What is the magic ingredient for these iconic Australian brands?

By The LDN Team | 7 March 2017
What is the magic ingredient for these iconic Australian brands?
We explore what it is that has led Vegemite, MILO and Redheads to become beloved Australian brands.

Even Australia’s most iconic brands were once small businesses trying to make their mark in a busy world. 

These days, brands like Vegemite, Milo and Redheads can be found in almost every Australian cupboard – and it’s no accident. 

Each of these iconic Aussie names has one defining thing in common: consistent brand cut-through in a heavily saturated market.

Let's take a look at how three iconic Australian brands turned into household names.


Vegemite is instantly recognisable by its yellow and red label.

It’s salty, bitter and a little bit malty, so how exactly did a jar of yeast extract become a must-have in kitchens across the country? 

Created in 1922 in Melbourne, Vegemite is a classic Australian success story with a brand (and recipe) that has stood the test of time. Today more than 22 million jars are produced per year, with the billionth jar of Vegemite sold in October 2008. 

And the magic ingredient in this winning formula? Consistent branding. 

Just look at how the brand has relentlessly promoted the health benefits of the spread, which is a rich source of Vitamin B. Vegemite received an official nutritional endorsement from the British Medical Association in 1939, which led to huge growth for the brand. By the late 1940s, Vegemite could be found in nine out of 10 households. The brand still promotes the nutritional value of the spread today with a small stamp on the jar that reads ‘Rich source of Vitamin B’.

Perhaps the brand’s most iconic moment was the release of the now-famous Vegemite jingle, developed by advertising powerhouse J. Walter Thompson in 1954. To test the brand’s strength, ask your friends if they can remember the ad and they’ll start singing chirpily about how they are “happy little Vegemites”. 

The brand has experienced a few #vegefails (iSnack 2.0 anyone?). But the extent to which people protested against changes simply shows how much Australians love Vegemite – just the way it is. 


MILO, is known equally for its green packaging as a MILO cough.

Where there are kids, there is MILO. A malty chocolaty powder that is added to milk, MILO can be found in almost every Aussie family home. 

Originally invented in 1934 and launched at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, it was named after the ancient Greek athlete Milo of Croton. Since then, the brand has maintained this athletic theme and continually promoted itself as a good source of energy for active Aussies. In fact, through its 25-year-strong partnership with Cricket Australia, MILO claims to have introduced more than half a million Aussie kids to the game each year. 

Like Vegemite, MILO hasn’t veered far from its original packaging: a light green label on a tin. Likewise, marketing has consistently led with the tagline ‘go and go and go with MILO’. 

MILO might be an Aussie brand, but it’s sold in 40 countries worldwide. And while the recipes vary around the world, Aussie MILO still tastes the same as it always has.  


Redheads matches website

Redheads uses its core brand image consistently across all it channels, including its website.

Who would have thought a little box of matches would become the top-selling brand in Australia? 

Bryant & May started producing matches in 1909, but it wasn't until the red striking heads were added in 1946 that the brand was truly born. The head and shoulders of a beautiful redheaded woman were added to the box shortly after, and she has remained there ever since, with four slight updates to her look since that time. 
In 2000, faced with the competition of another matchstick brand, the marketing gurus behind Redheads decided to run a campaign to highlight the heritage of its iconic brand.

Consumers were encouraged to submit their artwork of the redheaded woman on the packet, with the winning entries put on display in a Melbourne exhibition. 

The campaign was a retrospective into the long history of the virtually unchanged brand, reminding consumers of their generations-strong relationship with the beautiful redheaded woman.

Are you using the magic ingredient?

If there’s one lesson any business take away from these iconic brands, it’s the power of repeatedly sending a consistent message to your audience. Over and over again. 

For these brands, the message not only sounds the same as it did last century, it largely looks the same too. But far from becoming annoying or boring to consumers, this time-tested approach has created love and loyalty across generations. If that’s not a compelling argument for consistent branding, we don’t know what is.

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