Human Inspired Innovation & Culture

Why Australian advertising isn’t a reflection of our multicultural nation

in Culture by

Is it our media culture or are we just screwed?

Current Australian ads are not a reflection of our multicultural nation. What they do reflect is a problem that is darker and much deeper seeded. Australia is a thriving multicultural society but sadly we haven’t yet embraced a truly multicultural national identity and that is the problem, our advertising just reflects it.

Is it right to say that currently Australia identifies as having a multicultural identity? No, we revel in our colonial spoils everyday and although we have acknowledged the original people of this land, we fail to properly embrace them in this society that we have constructed. We now have such a rich refugee community in Australia but we fail to stand as a nation and welcome the other refugees at our doorstep for fear of unravelling this perception of Australia. The same Australia that has been built by migrants for the last 200 years.

In principle, advertising need only change when it is not achieving what it needs to do — communicate.

In this case if it is not resonating with the target audience then yes it is time to change, but until then keep rolling the creative that works. Great brands will innovate and I applaud Lion’s marketing director Ben Slocombe for challenging the long-standing creative (if that is indeed the case).

But there is hope — there has to be, right?!

I think that yes it will change but you have to wonder when and what will drive this change.

At the heart of the problem is our media culture which is mastabatory and iterative at best. Even when the media reports on the atrocities that our government is part of, the news just becomes part of a week-long media cycle that generates shock-horror for the gain of a few hundred-thousand Facebook and Twitter posts #QandA.

It gives the illusion that we care. When in truth, sharing a post or commenting with, at best, a possible sad emoji is as far as we are prepared to go. Advertisers know this, the media knows this and that’s the system that we are all blissfully a part of.

We give coverage to the voice of idiocy and the uncharismatic in society like Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie, Scott Morrison and Christopher Pyne in the hopes that they will say something so epically stupid that it turns into media fodder ultimately translating into website traffic for news websites and blogs like Pedestrian.TV and Buzzfeed.

After the rounds, we come to the realisation that nothing has changed, and we’ve shifted the focus from the political situation in question, the politician’s actual role in public service or how we can make a meaningful change. We are part of a systemic failure and it is not necessarily the fault of Australians.

The change will only come about when we individually embrace the identity of all Australians who are of this land, who have colonised it and who have since migrated. I think that the idea of a multicultural Australia is on the cards, we just need to work a little harder to embrace it.

Journalist, editor and producer of content for newspapers, magazines and radio since 2004. Based in Melbourne Australia, shamelessly for the food, hipster culture and great stories.

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