As a marketing specialist, there’s a lot you need to know about your target audience. Broadly speaking, it seems rather intuitive to say that every culture is different. Each has its own peculiarities, its own likes and dislikes, and its own sources of both appeal and revulsion. Culture, of course, comes in many forms. Nerd culture, Christian culture, and National culture are all different cultures that can and do overlap in many different and interesting ways, and if you’re diving into marketing it is your job to know the ins and outs of that overlap in order get your assigned product to the biggest audience. But what does someone need to know if they want to market to Australians in particular? Let’s find out.

Australia vs America and New Zealand

So the first thing that all marketing specialists should know is that Australia is not America. The marketing techniques that are so popular online often do not work against Australians or have to be remodelled in order to affect Australians. Why? You ask. A good marketing campaign, particularly one that uses universal themes and motifs, should be able to affect anyone anywhere, yes.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the most basic ones is our market and media saturation. For example, Australians aren’t constantly accosted by crime, murder and the “thrill” of controversy that tends to be the stables of American media. One of our most popular news programs, A Current Affair, is focused on local issues and personal stories of only local importance – personal stories that matter to Australians. This is a show that takes pride in hiring university-accredited experts or dealing directly with the affected parties and tends to ignore or avoid overt political messaging. Subtle political messaging through stories that are tailored to appeal to conservative demographics or promote conservative ideas? Certainly, but it’s the subtlety that counts.

And that subtlety applies to our advertisements as well. Australia never really embraced the “loud man yelling” genre of ads satirised by Powerthirst. But ads that combine grandeur and a humorous wit? Absolutely. Advertisements that evoked our local hard-working Australian population or that promoted “honest” farmers and working-class values as national values?  Absolutely. And advertisements that teased our geographic neighbour New Zealand, rival teams, business owners and our own employers? If it helps to define Australia through a bit of playful tease, comedic irony, subtlety, and a bit of sarcasm and that makes use of Australian slang in the process? Priceless.

Changing Times, More Subtlety and Playing it Smart.

Although it should be noted things are slightly changing. The push for diversity and respect in our advertising has been significant, and this has changed the faces we see in our ads. Where before it was the domain of almost exclusively hard-working, hard-playing men and women in the role of carer, mother, and housewife, it’s now fairly common to see women, disabled individuals, indigenous and Asian populations (typically Chinese) included in our regular advertisements with a focus on the breadth of our community.

Like America, many of these groups have been vilified by our culture, but (like our advertising) we tend to be more subtle in how we portray them in news and advertising media – if we included them at all. This means including these groups in our advertising often leans more into “expanding” what Australia includes rather than trying to right a wrong or throwing them in for attention shock value. They’re just part of the scenery, slipping right in alongside our comedic wit and irony – after all, our ads have always focused on the differences between classes and the strength of our community and the slang of our common language.

That’s not to say that Australian media and advertisements haven’t had issues in the past. Dealing with change and engaging positively with social issues is something web development agencies have had to put front and centre in their advertising, but it’s important to note that the issues have been very different from American equivalents, and as a result, the solutions and the way we portray things in our advertising are fundamentally different. Instead of a history of putting stereotypes front and centre, more often than not our issues (social and otherwise) have been treated with subtlety, swept under the rug, or somehow related to being part of the Aussie experience.

The solution for us? Reverse that subtlety and make it a positive part of the Aussie experience. Everything is about being subtle, including quietly including the product in our customers’ daily lives. To put it another way, we don’t beat our audience over the head with what the product is, why they should buy it, or make absurd promises claiming that our product (or inclusivity) is some sort of solution to all our issues, we just let our products already be a part of their lives and use the advertisement to expand the definition of what our lives are.

Our advertisements trust our audience to be smart enough to see the subtle nods and our audiences respect our products when we treat them as smart.  Which feeds right back into, you guessed it, the cunning wit and irony. We trust our audience to get the jokes, so we don’t have to ram the joke down our audience’s throat or explain it to them – we know they’ll get it, and if they don’t, they’ll work it out. This leads us to the final point…


I mean, you should, but also so should your advertising. Many of the best advertisements in Australian history have a relaxed and laid-back nature to them. The sort of ads you can chill to, or that feels like you’re chatting with an old friend, or witnessing something happen to your mate beside you. We don’t want or need the preacher throwing the product in our face, we want it part of the background, part of the scenery, and we want to be able to smile when we see it. And that is the key. If you can make an Australian feel relaxed and smile while watching your ad, they’re going to think of it positively when the ad ends. And that positivity, that hopefulness, that charm, is how you’ll win Australian audiences.

Images: Supplied.

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Web Oracle.