JUST months after Meat and Livestock Australia unveiled cricket icon, the late Richie Benaud, as a lamb ambassador comes news that quirky rugby winger, Nick “The Honey Badger” Cummins has become an MLA beef ambassador.
It would be crass to dwell on the fact the much admired and loved Benaud was old and feeble when chosen to front this year’s Australia Day lamb advertising campaign and died in early April.
But he was an odd choice, given his age and obvious ill health, as is the selection of Cummins as a beef ambassador to help promote the MLA’s new “You’re Better on Beef” campaign.
Cummins has become a cult figure in rugby circles for his politically incorrect one-liners during media interviews.
He also refers to scoring tries as bagging "some meat”, no doubt an abbreviation of the rhyming slang “meat pie” for a try.
Cummins has scored six tries in 15 Test for the Wallabies, a record that hardly marks him as a great player, not yet at least. Let’s see if he can make the Wallabies’ World Cup team.
And how widely known is Cummins outside of rugby?
Fans can rattle off some of his “classic” one-liners such as “I was sweating like a bag of cats at a greyhound meet”, “busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad”, “mad as a tree full of galahs” and “sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage”.
The theme of the “You’re Better on Beef” campaign is that life is a sport, so you need the right fuel.
Cummins’ first foray as an ambassador for the campaign is via a video in which he offers to help a boy scout, Felix Bodewes-Leach, improve his rugby skills in return for teaching the “Badge” some bush survival skills.
When Cummins announces he is so hungry he could “eat the crutch out of a low-flying duck”, Felix whips the top off a billy on their camp fire to reveal some warmed-up baked beans.
Predictably, Cummins won’t have a bar of them and instead pulls out a juicy T-bone and cooks it in a frying pan.
The video could hardly be classified as hilarious, and will probably do more to raise Cummins’ profile and bank account than encourage consumers to eat more beef.
Using Cummins’ larrikin “blokeyness” to sell beef doesn’t appeal to me - and I love rugby and admire the “Honey Badger’s” never-say-die playing style.
Having said that, the campaign will probably win a swag of advertising awards.