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“It’s time”: revolution and evolution in Australian political advertising

Leanne White (College of Business, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 15 August 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine two significant political advertising campaigns which used the “It’s Time” slogan and to reflect on how these related to official, popular and commercial nationalism in Australia. The paper is primarily concerned with two main issues: identifying and examining the variety of images of Australia in two key television advertisements, and exploring the methods by which advertising agencies created positive images of Australia and Australians in the two campaigns. It specifically highlights the significance of the “It’s Time” campaign, which is relevant for scholars and advertisers seeking to understand effective political communication.


This paper examines television advertisements by using semiotics as the principal methodology. The research methodology devised for the advertisements consists of two main components: a shot combination analysis, also known as a shot-by-shot analysis, and a semiological reading of the visual and acoustic channels of the advertisement.


This paper examines the use of commercial nationalism in television advertising. As one of many social and cultural influences, advertisements assist the individual in understanding their notion of themselves and their relationship with the wider community – be it local, national, regional or global. The primary focus of this research is the phenomenon of commercial nationalism – the adoption of national signifiers in the marketplace. However, by examining the more general discourse on nationalism, particularly the voice of official nationalism – the promotion of nationalism by the nation-state (or those aspiring to power), the symbiotic relationship between these two complementary brands of nationalism is explored.


The methodology adopted for analysing the two political advertising campaigns offers conceptual and practical value. It provides a consistent set of terms and concepts for further research to build upon. The paper provides insights for the marketing or examination of advertising campaigns. The paper demonstrates the power of market research to inform a framing strategy for a political campaign. The paper contributes to the body of knowledge in this area and thus society’s understanding of these important periods in the nation’s history. In particular, the paper provides an exploration into the “It’s Time” campaign and how it mobilised a broader cultural awakening to engineer success at the ballot box in 1972. The two case studies examined in this paper are relevant to political scientists and media and communication scholars.



White, L. (2016), "“It’s time”: revolution and evolution in Australian political advertising", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 375-395.



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