Classic Australian TV Ads

Tonight leaders of the Australian creative industry gather at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney for the Advertising Federation of Australia’s annual general meeting and celebration of fifty years of television advertising in Australia. There will be a presentation of thirty iconic Australian ads, chosen by representatives of the advertising industry here. There will be an opportunity to bring that list down to the top ten.

AFA 50 Years of TV Advertising

I’ve only been in Australia since 2001 so I haven’t seen a lot of these ads. So you Australians might have to help me out here. What are the classics you remember? Here’s the top thirty, in no particular order.

Holeproof – Antz Pantz ‘Sic ’em Rex’

Winfield – Anyhow (Paul Hogan)

World Series Cricket – C’mon Aussie

Holeproof – Computer Socks

Decore. The jingle used is a parody of a classic Gene Chandler doo-wop hit “Duke Of Earl” which they adapted to this commercial as “Dec-or-e. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Dunlop Aircraft Carrier ad shows an EA Falcon landing on an aircraft carrier in 1992.

Yellow Pages – Goggomobil

Department of Health AIDS awareness – Grim Reaper

Kraft – Happy Little Vegemites

Harper’s Bazaar – Beauty

Harpers Cat Chow

Tooheys – How Do You Feel?

Qantas – I Still Call Australia Home

Lamb Roast – Tom Cruise (with Naomi Watts)

Life. Be In It. (1970s Government PSA featuring Norm)

AMLC – Lifeboat

Mortein – Louie the Fly

OTC – Memories

Mercedes-Benz – Crash

Coamas (Australian milk authorities) Milkman

Yellow Pages – Not Happy, Jan

Castrol – Oils Ain’t Oils

Tourism Australia – Shrimp On The Barbie (Paul Hogan)

Stainmaster (Sir Les Patterson or Pro Hart?)

Carlton Draught – Big Ad

Holeproof – Underdaks

VB (Victoria Bitter) – Original

Crown Corning – Vision Saucepans

Tourism Australia – So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?

Meadow Lea – You Ought To Be Congratulated

Filed under: Commercials


  • nicole

    Hi everyone, I am desperately searching for an old vb commercial made around 1978 – 1984. It features a relative who has since passed on. I have spent the last 5 years searching for it. Bascially the vb ad im looking for features a few greek men at victoria markets in melbourne and one of them is holding up a fish about his head. I cant remember what else is featured in that commercial if anyone can help I would be forever greatful. my email is nikki_jae at Thankyou

  • hairydogtrumpet

    classic aussie add, MUM KNOWS!

  • Justin Stern any luck finding that advertisement for Swan Beer “they said you’d never make it etc…” great ad
    any one out there who knows where it is i will buy them a beer.

  • Matt

    I am trying to find an online copy (either video or just audio) for what was I believe HBA Health Cover, pre June 30th, that involved the cricketer and the “Creepy little kid”… you know, “Hit’s you pretty hard, hey dad?”

  • paul

    i’m looking for an ad that was shown during a movie tennage mutant ninja turtles very early 90’s. the ad is for mexican food. there was a dancing cactus and the song that was sung by the cactus that i recall is ” mexican, of course you can, comes the pot, comes the can, you don’t need no frying pan!, whoo hoo hoo.” yeh i know that’s sad but i need to find this ad. please help. thanks.

  • Mark

    Hello, I’m really keen to track down copies of old Honda motorcycle ads. In particular XL 250S/XL500S. Made in Australia around 1978/79. Any help would be great.

  • Hussy71

    Can sum1 please please tell me i can find copy of old sydney add selling security doors/locks/screens wif bloke pretending to b burgalar in it wearing balaclava, it was screened bout mid 80’s Cheers Hussy

  • Trina Woodhouse

    Please email me the first d decore commercial. Duke of earl. I think it was in the eighties

  • Mark Davidson

    What was the ad with the classic line:

    ‘They said you’d never make it’

  • Lady Michiru Kaiou


    I know exactly the ad that you are referring

    Like you, the most memorable part for me was the creepy, thumping music.
    It featured a labrador retriever named Houdini,
    running through a bush location.

