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Unveiling the Stories Behind our Australian 12 Brands of Christmas

As the Christmas season ushers in joy and celebration, we embark on a fascinating journey delving into the rich narratives of 12 Australian brands that have become cultural touchstones. Let’s unwrap the stories behind these icons, each contributing a unique thread to the vibrant tapestry of Australian identity.

1. Rip Curl: The Groovy Wave-Riders In the laid-back ambiance of a 1960s Australian beach town, two surfing buddies, Doug "Claw" Warbrick and Brian "Sing Ding" Singer, shaped the destiny of Rip Curl. Founded in 1969, Rip Curl has evolved into a global surf sensation, recognized as one of the "Big Three" alongside Quiksilver and Billabong. The name Rip Curl, inspired by a surfboard, encapsulates the brand's commitment to grooviness and surfing culture. With an annual revenue surpassing $497 million, Rip Curl remains under the ownership of its original founders, solidifying its status as a premier surfing enterprise across continents.

2. Smiggle: Where Stationery Sparks Joy In 2002, Stephen Mueurs and Peter Pausewang observed a market gap for lively stationery, leading to the birth of Smiggle. The name, a clever fusion of 'smiles' and 'giggles,' perfectly captures the brand's essence. Smiggle rapidly expanded from its inaugural store on Chapel Street, South Yarra, to a global network boasting 290 stores across 7 countries. Acquired by Just Group in 2007 for $29 million, Smiggle continues to bring fun and fashionable stationery to teens worldwide, exemplifying retail success.

3. Macquarie: Pioneering Financial Innovation Macquarie Group, a powerhouse in investment banking, traces its roots to 1969 when Australian businessman Stan Owens laid its foundation. The name pays homage to Major General Lachlan Macquarie, known for innovative financial solutions. The iconic Holey Dollar symbolizes Macquarie Group's commitment to pragmatic financial approaches. With a global presence and over 14,000 employees, Macquarie Group manages assets exceeding $450 billion, shaping the landscape of global investment banking.

4. Qantas: Flying High with the Kangaroo When contemplating Australian airlines, Qantas invariably takes the forefront. Despite facing a tumultuous period, Qantas successfully orchestrated a turnaround, witnessing a remarkable 64 percent surge in brand value from 2015 to 2016, reaching an impressive $US2.18 billion. According to the Brand Finance 2017 report, Qantas now holds the distinction of being the 12th most valuable brand in Australia, marking one of the most significant corporate transformations in the country's history.

A clear manifestation of patriotic sentiments emerges in people's airline preferences. Australians frequently opt for the flying kangaroo over other brands, even when more budget-friendly alternatives exist. Qantas has adeptly positioned itself as the international embodiment of Australia, fostering a profound connection with Australians. This unique identity is a distinguishing factor that sets Qantas apart from other airlines in the country.

5. Vegemite: A Spread of Aussie Heritage Is there anything more quintessentially Australian than savoring a spread of Vegemite on toast? For many of us, the delight extends to tempting our international friends to give it a try, eagerly anticipating their reactions. This iconic spread has been a staple for over 90 years, with an annual production of approximately 300,000 jars and a staggering cumulative total exceeding 1.1 billion since its inception in 1923.

Although Vegemite was under the ownership of the U.S. confectionary giant Mondelez International, a recent development has seen the torch passed back to Australian hands. Bega Cheese, in a landmark acquisition, secured Vegemite and other products holding the Kraft license for a substantial $460 million. With manufacturing operations still based in Port Melbourne, this move signifies a significant return of this beloved and iconic brand to its Australian roots.

Vegemite's rich history solidifies its standing as one of Australia's most cherished brands. Notably, Vegemite made history by being the first product electronically scanned in an Australian grocery store, marking the milestone in April 1984. Presently, Vegemite graces the tables of 90 percent of Australian households, with a staggering 22 million jars making their way into the hands of consumers each year. This savory spread not only encapsulates the essence of Australian culture but also mirrors the resilience and enduring popularity of a true Aussie icon.

