Sydney artistic group Cope ST Collective have released a satirical video response to the annual lamb ad by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), which encourages Australians to eat lamb on January 26.
The spoof addresses the violence that took place during colonisation, countering the idea of the friendly 'beach party' portrayed in the original lamb ad.
Creator and actor Bjorn Stewart told NITV News: “We saw the ad and it was whitewashing black history, so we wanted to do a response to that."
The video shows a couple of 'settlers' arriving at a beach, where two Indigenous men are having a barbeque. The new arrivals shoot and kill their hosts, after they ask where they came from. The video then encourages Australians to change the date, celebrate diversity, and acknowledge history, as well as eat "lamb, or chicken, or beef, or veggie patties".
Another take on history
This year, the MLA lamb ad depicts settlers from all walks of life arriving at Australian shores, where three First Nation’s people are having a barbecue. A racially and culturally beach party erupts, hosted by the Indigenous characters.
In a noticeable first, ‘Australia Day' is not mentioned, although celebratory fireworks light up the sky.
The original MLA ad was released on Thursday and immediately received a plethora of reactions.
Cope ST Collective felt strongly about the MLA ad and decided to take matters into their own hands. They wanted to correct the 'historical record' and support the push to 'change the date'. They swiftly shot their own version of the ad on the shores of La Perouse and posted it on social media on Saturday.
The video took a couple of hours to shoot.
“It was kind of very quick turn-around," Stewart says.
“If it wasn’t us to do it, then it would have been done by someone else, because everyone was thinking it.”
MLA has expressed their ad intended to celebrate diversity.
"Ultimately, as the face of Australia continues to evolve and change, we need to make lamb relevant to a diverse, modern Australia," MLA group marketing manager Andrew Howie said in a press statement on Thursday.
But Cope ST Collective members believe the ad missed the mark.
“When they were trying to include everyone it was from their perspective, so we we're poking fun at that.”
The Cope ST Collective video has proven to be immensely popular, racking over 140,000 views at the time of writing.
Strong reactions from left, right and centre
The MLA lamb ad has been met with a mixed bag of responses. While some criticise its 'inaccurate', 'rosy' portrayal of Australian history, others have praised its humor and its 'inclusiveness'. Staunch 'Australia Day' supporters have also slammed it for 'avoiding' to mention the day.
One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson lambasted the company for being too politically correct.
The former fish and chip shop owner expressed her displeasure to News Corp, saying she wasn’t ‘knocking’ Aboriginal Australians and urged ‘them’ to see themselves as Australians.
“It really is pretty sad, isn’t it? It’s bloody idiots out there, ratbags. It’s pretty sad when it’s basically shutting us down for being proud of who we are as Australian citizens,” she told News Corp.
“It’s the day we celebrate forming our nation, our federation, our government, and it’s being shoved to one side for this political correctness and making everyone feel good about themselves.”
When asked his opinion on Senator Hanson’s comments, Mr Stewart said it didn’t warrant commentary.
“She just sounds like a clown really,” he says.
“It’s so stupid what she’s saying that I don‘t think it deems a response.”