    All I can remember of the narration is:

    “This is Houdini . . . his ears have been cut

    It also shows a headshot of Houdini as the
    camera pans out to show the mutilation.

    I think it was an RSPCA ad, but I’m not sure.
    I’m looking for it too.
    And yes, the music still creeps me out 21 years
    later, just thinking about it.

  • kate

    hi guys im dying to find the ad from early 90’s i THINK it was promoting tests for cervical cancer. its different women saying ” awww it could be lifestyle, could be the environment…..aww im a single mother with a daughter…” with a really brash australian accent..

    • Megan Westbury

      It was for low iron. It’s on YouTube now!

  • loulou

    Peter – regarding the debate you are having with your wife. The ad was for the Yarra Valley. The jingle was a version of ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’. I think some of it was shot in Montsalvat in Eltham. The idea was that if you go there you won’t want to leave – the guests were hiding behind curtains and in the vineyards and the butler was having to stash all their suitcases in a big cupboard. It was a beautiful ad – a bit too beautiful as I had to catch it a few times before I understood what they were promoting!

  • Loulou and Peter – the Yarra Valley ad in question is featured here at The Inspiration Room, using the song, Run Rabbit Run.

  • jess Bannister

    that animal ad that goes bodom badom, was i think for the melbourne zoo, not rspca. great add.

  • Craig

    Were they whistling ‘The 1812 Overture’ by Tchaikovsky? That one was the ad for the Army Reserves.

  • Craig

    ‘They said you’d never make it…but you finally came through” was the jingle for Swan beer (WA brewery) around the time we won the America’s cup. It was all owned by Alan Bond at the time.

    “You made it through, and this one’s made for you…..this SWAN’s made for you”

  • sydney

    does anyone know where i can find the Kit Kat commercial that had the cockatoo saying “I know…” down the phone while his owner had a break?

  • Darren

    Does anyone know where i can get a download of an old tooheys ad where its set in gallipoli and at the end of it one guy say to another ” now he’s gotta go back and get his hat”.

  • mk9

    Does anyone know where I can watch the current Mccains Gourmet Pizza TV ad online?

  • John

    I was wondering if anyone knows where I can find the old Cougar whiskey ads, the one where the guy is trying to remember his order at the bar and a blonde in a tight vest with “Cougar” on the front serves him and he orders “4 Cougars” instead.

    I know of this ad but never seen it.


    • Dalv0

  • Peter V

    I too like Sidney am looking for that KIT KAT ad where the cocketoo repeats the words;” I know”
    Is it available anywhere???

  • Sue

    Does anyone know where I can download the new Smiths Chips ad where they’re at the beach. The song in it is “So happy together”

  • John Carr

    Hi, I have been desperately searching for years for some ads I remember from my earlier years. They are ..

    1. I think it was shell unleaded fuel. You see a merrigoround with the horses going up and down, with a kinky tune playing, then one breaks out and runs free, a big white stallion, it jumps a big gap and is running as the music picks right up. The ad was introducing shell? unleaded fuel.

    2. The classic Holden VL commodore commercial about 1986, pulling the Australia II yaght across the dessert, passing a ford. Was done at the introduction of unleaded fuel for the Holden V8 to assure people that the V8 had not lost any power due to unleaded fuel.

    3. ‘The lion that roars in 84’ classic holden commercial

    plz plz plz anyone who can help me send me an email

  • Rhiannon


    I am trying to find a downloadable copy or youtube url of an Aussie ad that aired in late 2006 early 2007. It was either on SBS or ABC (sometimes was played at the movies before the flick started) and it followed the narrative of an idea or something. it was created using all neon lights as if someone was scribbling the story on paper and it had a mans voice narrating the ad. Something like “there once was an old man…” If anyone can help that’d be great.


  • john Khoury

    I’m looking for the old a hudson hardware commercials which had a character in it called house pride herb-can anyone help???

  • Acai Berry

    Thanks to the article, it make the life of a seo/link building easier and make the commenter come back again and again. I searched for a while to find the right answer to my questions!

  • Craig Turner

    Where can I find a copy of the classic Noel Brophy 70’s era commercial… “so call now for your free (cattledog lands in his arms)no no, not a cattledog, a catalogue!”. I cant remember what was being advertised, which might help me locate it. Can anyone help?

