Australian wine brand Yellow Tail has been criticised for an advert it aired during the Super Bowl in the US, but its creators said the sketch was just a bit of fun.

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Australians took to social media to decry the ’embarrassing’ portrayal of their nation in the Yellow Tail Super Bowl advert, which aired during the game between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons last weekend.

It is believed to be the first time a wine brand has advertised in 40 years of Super Bowls.

Yellow Tail’s ad, devised by a US agency, shows a muscular kangaroo with yellow-rimmed shades and a man wearing an all-yellow suit together at a beach party.

‘Yellow Tail Guy’ and his friend ‘Roo’ meet bikini-clad, Australia-born model Ellie Gonsalves, who is invited to pet the roo. In another scene, the kangaroo is playing dj behind the decks, with a vest that says ‘kiss the roo’.

‘It was meant to be playful,’ said Renato Reyes, chief marketing officer for Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, which handles Yellow Tail in US alongside several other brands.

‘We believe the scene plays as funny without crossing the line. If you look at the overall tone of the spot it was really playful, optimistic and good natured.’

A Super Bowl ad slot is one of the most prized in the US television market.

More than 111 million people watched the Patriots recover in dramatic fashion to beat the Falcons on Sunday night (5 February), according to figures released a day later. That is three million short of the record, set in 2015.

Yellow Tail was one of Australia’s early success stories in the US wine market, building up sales of eight million cases within five years of arriving on the scene in 2001.

Tom Steffanci, president of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, said, ‘[ yellow tail ] wine is putting wine back on TV’s biggest stage for the first time in decades to show America how fun and versatile wine can be.’

There may be more debate on social media to come, because the company said this was the first in a series of ads that will continue for three years.

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