This week for Retro Ad Tuesday, we’re going to wander off to a far away land (Well, it’s far away for most of us). You know where it is, and even if you’ve never been there before, you know what it’s like there thanks to the extensive pop culture education we all receive throughout our life.
Now close your eyes and clear your mind. Now what do you think of when someone mentions the country Australia?
Olivia Newton John?
Ah, here we go….
If you grew up in my generation, you will always associate Foster’s beer with the Land Down Under. Why? Because of one of the best commercial beer campaigns of all time, that’s why. Here’s a classic, and one of the best from the original campaign in the 1990’s…
Most people hear the word “stereotype” and immediately get a negative impression of the word…. and that’s true to an extent. But there are three common exceptions to the normal rules of political correctness that govern stereotypes that make them become socially acceptable, and all three apply to the ad campaign that was used by Foster’s to promote its Aussie bear in the States…..
1. Non-minorities are perfectly acceptable to stereotype since we apparently have no right to complain about double standards. Without this rule, we wouldn’t get to make fun of rednecks, snooty snobs, and the Mob.
2. It is perfectly acceptable to stereotype your own group. This is why Foster’s made sure to get a narrator with a thick Australian accent.
3. No group out there is going to disown any stereotype that paints them in a totally awesome light.
In America, our views of Aussies is that they are a tough lot and masters of the outback, and Foster’s wanted to weave that image into their beer. So in each ad, we see humorous takes on some of our common ordinary terms, which in Australia are one hundred times more awesome. Locksmith —> Guy headbutting a door open, as Beer —> Foster’s. Who wouldn’t want to be as awesome as the folks from Down Under?
And really, we see confirmation of this stereotypical Australian toughness all the time. Just the other day, I stumbled upon this blog post about a new term that’s become common in Australian rugby called the “squirrel grip”, where one player attempts to tackle another player by grabbing hold of their testicles. Now think about the last time you heard of something like this happening in American sports. Of course you can’t come up with one, because in America, we are too wussified a culture to tolerate yanking a man down by the family jewels. And if you still aren’t convinced that the Aussies are tough, consider the fact that they aren’t afraid to turn some of the deadliest animals in the world into cute amigurumi figures!
And where did this bushman personification of Australian culture come from? Only one of the biggest movies of the 1980’s….
Paul Hogan taught us all about surviving the outback in the 1986 blockbuster “Crocodile Dundee”, only with slightly fewer members of the production crew than Bear Grylls needed to make it through the wilderness alive. To drive the comparison of American to Aussie life home, they brought Crocodile Dundee to New York for some culture shock, where he promptly showed some wannabe thugs what a real knife looked like, used a limousine ornament as a boomerang, and performed Hollywood’s most famous squirrel grip on an unsuspecting transvestite…
So let’s crack open an ice cold Foster’s and celebrate the tough lads and sheilas from that penal colony turned country, Australia! We at The Nest salute your rugged individualistic ways, your amazingly beautiful menagerie of unique fauna, and for giving us the super-awesome Kylie Minogue. Fair dinkum! We can only hope that the many educational lessons we got from all of those Foster’s ads can one day make us as tough and gritty as Crocodile Dundee’s pal Donk. Or maybe that’s……