Life. Be in it.
The program began in 1975 with the Victorian state government, the brainchild of Brian Dixon, former Australian rules footballer and then Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation. One of their early programs was to bring over Pat Farrington, a co-founder of the New Games, suppling her with five vans and 25 volunteers to drive around rural townships in Victoria, teaching people how to play games (New Games Book: p22)
In 1977 the federal government expanded the program nationally. The campaign also aired in the United States on local television stations during the 1970s and 1980s.
The television advertisements for the program are cartoons featuring people doing a wide range of activities, with a catchy tune "Be in it today, live more of your life". The main character is Norm, a middle aged man with a prominent beer belly, meant to represent a "normal" Australian bloke. The idea for Norm and the advertising came from Phillip Adams and Alex Stitt; Stitt drew all the cartoons. In the origina run of television advertisements, Norm was voiced by Max Gillies. In the 2000 revival, the voice was provided by Dr Colin Benjamin.
The campaign was an enormous success in terms of recognition, by 1979 about 83% and by 1982 about 94%. Recognition remains high at 85%.
Federal funding ended in 1981, redirected towards elite programs. Life. Be in it. became Life. Be in it Australia company. Life Be In It continued for a time working with other groups like the National Heart Foundation of Australia, before going into hibernation.
The Life. Be in it. brand is now under the custodian of Life. Be in it. International Pty Ltd and is managed in each state by associations or companies. Some are given government grants to run specific programs but none are government programs. Life. Be in it Australia is now a charity.
'Life. Be in it.' continues to be active throughout Australia and continues to involve Australians in activities in every State and Territory. Programs include Life Games, Corporate Cup, Walking activities etc. and in South Australia and Victoria, the 'Life. Be in it' Sport for All Centres provide indoor social sporting competitions for children and adults.
- A brief history of Life. Be in it., at lifebeinit.org
- Active Australia?, ABC Radio National, 5 May 2000, transcript reproduced at lifebeinit.org
- Life. Be in it. Character Norm is to reappear, Perth radio 6PR interview, 7 November 2000, transcript reproduced at lifebeinit.org
- Life. Be in it. Silver Anniversary and Relaunch, 22 November 2000, at lifebeinit.org
- 'Life. Be in it' Sport for All Centres home page of sa.lifebeinitsports.org