Whether you are a Baby Boomer, Millenial or even a Gen Xer, then you have undoubtedly heard of these iconic Australian brands before. You could draw their logos with your eyes shut and can bust out their jingle from memory, so what makes these brands so important to us? Well, we are going to endeavour to find out so come with us on this journey through time as we pay tribute to these Aussie legends. If these brands were to launch today, they would have worked with some of the best branding agencies in the world.
What makes Qantas iconic
Qantas is by no means the only airline in Australia, but it feels like the most enduring one. Perhaps it’s the iconic kangaroo logo on the tail of the plane, but it’s more likely the incredible Qantas ad that saturated the media for more than 20 years. The ad first launched in 1998, with the Australian Girls Choir and Gondwana National Choir singing ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ on the red soil of Uluru. Qantas is definitely a brand that has worked hard to support many social justice initiatives of the time, famously getting behind the Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite in 2019, pushing for Australians to get the COVID-19 vaccination with emotive ads, and even by putting pressure on Rugby Australia to fire Falou following his homophobic speech.
The history of Qantas
Qantas is one of Queensland’s most successful exports, having a humble headquarters in Longreach when they first came together in 1921. The founder said he was inspired by the ANZAC’s when he brought Qantas to the Australian people. Qantas became bigger still in 1992 when the Australian Government sold the domestic carrier Australian Airlines to Qantas, but there was a caveat. Qantas, by law, must remain at least 51% Australian-owned and that 49% is constantly monitored to ensure the appropriate level of foreign ownership. You don’t get to be one of the most iconic brands in Australia without threatening legal action against it!
What makes Bunnings Warehouse iconic
There is something so reassuring about seeing a Bunnings employee in their green apron telling you that yes you can replace your bathroom door. Bunnings Warehouse has won the hearts of all Australians with their huge aisles, catchy jingle and of course – the sausage sizzles out the front of the store! It’s the kind of place you could go with your parents, friends and kids and get equal enthusing from each party. For most brands, having their name become a verb would be the ultimate sign of success, and Bunnings has definitely achieved this. “Get it from Bunnings” means, at least to us, go and buy something to fix it or replace it – even in the unlikely event that you don’t go to Bunnings.
The history of Bunnings Warehouse
It wouldn’t be overstating it to say that going to Bunnings on the weekend is something of an Australian pastime. This brand has inspired a movement of DIY where even the most hardware clueless can find the tools they need to improve or create something in the home or garden. Bunnings also have an ironic following too, with their cord caps and bucket hats are seen on the heads of hipsters all over the country.
What makes Quicksilver an iconic brand
Few brands can really sell a feeling or a state of mind like Quicksilver. Growing us as a 90s kid, being decked out in Quicksilver was the ultimate sign of status. It didn’t matter that we were an hour away from the beach because everyone wanted to pull off the surfy clothes that Quicksilver’s eternal Summer created. Quicksilver Inc was recently rebranded to Boardriders Inc and the company owns many adjacent brands like Roxy, Rip Curl, Billabong, DC Shoes, Element, Von Zipper, RVCA and XCEL.
The history of Quicksilver
Quicksilver didn’t just talk the talk, they were actually out there supporting up and coming surfers and sponsoring events that aligned with their core brand. To this day, Quicksilver still hosts the annual Quicksilver Pro at the Gold Coast which is part of the World Surf League. Although even if you are watching our Aussie’s compete in South America, Hawaii or anywhere in the world – you can bet that they will be wearing Quicksilver who continues to sponsor male and female surfers.
If Australia has a taste, then surely it is Vegemite! Made from the remnant yeast from a brewery, the links to Australian culture almost seems satirical. The black paste in a yellow-lidded jar can be found in just about every Australia’s pantry, whether you prefer to apply it thin or heavy-handed on your toast. The fact that this salty spread is hated by anyone who visits Australia and tries it also makes it a bit more special like we are all in on the secret. We think the National Museum of Australia said it best when they said “it provides a connection back to seemingly simpler times and is symbolic of the reverence for the ordinary in Australian culture”.
The history of Vegemite
In 1928 when Vegemite sales were poor performing, the brand was changed to Parwill with only a brief justification given – “If Marmite… then Parwill.” Fortunately, it was back to Vegemite not long after. It might break your heart to know that Vegemite has only been Australian owned since 2017 when Bega Cheese Limited bought it back. Prior to this, it was American owned by Kraft which is interesting now considering parts of the USA has banned Vegemite as the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) says it does not have folic acid added.
Seem strange? Well, Victorian prisons have also banned Vegemite since 1990 to prevent inmates from brewing alcohol from its high yeast content. Although without live yeast this is not a real risk and so our Victorian inmates are without Vegemite for no reason.
What’s your favourite biscuit in Arnotts Assorted Value Pack? Arnotts has really created something for everyone with their huge range of biscuits and snack food. Arnotts also owns brands like Tim Tams, Mint Slice, TeeVee Snacks, Wagon Wheels and Family Chocolate. One of the more recent developments in the business was their launch of a fully gluten-free Arnotts range. This might not seem like a big deal, but considering Arnotts Primary ingredients have gluten and they are not in a position where they need to appeal to more people – they have developed a range that tastes just like their classics. This has won serious kudos in the coeliac community.
The history of Arnotts
What we love about Arnotts is that it’s grown from word of mouth. Hard to believe, but Arnotts was once a small bakery that would serve sailors heading out to sea, and they would share them with people all over Australia. Soon they had a big red truck that would deliver the biscuits and pastures around Sydney and demand literally grow the business. Arnott’s appeal to kids (Teevee Snacks) and to adults (Ginger Nuts) and they seem to go from strength to strength. Arnotts single serve biscuits wrapped in plastic can also be found in hospitals, hotels, waiting rooms and other places Aussies often visit. They are part of the Australian fabric now.
We hope you are feeling inspired and hungry by the most iconic Australian brands mentioned here. It’s hard to imagine how a new up and coming brand could compete with these heavyweights, but we look forward to adding to this list when new iconic brands emerge. Check out our other Melbourne Food topics!