6. Visy: From Modest Roots to Global Impact In 1948, the inception of Visy Industries unfolded within the confines of a modest factory in the inner-city suburb of Fitzroy in Melbourne. Richard Pratt, along with three partners—Max Plotka, Leon Pratt (Richard's father), and engineer Les Feldman—shared a vision that would propel them into the realm of global industry.

Facing the challenge of securing funds for their venture, the entrepreneurial quartet sought financial support from Richard's aunt, Ida Visbord. It was Aunt Ida who, with a loan of 1000 pounds, provided the critical backing that set the wheels in motion. In a gesture of gratitude and homage to their benefactor, the company was aptly christened Visy Industries. Over the ensuing seven decades, Visy Industries has evolved into a colossal force within the realm of paper, packaging, and recycling. With a presence spanning both Australia and the United States, the company boasts a workforce of over 9,500 individuals. The annual revenue of Visy Industries has surged beyond the impressive benchmark of $5 billion, solidifying its status as one of the largest privately owned entities in its sector on a global scale. The journey from a small factory in Fitzroy to this pinnacle of success stands as a testament to the resilience, vision, and unwavering dedication of Visy Industries and its founders.

7. Woolworths: Cheeky Beginnings, Retail Legacy The origin tale of the iconic Woolworths brand name is steeped in classic Australian cheekiness. Back in 1924, five enterprising visionaries—Percy Christmas, Stanley Chatterton, Cecil Scott Waine, George Creed, and Ernest Williams—conspired to create an enduring Australian variety store. Drawing inspiration from the successful U.S. chain, F.W. Woolworth, the original moniker chosen was 'Wallworths Bazaar.'

Legend has it that, upon discovering the Woolworth name was unregistered in Australia and with no immediate plans for overseas expansion, Percy Christmas playfully challenged Ernest Williams to register "Woolworths." Seizing the opportunity and perhaps being a bit of a daredevil, Williams registered Woolworths Limited on September 22, 1924. The inaugural Woolworths store opened its doors in the old Imperial Arcade on Pitt Street, Sydney, in December 1924, proudly bearing the label 'the Woolworths Stupendous Bargain Basement.' From those humble beginnings, Woolworths has burgeoned into Australia's largest supermarket chain, boasting a vast network of 995 stores and providing employment for a whopping 115,000 staff. This audacious name registration spurred the growth of an iconic brand that has become synonymous with retail excellence and convenience for countless Australians.

8. JB Hi-Fi: Where Sound Meets Savings Distinguished by The Australian Financial Review as 'arguably the finest listed retailer in the nation,' JB Hi-Fi has solidified its presence in the hearts, minds, and households of Australian consumers. Established in 1974 in Melbourne's North West, the company bears the name of its founder, John Barbuto, affectionately known as 'JB.' Barbuto's straightforward philosophy aimed to 'deliver a specialist range of Hi-Fi and recorded music at Australia's lowest prices,' thus giving rise to the name JB Hi-Fi.

Known for its irritatingly memorable slogan – 'JB, you've done it again' – along with unforgettable TV ads featuring smashing glass end-frames and its unmistakable bright yellow stores, JB Hi-Fi has rightfully earned its status as one of Australia's most iconic brands.

9. Country Road: Fashioning a Timeless Road Ahead Unveiling the timeless charm of Country Road! Founded in 1974, this Aussie brand started as a response to the denim revolution and blossomed into a lifestyle icon. Join us on a journey through fashion, authenticity, and the road ahead with Country Road!

In 1974, Stephen Bennett, a Melbourne-based retailer, embarked on a venture into the denim boom that was revolutionizing the fashion landscape. Fueled by a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law, Bennett envisioned tapping into this transformative trend. His initial foray involved crafting a line of pure cotton man-styled shirts for women, which has since become an enduring icon of the Country Road brand.

Country Road, originally conceived as a response to the denim revolution, transformed over time into Australia's pioneering lifestyle brand. Catering to women, men, children, and home, the brand gained acclaim for its stylish, high-quality offerings spanning apparel, accessories, and homeware.

The genesis of the name "Country Road" reflects Bennett's strategic thinking. When quizzed about the choice, Jane Parker, a business addition in 1975, recollects, "Steve aimed for a name with longevity—one not confined to a specific product or gender. 'Country' symbolized our roots—authenticity and natural beauty—while 'Road' signified the path ahead. No rigid criteria were established. It wasn't overanalyzed; it just felt right. And that was it."

