[Posted by Steven Noble]

If brands have personalities, then Australian brands often aspire to be larrikins.

Larrakins are much-loved figures in Australian society. In the 80s, we even elected one as Prime Minister. The larrikin is the one who knowns when to work and when to play, with an emphasis on the latter. The one who sees everyone as their equal — especially when it comes to humour. The centre of attention at every barbecue, flipping sausages and telling tall tales. The plain speaker with a big heart, a dry wit and a sore and sorry liver.

No surprises: Australian advertisers often use larrikin themes in their work. For example, BBDO Clemenger created the Four’N Twenty Magic Salad Plate, so larrikins can pretend their Aussie meat pies are surrounded by greenery. Likewise, ex-footballer Sam Kekovich plays the larrikin superbly in Meat & Livestock Australia’s Eat Lamb campaign, poking fun at everyone from hippies to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. (Of course, he’s actually mocking the traditional Australian values that he pretends to spruik in the ads.)

But here’s the thing: a true larrikin doesn’t need the big budgets and great production values of traditional television advertising. The Paul Hogan Show proved that. The production values were low and the jokes could have been written by any larrikin in the country, but it was hysterically funny and an Australian television favourite for more than a decade.

With a camcorder, a supportive boss and some fun-loving staff, larrikin brands could do the same. They could be dry wits on Twitter, inspiring the rest of us to LOL. They could be YouTube superstars, and the Paul Hogans of tomorrow. They could say the things the rest of us love to hear, but never say ourselves. They could bring larrikin brands to life for their irreverent fun-loving customers.