2018’s ‘Best Ad’ Has A Hidden, Disturbing Message: Marketing Masterstroke Or Mistake?

NRMA Insurance recently released their first ad for 2018, promoting everyday heroes and showing Australians’ innate willingness to help others. Take a look:



Viewers have lauded the ad as one of the best ads of 2018 and on YouTube, the clip has surpassed 2.5 million views!

It’s emotional. It’s moving. It’s truly Australian.

The portrayal of a surfer saving a man from drowning is the embodiment of the Australian spirit. A group of commuters moving a train carriage to free a man’s jammed leg is inspired by a 2014 incident in Perth. And of course, sandwiched between these stories, is the NRMA assisting a young girl in a broken-down car.

These acts of kindness are part of our national identity, and give many Australians a reason to be passionately patriotic. Likewise, NRMA believe they help Australians suffering adversity, and have done so for over 100 years.

The objective of this campaign is to reposition NRMA in the market with their new tagline, “Help is who we are”, to highlight their role in the Australian narrative as a support system for their customers.

So, what’s the commotion about?

Well … did you listen to the lyrics? Play it one more time and see if you can notice anything.

In case you missed it, some of the lyrics are questionable.

Exhibit A: “I will come for you at night time”

Ok … that’s not too bad, but the mother’s expression does look slightly sinister. Let’s have a look at another.

Exhibit B: “I will kiss you in four places”

The context of the song is important here … it’s about a one night stand. We’ll just leave you with that.

Exhibit C: “I will squeeze the life out of you”


While the song ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ by Hunters & Collectors, is soothing and evocative listening, it is NOT appropriate for an ad featuring children and vulnerable koalas.

What were they thinking?

There are countless songs with warm lullabies and soft melodies to choose from. So why this one?

NRMA has responded to some criticism online, telling customers that the song choice captures “how powerful the Australian spirit of help can be in the face of adversity.”

We get that bit, but what about the references to sexual hookups and insinuated animal abuse??

The lyrics are just too bizarre to take this ad seriously, and once you’ve noticed them, you simply can’t ‘unhear’ it.

Unfortunately for these reasons, this week, it’s a…

Marketing Mistake


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Written By: Joshua Britt