Truth behind 'football, meat pies, kangaroos, Holden cars'

ONE of Australia's most iconic television advertisements from the 1970s turns out to be not so Australian after all.

It was in fact derived from a Chevrolet TV commercial in the US, and was also used to sell Holdens in South Africa.

The Holden jingle "we love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars" was adapted from a Chevrolet ad in the US that sang "we love baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet".

Both ads were designed to tug at the heartstrings of patriotic customers.

For Holden, the campaign helped drape the brand in the Australian flag rather than being seen as an American company, as was the case with its arch rival Ford.

Originally written in the US, the tune was so catchy it was also used by Chevrolet in South Africa to sell Australian-made Holden Kingswoods.

 

Screen shots from Holden's
Screen shots from Holden's "Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars" TV ad in the 1970s. Contributed

In South Africa the lyrics were changed to "we love Braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet" in radio advertisements because TV commercials didn't exist at the time.

"Braaivleis" is the South African description for "a picnic at which meat is cooked over an open fire". Or what Aussies would call "a barbecue".

In all the advertisements the narrator says "sure sounds like Australia/America/South Africa to me".

 

Screen shots from Holden's
Screen shots from Holden's "Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars" TV ad in the 1970s. Contributed

Market research expert David Chalke from AustraliaScan says car companies wouldn't be able to get away with using the same jingle for different countries and brands today.

"Of course this ad was before Facebook, before YouTube, before the internet and customers didn't know let alone care," says Chalke.

"The ad reflected our intense pride in those cars in those days; imported cars were derided as buzz boxes versus big Aussie V8s."

 

Screen shots from Holden's
Screen shots from Holden's "Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars" TV ad in the 1970s. Contributed

However, Chalke says, buyers no longer warm to the "Aussie made" message.

"Built Aussie tough for Aussie conditions used to mean something, but consumers have figured out Aussie made often means more expensive and possibly not as well built."

Chalke says research shows Australians now favour imported products.

 

Screen shots from Holden's
Screen shots from Holden's "Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars" TV ad in the 1970s. Contributed

"We've done a lot of research over the years that shows there are few areas Australian made has an advantage over imported products," he said.

"Australian fresh food, wine and craft beer ranks well with consumers, but imported beer ranks higher than local beer these days."

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling

 

Screen shots from Holden's
Screen shots from Holden's "Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars" TV ad in the 1970s. Contributed


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