10. Bunnings: A DIY Wonderland Etched in Australian Culture Bunnings has solidified its position as one of Australia's iconic brands, leaving an indelible mark in the home improvement industry. Recognized by its catchy jingle and memorable catchphrase, Bunnings has become a household name.

Originally opening in 1886 in Western Australia as sawmill Bunning Bros. Ltd. It has grown to become one of the biggest and best-known brands in Australia. So, what sets Bunnings apart from its competitors? The answer lies in its commitment to making hardware easily accessible. Bunnings has curated a shopping experience where customers can find everything they need under one roof, eliminating the need to visit multiple stores. Even for those who may not be do-it-yourself experts, each Bunnings store is staffed with helpful personnel ready to assist and guide customers to the right products.

But Bunnings doesn't stop at just offering products; it creates a community atmosphere by frequently hosting sausage sizzles at its many stores. This event has become synonymous with the brand, further enhancing its connection with the local community. Bunnings has successfully

11. Arnott's: Crafting Delightful Snacks Since 1865 Arnott's holds the distinction of being the creator of some of the most delectable snacks and crackers that have graced our childhood, and we remain eternally grateful for the introduction of the SAO, especially when paired with Vegemite. Originating as a bakery in 1865, Arnott's has evolved into a legacy brand, leaving an indelible mark on Australian taste buds. With a diverse portfolio comprising over 30 products, this iconic business continues to enchant the palates of consumers across the nation.

Among Arnott's celebrated creations is the fan-favorite Tim Tam, a treat so enticing that we can't help but speculate on the design of its packaging. There's a prevailing suspicion that it might be intentionally crafted to make it challenging to return the delicious biscuits back into the packet, perhaps encouraging us to indulge and savor every bite. While this theory remains unproven, we can't resist putting it to the test on a regular basis. Arnott's, with its rich heritage and innovative treats, continues to hold a special place in the hearts—and taste preferences—of Australians.

12. Bundaberg Rum: A Culmination of Tradition and Distinction No comprehensive list would be truly complete without the inclusion of a refreshing beverage at its culmination. Bundaberg Rum stands as an Australian institution, renowned for producing internationally acclaimed rum and a variety of other alcoholic beverages. The roots of this Queensland-based distillery trace back to 1888, and it has since become a nationally recognized brand, marked by the distinctive presence of a polar bear in its logo. This iconic image has been further solidified through sponsorship of numerous events and causes, including support for the Australian Wallabies rugby union team, NSW Waratahs, the NRL, and V8 Supercars.

Beyond its primary rum offerings, Bundaberg Rum has diversified its product line to include liqueurs, pre-made cocktails, and reserve beverages. This expansion has not only broadened its appeal but has also contributed to its status as a brand that resonates not only within Australia but often on a global scale. These businesses, exemplified by Bundaberg Rum, have adeptly positioned themselves as iconic brands, standing out in their industries and providing a benchmark for others to aspire to. Their success stories serve as an inspiration for businesses seeking to make a lasting impact and carve out a distinct identity in the competitive landscape.

A Festive Thank You and a Look Forward to 2024 As we wrap up our exploration of these 12 Aussie brand stories, we extend our heartfelt thanks for joining us on this journey through the rich histories and vibrant narratives that define these iconic names. In 2023, we've delved into the foundations, the challenges, and the triumphs that have shaped these brands into the cultural touchstones they are today.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the stories yet to be told, the brands yet to be celebrated, and the journeys yet to unfold. In 2024, we anticipate another year of discovery, innovation, and inspiration as we continue to explore the ever-evolving landscape of iconic brands.

From all of us, thank you for your readership, engagement, and enthusiasm. We wish you a joyous festive season and a happy New Year, and we eagerly anticipate continuing to work with you and your brand in 2024. Here's to another year of brand stories, cultural milestones, and the magic that makes each brand uniquely Australian. Cheers! 🎉🥂

Get in touch with the team now to get your strategy or creative booked in for January.


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