Poms Will Whinge

The British Council promoted its Education Foundation Awards in Australia with an integrated advertising campaign, using the phrase, “Poms Will Whinge”. Each year the Council’s ‘Realise Your Dream’ programme, awards six creative Australians with a mentorship in the United Kingdom with their chosen British guru. M&C Saatchi, Sydney, was commissioned to develop an integrated marketing campaign in which British creatives complain about the money going to Australian colonials, including viral videos and direct marketing. Posters were placed around university campuses, cafés, hairdressers, wherever students hang out, to urge Australian creatives to visit the ‘Realise Your Dream’ website, www.realiseyourdream.org.au, and enter the competition. In this poster a woman grizzles about a scholarship to work with film director Mike Leigh.

Whining Pom in British Council advertising campaign

“You’re having me on right? Some Australian blow-in is going to be given the chance to work in our film industry in England? I know the British Council are trying to build the ties with Australia but isn’t this going a bit far? Wouldn’t a nice post card from Big Ben suffice? But $10,000 and a chance to work with Mike Leigh? That’s crap. I’ve been trying to get on a crew with him since I started film school in Leeds. Why should they come here and learn the tricks of our trade? Isn’t giving away your country’s secrets called treason? They used to chop your head off for that – parade your skull around on a pole. What the hell have Australians ever done in film anyway? Oh, I suppose there was Skippy and the The Sullivans. Don’t get me wrong. I like Australia. I was there in ’94. Nice people. Couldn’t live there though. Too many flies and the tomatoes had no flavour – taste like shit.”


The Poms Will Whinge campaign was developed at M&C Saatchi, Sydney, by creative directors Ben Welsh and Dave King, copywriter Oliver Devaris, art directors Graham Johnson and Gavin McLeod, and account manager Gareth Pask.

The phrase “whinging poms” was often used by Australian journalists in the 1960s to describe the attitudes of trade unionists, many of whom were British immigrants.