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. In 1977 the federal government expanded the program nationally. Federal funding ended in the early 1980s, redirected towards elite programs. Life Be In It continued for a time working with other groups like the National Heart Foundation of Australia, before going into hibernation.
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 Philip Adams and Alex Stitt; Stitt drew all the cartoons.
The campaign was an enormous success in terms of recognition, by 1979 about 83% and by 1982 about 94%. Recognition remains high at 85%. 'Life. Be in it.' continues to be active throughout Australia and continues to involve Australian's in activities in every State and Territory. Programs include Life Games, Corporate Cup, Walking activities etc.
The original theme music for the campaign was created by Peter Best.