more .. As Monty Python once said, “‘ELP ‘ELP I’m bein’ repressed” ..

#14 Pammy Faye on 01.25.10 at 10:23 am

Get your facts right, Wayne otherwise it will appear that you are the ill-informed idiot. This ad is nothing to do with Sam Kekovich or the Meat Board. It was commissioned (albiet pro bono) from the Australia Day Council. If it was an Australian Meat Board promotion it might be forgivable, but as an ad designed to encourage ALL Australians to participate in their national day, it fails on many levels.

A braver and funnier subversion of facist/nationalistic military propaganda would have included amongst the trio other individuals who weren’t so beautifully White, and perhaps some others who were choosing to bbq vegetables…

#15 Nigel on 01.25.10 at 11:24 am

Hmmm, and just because Iconophilia favours such close readers, at a flag-free BBQ yesterday, (yes, we leftoids eat outside too!) we wondered why and when “the BBQ” became associated with Australian-ness? After all, it seems to have its origins in Haiti, and the USA, long before it came into its current rabid association with patriotism in Australia. See:

“American Word Origins

Origin: 1733
Many years before the United States was founded, before English speakers occupied the Southwest, and before tract houses with backyard grills spread across the suburban plains, Americans had already invented barbecues. The first barbecues, in fact, were the invention of the Taino Indians of Haiti, who dried their meat on raised frames of sticks over the fire. Spanish explorers translated the Taino word as barbacoa, and in due course English settlers along the Atlantic coast had their own barbecues.
One summer day in 1733, Benjamin Lynde, a substantial citizen of Salem, Massachusetts, wrote in his diary, “Fair and hot; Browne, Barbacue; hack overset.” That is, on this hot day he went to the Brownes to attend a barbecue, and his carriage (or maybe his horse) tipped over. His experience may have been upsetting, but it indicates that the social occasion of the barbecue was established by that time. Large animals would be roasted whole on frames over hot fires, and neighbors would be invited to dine.
In later centuries, as settlement pressed westward, the barbecue went along with it, reaching an especially grand size in Texas, where a pit for fuel might be dug ten feet deep. Present-day barbecue grills are likely to be small and portable, fueled by charcoal or propane or electricity, and capable of cooking only parts of an animal at a time, but they still operate out of doors and provide a reason for inviting the neighbors over.”
Alternatively, some trace the origin of the word to the French expression meaning “from whiskers to arse”, (“de barbe a cul”) which may explain its current popularity in Australia?

#16 Celebrating the blessings we were lucky enough to inherit « An Onymous Lefty on 01.26.10 at 9:51 am

[…] manipulate historical symbols to make themselves seem “one of us” – or for simple commercial gain. I’m proud that we look with contempt at those idiots abusing the national flag to try to […] (full text here)

#17 Patrickb on 01.26.10 at 3:52 pm

Yeah BBQing has reached very advanced levels in the US. They build massive grills that hold up to 80 sirloins and hold huge carpark BBQ fund-raising events. The sausage sizzle at Bunnings pales by comparison.

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