  • Paul

    Re …the Decore ad

    Music was produced by a friend of mine Clive Harrison, he did the bass vocal parts which was a remake of the 1950’s hit “Duke Of Earl”

    Clive is ex Kush, Avalanche, LRB and Dave Dobbyn (DD Smash) also worked at times with Les Gock (ex Hush)making jingles..he is still about doing sound for film and TV

    The Decore ad I believe was released as a single under the name of “Dukes Of Earlwood”
    Hope this helps..

  • Paul

    I am looking for a Coke ad from around 1970
    featuring a Ford Capri at Oran Park

  • John

    Funny! no one has mentioned the UNCLE SAM ad that won awards in the seventies for best commercial. People these days don’t seem to remember it!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joshua Hrouda

    One ad I’d love to see again, among 1000’s of others, is the Sydney Electricity ad, which has time lapse images of waterways, etc. including a waterlock being raised and lowered, the soundtrack was a great piece of classical music.

  • Joshua Hrouda

    OK.. Enough is enough!!
    What I need to do (or someone else), is get a bunch of (100’s of) video cassettes from the mid 70’s until the mid 00’s and play them on a studio quality VCR/VTR, and digitise the ads found on those tapes, in full resolution, and edit/trim their starts & ends, and save them as individual files on a hard drive. Then make these available on the net.
    Some people (read: bloody wowsers) would say you can’t do that, you don’t have the copyright, etc.!
    But I say “Stuff ’em!”
    This is getting them more free advertising, so they should thanks us!
    Even if it isn’t, what harm can it do!?
    They made us watch them, some of us love them, so why deny us the right, to watch them again ?!

    I hate it when I see people chuck out their old VHS tapes, I take em all home, when I see em. Sometimes I find classic ads, from the 80’s, 90’s, etc. on them.

    The place to really find a goldmine, is at the TV studios. They keep nearly everything.
    But they wouldn’t let you make copies of them, not even for $10,000 per ad. And I’m talking 1000’s of ads!

    Also, with the recent proliferation of PVRs/DVRs/DVD recorders & Tivo units, a lot more recording of TV will be going on. And in a higher quality format, than old VHS.
    Hopefully people will keep ads on DVD.
    I’d love to have a DVD set of just TV ads.
    Even run of the mill ones like advertising a TV program coming up.

    Let me know what you think. Thanks.

  • Joshua Hrouda

    I became a MASSIVE fan of the computer game(s) Lemmings. Then I remembered seeing an ad for it on TV, available at Harvey Norman, I think.
    Must’ve been around 1991 or so, when the game first came out.
    This kind of ad is one most people who bother to KEEP ads, wouldn’t keep.

    But with digital media storage space becoming cheaper every week, we can afford to.

    Lets just hope someone set their VCR to record a show, and left the ads in! And this ad, and countless others are saved for posterity!

  • Zano

    I’m looking for an old taronga park zoo ad where the animals are singing “you belong in the zoo”… i used to love that ad when i was a kid.

  • Debi Kobarg

    I am also looking for the original Holeproof underdaks ad, as well as the first few Fosters “How to speak Australian” ads (salad, remote control, washing machine. Can anyone help. Youtube has many but not the ones I’m looking for.

  • Kristy

    hi… im curious to find out the name of the song they use in the background of the current ANZ banking ads? the one with the violins… does anyone know?

  • Helen

    Living in the US now, but i remember growing up in the 80’s/90’s with ads like Rita the ETA eater, remakes of the original vegemite ads ‘puts a rose in your cheeks’ or something like that, Razamataz pantyhose “uh oh, razamataz”, Daffodil margerine ads ‘turn your bread upside down, taste it, don’t waste it, the great taste of daffodil’.

  • trog

    Interesting nostalgia from the Aussie “baby boomer” era etc. …
    like someone else mentioned – those ‘you need uncle sam’ deodorant ads ;
    … what about the “don’t waste a wash” Lifebuoy soap ads;
    … and those ORIGINAL Toyota “Silly Bugga” commercials [ where someone breaks down in a desert scene ] – not the newer “bugga!” ads filmed in the NZ ;
    … and those epic soft drink commercials with John Farnham etc. [ Fanta, Miranda, Tab etc. ]
    … or perhaps does anybody remember those daggy cigarette ads with Graeme Kennedy for Wild Woodbines or Kool menthols [ No I’m not a smoker ! ]

  • Michael Castellanos

    does anyone remember the rugby ad in the late 90s where they had animals that emulate rugby moves.

