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UM has been promoting Lamb as the most patriotic food to eat on Australia Day for over eight years.  Lamb is now officially Australia’s favourite meat and hundreds of thousands of families gather together to eat Lamb on the national day. But sometimes success itself can be a challenge. As demonstrated by the brief from its client: “Last year was our best ever but this one needs to be better.  Just sell more Lamb on Australia Day.” The ambition was greater, the budget the same. So the agency had to be smarter, braver and more creative to meet its three objectives:

1. 20% increase in Lamb conversations vs. the 2012 Australia Day campaign. 
2. Increase the perception that Lamb is the patriotic food choice on Australia Day - from 77% to 82%.
3. 5% increase on 2012’s record Australia Day Lamb sales.

For the last eight years UM’s campaigns have featured Lamb’s infamous ambassador, Sam Kekovich.  He has become an icon for telling Aussies, “Eat Lamb on Australia Day”. But nine years on his entertaining call-to-arms had lost its edge.

The brand insight: Lamb is synonymous with Australia Day but its famous ambassador was losing his ability to motivate the nation into action. It needed a fresh approach that would turn people’s expectations on their head.


For those not from Australia, this is what happens on Australia Day. People get together with their friends and families, often around a barbeque, and go overboard celebrating the wonderful country. Everyone gets into the spirit of the day, walking around in corkscrew hats, decking out in green and gold and paint on Southern Cross tattoos without anyone blinking an eye. They not only have permission to wear the country flag on our chest, they positively revel in it.

The consumer insight: No Aussie wants to feel un-Australian on this national day, and nothing is more Australian than eating lamb. UM decided to break tradition. Instead of using Sam as a mechanic to entertain people, it forced him to play on this worst fear in the lead up to Australia Day.

What if feeling Australian was out of your control? What if there was a strange condition that made you forget your Australian identity? The request to “better” Lamb sales in 2013 led to the creation of nationwide paranoia that something terribly un-Australian was taking over. 

The strategy: Create a Lambnesia epidemic.

Lambnesia is a disease that allows un-Australian thoughts to enter one’s brain. It strikes when you least expect and is highly contagious. The only known cure for Lambnesia: eat Lamb on Australia Day. The media created the entire Lambnesia epidemic and the paranoia that surrounded it. The strategy replicated the structure of a viral outbreak: from the first infection, to widespread contagion, to the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, and finally its containment.


First infection: Sam Kekovich was knocked out in a seemingly innocent accident on live TV and started posting strange social updates. “Accidentally picked up a tofu burger instead of a Lamb and it didn't taste too bad at all.” This most loved Australian was acting… un-Australian. Content seeped into the media and sparked public concern. Thousands of Lamb lovers responded with confusion and worry. One even called to let us know Sam’s Facebook page had been hacked. 

Epidemic: A short burst of TV revealed the reason for Sam’s disturbing behaviour – he had been struck down by an aggressive case of Lambnesia. Broadcast media warned Australians of the highly contagious nature of Lambnesia. Outdoor and point-of-sale posters targeted people in areas of high congestion. High frequency TV, radio and digital display kept the threat of infection ever present. Placements in medical environments and social seeding contributed to the paranoia. UM also created a branded TV programme to show that some of the most loved celebrities had fallen victim to the disease and remind viewers of the warning signs of Lambnesia.

Treatment: The National Lambnesia Test was built to identify un-Australian behaviour.  Social channels enlisted people to take the test online and street teams picked on worried pedestrians. The test diagnosed the examinee’s level of Lambnesia and prescribed the only cure – eating Lamb. The prescription came in the form of a special Lamb recipe. People were encouraged to share their results and recipes so their friends could avoid the same fate.


One in two grocery buyers were exposed to Lambnesia; one in 23 watched the bespoke content and one in 40 took the National Lambnesia Test. Results confirmed 294,000 cases of the disease. The undoubted cultural impact of the Lambnesia Epidemic enabled UM to not only meet but far exceed its ambitious targets:

Objective 1: Fuel a 20% increase in Lamb conversations. 
Result: There were twice as many online conversations about Lamb in the lead up to Australia Day 2013 than in 2012.

Objective 2: Increase the perception that Lamb is the patriotic food choice on Australia Day from 77% to 82%.
Result: The number of people that believe Lamb is the patriotic food choice on Australia Day increased by 25%, to a massive 96% of the population. There was also a 12% increase in Australians saying they were more likely to eat Lamb this Australia Day.

Objective 3: Drive a 5% increase vs. 2012’s record Australia Day Lamb sales.
Result: There was a whopping 13.4% increase vs. 2012’s Australia Day campaign Lamb sales, and a massive 48% increase against weekly average sales.  This translated to $42m of sales revenue.

Put simply the Lambnesia Epidemic drove Lamb’s strongest results ever.

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Brand Owner:
Meat and Livestock Australia
January - January 2013
Media Channel:
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