Sam Neill on Red Meat Evolution

Sam Neill, winemaker and actor known for his role as Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park I and III, was the frontman for the Meat and Livestock Australia red meat campaign in March this year. The “Foundtion” campaign, designed to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, argues that humans are designed to eat red meat. The tagline, “Red Meat – We Were Meant To Eat It”, is used in the context of anthropological, archaeological and evolutionary nutrient studies. With a style reminiscent of his role in the 2002 BBC documentary Space, Sam Neill appears in two television commercials, ‘Evolution’ and ‘Library’. Predictably, vegetarians have not been impressed by the Red Meat campaign.

Sam Neill in Red Meat Evolution television commercial

Sam Neill in Red Meat Evolution television commercial

The 60 second “Evolution” ad begins with Sam Neill jumping down from a bare tree in a white desert. As he walks through the barren landscape he gives us a lecture on meat eating. “Over two million years ago our ancestors took a giant leap. They jumped out of the trees and started to eat red meat. The natural proteins helped our brain grow. Hunting forced us to think. Red meat was helping us come to be.” Neill enters a portal into the twenty first century, a door opening into a butcher’s shop, to observe two women choosing their red meat. “We instinctively desire red meat for its nutrients. Omega 3s, zinc, iron, B12 provided us with vitality and wellbeing.” The next scene has Neill emerging from the bushes to the sounds of ominous music. A touch of Jurassic Park perhaps? He walks up to the window of a family dining room to observe a family feasting on lamb chops. “Lean red meat three or four times a week is still an essential part of the diet of the most highly developed species on the planet.” In a close up Neill says, “Red meat. We were meant to eat it.” The spot finishes with Neill dancing in the desert with actors from the commercial in a scene reminiscent of the dancing butchers.

This 30 second “Library” spot features Sam Neill in a school library. “When our early ancestors Homo Habilis started to eat red meat our brains began to grow. Today lean red meat is just as important. Its nutrients, Omega 3s, iron, B12 are still essential for brain development. If Homo Habilis hadn’t eaten red meat our brains wouldn’t be the size they are today.” A girl who has just walked over to the bookcase, and brought back a book, says, “But here it says Homo Rudolfensis.” Neill looks into the camera knowingly and says, “Red meat. We were meant to eat it.” The ad finishes with Neill dancing the mambo with schoolkids on the school steps.


The advertising series was designed by advertising agency The Campaign Palace/Red Cell, Sydney, by creative director Paul Fishlock, copywriter Yanni Pounartzis, art director Dean Hunt, agency producer Meredyth Judd.

Filming was directed by David Deneen via Filmgraphics, Sydney, with producer Anna Fawcett and director of photography Peter Tischhauser. Editor was Sue Schweikert.

Music was produced at Nylon Studios.