It is a brave thing to try to revive the debate on the possibility of becoming a republic while the country is in the grip of a pandemic. But the Australian Republic Movement believes there is no better time than the present and has launched a campaign for its new proposal for an Australian head of state elected by the people from a shortlist provided by politicians.
To that end, it has released two video advertisements – which it intends to air on television after fundraising – with the new slogans “We can take it from here” and “One of us, for us, by us”.
The adverts have the jingoistic vibe of Australia’s annual ‘We Love Our Lamb’ Day promotion or a Qantas campaign, and were created by agency Brand + Story, which produced the TV ad last year Qantas Fly Away.
However, marketing gurus were less enthusiastic about the republic’s campaign, predicting it would struggle to grab the attention of Australians amid the COVID-19 crisis and arguing that the adverts themselves were disappointing.
Dan Gregory, founder of agency The Impossible Institute, said it was difficult for the campaign to align with our current needs, given all the changes already imposed by the pandemic.
“I don’t think that’s very compelling,” he said. “You have to earn apathy…which is no small feat. And I just don’t think this campaign has quite the power to influence this cohort.
Mr Gregory said the adverts were clearly designed to engage people in the idea of a republic without trashing the country’s recent history, but the strategy was very obvious.
“In the advertising world, people used to say about clumsy creatives, ‘I think your briefs are showing.’ What the expression meant was that the strategy was so overt that it appeared as transparent manipulation. In other words: I see what you are trying to do because you lack nuance. I think that’s the case here.”