Member log in

Southern Man axed

After more than 12 years on New Zealand television, the Speight’s Southern Man has been axed (scroll to end of story to see Speights' new commercial).

The long-running ambassador joins the National Bank horse and ASB's Ira Goldstein in the list of killed-off ad icons. 

The Speight's icon was originally played by Frank Whitten, who also appeared in Outrageous Fortune. Mr Whitten died early last year. 

Speight's marketing manager Jonte Goldwater told NBR ONLINE that scrapping of the character had nothing to do with the loss of Mr Whitten. 

While Lion Nathan has dropped the Southern Man, his classic line “good on ya mate” lives on in new advertising.

The ad with his replacement will air on Sunday evening.

Ad insiders say while the Southern Man was popular, he wasn’t getting beer off the shelves.

The original ad, Perfect Girl, where a young Speight’s drinker discussed moving to Auckland with the Southern Man, contrasted the country life with the big city. 

Now instead of dividing the North and the South, the new ad contrasts the hustle and bustle of New York with peaceful New Zealand. The catchphrase "pride of the South" is now "knowing what matters" since 1876.

Mr Goldwater told NBR ONLINE it was a long and hard decision, but the brand needed to acknowledge change.

He says the urbanisation of New Zealand meant the relevance of the outdoor life had changed.

But the new character still stands for all the things the original did. “We don’t view it as letting the Southern Man go, we’re refocused on the heart of the brand.”

The beer company has been careful not to attach themselves to the new character just yet. 

They have produced only one TV ad, which Mr Goldwater says will allow “flexibility to evolve and change”

The ad is the work of indie agency Shine, which won the account last year.

Lion Nathan ditched Publicis Mojo, after a closed pitch, and selected DDB for Steinlager and Shine for Speights. 

View the ad below.

More by Victoria Young

Comments and questions

Brilliant ad

Ooo! The new ad features a bevy of metrosexual boyth. Sooo cute; with 5 o'clock shadow. And more.


"Rupert, did you bring some glasses and the Sprite?".

Oooooh Tarquin you are so risque; pour me another shandy you bad boy!!

Out: "Good on yer, Mate".

In: "Speights and Vege Quiche. Life is Good."

Absolute rubbish Mr Goldwater, as if the Sourhern man was a real character 12 yrs ago!?

Did you think those ads were a documentary - it's called comedy.

The reality is the ads have been terribly written since the originals and as a result consumers have lost interest.

This new ad is utter kack - yet another NZ is better than overseas idea with a pathetic pay off - you left NY because they don't drink Speights. Seriously could you be more lame? Yes you probably could.

Have a look at Australian beer ads - sadly they are so much better than kiwi ones.

I'd like Speights to go back and make real beer again... dreams are free I suppose...

The Speights guy is hot! Beautifully shot - makes me proud to be a kiwi girl and it reminds me of why love living here. And yes I prefer beer.

It's a safe bet that Pubic's Mojo is peed off.

12 years ago? 20+ years ago more like it. Well overdue for a change.

Well, they have to get rid of the "Southern Man" and Pride of the South" tags, as Speights is now made in the North Island.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

I like the ad, BUT isn't the line prior to "Good on ya mate" Australian? "They don't drink Speights But". That's Aussie vernacular mate. "Yeah but...". But what? Not very Kiwi.

Heineken is made in South Auckland but you're not
having to tell consumers that.

Google says putting the word "but" at the end of a sentence is Australian, NZ, Scottish, English and South African vernacular but. Speight's started using it in ads ages ago, but.

Nah, sorry. That add is too long and just doesn't hold my attention.

Appalling ad. Bad acting, an obvious scenario that's been done before, no real insight into the target audience or culture. A badly done gag. Shine seem to be better at designing packaging and bars than making ads.

Ooohh. Bitchy.