Vegemite: Sister Knows Best (1948)
A black-and-white cinema advertisement for Kraft Vegemite outlines the benefits it has if added to one’s diet, especially for children and infants.
As young mothers take their children to baby health centres, clinics and day nurseries around the country, a male voice-over outlines the good work that these places are doing for young Australians. In the waiting room of a baby health centre the mothers and their children wait for expert advice about common complaints. Inside the consultation room a young mother asks for advice from the nursing sister about her son Albert. The male voice-over says, ‘Let’s listen in on this conversation. We might get some good advice’.
Albert has stopped drinking his milk and the nurse advises to mix a little Vegemite with his milk and spread some on his bread and butter. Back at home in his highchair, Albert’s appetite has returned and he happily drinks his Vegemite-flavoured milk. The voice-over announces ‘that sister was right’.
Vegemite is then shown to be a tasty product that ‘costs less’ and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Summary by Poppy De Souza
This advertisement begins inside a baby health centre where young mothers and their children await expert advice from the nursing sisters. Vegemite is recommended as a solution to one child’s dislike of milk and is promoted as being good for children from five months or even younger. This section of the advertisement is designed to appeal directly to mothers and their children, but Kraft also cleverly notes that the men in the household also enjoy Vegemite (the husband chomping on Vegemite on toast in the kitchen is evidence of this!). Thus Vegemite is positioned as a product that the whole family can enjoy.
Typically of the time, food products such as Vegemite, Kraft Cheddar Cheese and Kellogg’s Cornflakes were also marketed as having economical benefit (both in time and cost).
Kraft cleverly positions Vegemite as a healthy and nutritious, expert-endorsed product using a male voice-over who reinforces the message in his authoritative tone.
The famous jingle We’re Happy Little Vegemites was recorded in 1954, six years after this advertisement was produced.
Notes by Poppy De Souza