  • Юра

    задолбали не по русски писать

  • chris

    hi does anyone know where i can get a downloadable copy of the cartoon ad of the painting of the sistine chapel ” you want what where?? how about a couple of coats of nice duck egg blue” late 70’s early 80’s

  • ellie

    You need Uncle Sam You need Uncle Sam, lets get together with the starred and striped can.
    Its the perfect connection for fellas and girls…and under your arm is the top of the worrrld….wow now i am showing my age!

    Can anyone remember an ad from the very early 70’ was an ad for Red Tulip chocolate easter eggs…and a little boy is shown chasing a white rabbit throught tall ferns in a forest…it leads him to a stash of eggs..I was only very small when this was aired but have never forgotten it

  • Sam

    I’m trying to track down the lyrics to an advertisement about saving water back in the 1980’s. From memory I think it was a cartoon.

    So far all I can remember is:

    Don’t you think you oughta, save water,
    Don’t you think you oughta save water?

    Narrator says: “Here’s Sarah, she’s only 4” Sarah replies: “Four and a Half”
    Narrator says: “and she said..”
    Sarah then sings: “There’d be no green trees, buzzy buzzy bees, no water in the hose, you could wet your toes, it’d be a dry dusty place, you couldn’t wash your face, that’s where we’d be without water”

    I can’t remember anymore, and would be really grateful to anyone who could provide more info (or better still directions to access a copy of the commercial)? 🙂

    • Brooke Arnold

      did you ever find it sam … Ive searched for this for years!

  • Marcus

    Hi everyone,

    I have been trying to find an ad from the early 90’s i think.

    It was filmed in a warehouse and basically they made music by banging bins and lids, maybe tap dancing… and at the end a guy throws up an apple, catches it and then takes a big bite and you hear a nice crisp crunching noise..

    Can anyone help, its been on my mind for months now!! Please

    • Kyron


      I know you posted AGES ago, BUT… in YouTube, look up “Stomp Apples” – is this the ad you were talking about?

  • Karen

    I was discussing with friends ads that stand out from our youth. There are 2 ads in particular that have comments that stand out – and I have no idea what they were actually advertising.

    The first one: a man in a finnish (or similar) accent saying “look at the handle” as a picture of a cat with a handle on it’s back is shown.

    The second one: a grungy teenager is asking the question “got any blacker?”

    If anyone knows what these 2 ads are for I would appreciate it! I’m racking my brain!


    • Amal

      The Got any blacker ad was for Dr Martens Boots

  • Pete Mathers

    What about that classic mint ad. The one with those two guys in the grandstand. The nerdy one gives the fat dude a mint and then starts screaming after he swallows one. Jila Mints I think. Brilliant!

  • Lizzie

    Oooh…anyone have copies of the ads for “Pauls Iced Coffee…the Territories own” or the “Farmers Union Iced Coffee” with the overturned milk truck & none of the tow truck drivers wanna go rescue the truck till they’re told what the load is???
    Funny funny funny

  • linda

    karen, the got any blacker ad was for clarks shoes, it ran at back to school time and featured that kid being given a bunch of different shoes, all not black and saying ‘got ’em in black?’ then being given the black pair, and saying the tag line that we in my family are still repeating to eachother!!

  • Tony

    I remember these:
    You can get it with UV (UV Sunscreen).

    Where do ya get it? (Cut Price Supa Value Stores).

    Look! a white tornado (Handy Andy cleaner).

    Red Robin Starch (mighty tough socks).

    Where will you hide your Coolabah? (wine).

  • Tony

    oh and soap
    Wash your hands Jeffrey, with the Solvol Jeffrey.

    • Brendan S

      I’m still looking for this one and can’t find it anywhere, would anyone have it?
      We should all go through our old VHS tapes to see what we have for archival purposes.