Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production
Truth, Courage and Comedy: McCann Worldgroup Releases Data and Insights on Aussie Culture
Advertising Agency
New York, USA
Age-old assumptions about the Australian outlook on life are challenged in the report

Over half of Australians worry that their country is in a state of conflict. Yet over a third say their biggest deathbed regret will be taking life too seriously and stressing too much over small things, according to new data released by McCann Worldgroup.

The study draws on recent local data from McCann’s global proprietary intelligence unit, Truth Central which has data from over 30,000 respondents worldwide. Of the 1,000 Australian respondents the study shows that Australian culture is no longer shaped by one dimensional trends, but rather by opposing forces.

McCann Australia’s Chief Strategy Officer, Frances Clayton, says the study uncovered six deeply local cultural tensions that are shaping our collective psyche, our identity and our future.

“This research has led us to some confronting truths that challenge our assumptions about Aussie culture. We can all get caught up in our media bubbles but this data keeps us honest and gives us a more truthful view,” says Clayton.

One of the most startling discoveries is the pull between conformity and courage, revealing that the bold, ‘can do’ Aussie spirit is more myth than truth.

Australia is one of the most risk averse nations in the world with 77 per cent of Aussies believing it’s better to play within the system to get ahead than to break the rules. Compare that to 67 per cent globally, or 58 per cent in China, and the research shows our conservatism as a nation is holding us back.

Our ambitious and enterprising Gen Z, however, are driving change. In fact, 78 per cent believe it’s more important to live by your own rules than those set out by others and they’re also far more likely to be continually thinking of ways to get ahead. 

McCann Sydney Managing Director, Hazelle Klonhammer, says this contrast raises questions for marketers and brands, such as “Am I a champion of a more courageous Aussie spirit? Or am I another conformist playing it safe?”

“McCann’s global success at both Cannes and Effies in recent years doesn’t happen by accident. It all starts with uncovering truth and insights that lead to great strategic platforms and brilliant ideas,” says Klonhammer.

“Truth Central is filled with stories and surprises that get you thinking about things in new ways. Ultimately, that’s what makes the work better.”

Other discoveries from McCann’s latest Truth Central research include:

The importance of humour as way to deal with the pressures and problems of modern life. 78 per cent of Aussies would rather be regarded as having good sense of humour than being good looking.

The vital importance of truth and honesty in times of deceit. 79 per cent of us agree it’s important to put the truth before other factors in all situations - that’s up from 52 per cent in 2015.

The increasing loneliness we feel in a connected world, with two-thirds of Australians suggesting they feel lonely, despite being surrounded by family and friends.

And the uncertainty we experience with the rapid shift in roles and norms. 57 per cent of Australian men are confused about what it means to be a man today.

Truth Central is dedicated to unearthing macro level forces that impact people’s lives, and how that affects clients’ business and brands. Now seven years in, Truth Central has accumulated 25 million data points across 50+international markets and 200,000 respondents.

McCann will share all six tensions in depth with its clients and peers through a series of events and workshops.