Optus’ departure from animal mascots is “bold”, but if the brand can’t deliver on its ‘Declaration of Yes’ a consumer backlash will swiftly follow, one creative warned.
The return to 'yes' has received praise from the ad industry, but when the fresh positioning was unveiled on June 24 it also quickly drew criticism for appearing similar to Commonwealth Bank's 'Can' campaign, which was also created by M&C Saatchi.
The comparison between the two campaigns is "the elephant in the room", according to Jules Hall, managing partner of The Hallway.
“Two campaigns built around little words. Both introduced with a manifesto. Strategically and creatively there is more than a little similarity.”
Hall isn’t alone in his opinion. “Looks like an exact copy of the CommBank CAN Campaign,” one comment on B&T’s story read.
“Same Site. Same tone. Same thinking. Same agency. That sh!t cray [SIC],” said another.
Both campaigns had an overwhelming sense of positivity, centred on the use of one simple word and featured poems using the chosen word (see below for a comparison).
But ‘yes’ has been a prominent feature of the Optus logo since 1999 when the globe image was dropped from its corporate ID. In the same year the company also launched a ‘The Power of Yes’ ad to “celebrate how Optus empowers consumers with products which allow greater flexibility, connectivity, security, efficiency and personality”.
‘Yes’ is also the slogan the company launched with in 1992.
The telco may be going back to its roots but the new work is a big step away from the animal-heavy television spots its jingle brings to mind and M&C Saatchi's first ad for Optus (second video below).
Adam Ferrier, founder of Naked Communications, commended the brand on its return to yes, describing the work as “really brave” and potentially very positive”.
“There is a lot of latent equity in the ‘yes’ positioning and it’s a really clever move for them to bring it back," Ferrier said.
“Brands throw away equity too often so it’s good to see when brands recognise that they’ve thrown away something positive and claim it back.”
Hall described the new work as a “bold statement of intent”.
“The design of the new identity makes sense. Its simple, its human and its distinctive.”
“Some might argue that belittles the sophistication of their product. Others would argue it makes the complex more approachable.
“Strategically it could be seen as high risk – if the business can't deliver on the promise the next article will be all about the consumer back lash.”
CommBank’s Facebook page was inundated with disgruntled consumers after the ‘Can’ launch, with many turning can back into can’t. The backlash reached a new level after brand ambassador James Magnussen failed to win gold in the Olympic pool and the brand published an “unapproved” bomb hoax video about the London Olympics.
What do you think of Optus new look? Will you miss the animals? Is it too similar to CommBank’s ‘Can’? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment in the form below.
Optus 'Declaration of Yes':
There’s a little word that we don’t hear enough of these days.
One that allows amazing things to happen.
That’s why were bringing it back. Not just in words, but in our attitude.
And it all starts with what we can do for you, today.
Like yes to constantly improving our network.
Yes to creating new mobile plans that work with how you actually use your phone.
And yes to doing everything humanly possible to help you feel good about being with us.
Yes, it’s a big ambition. But it’s about to start changing things, for the better.
You have our word.
CommBank's 'Ode to Can':
There’s a four lettered word
As offensive as any
It holds back the few
Puts a stop to the many.
You can’t climb that mountain
You can’t cross the sea
You can’t become anything you want to be.
He can’t hit a century
They can’t find a cure.
She can’t think about leaving or searching for more.
Because Can’t is a word with a habit of stopping
The ebb and the flow of ideas
It keeps dropping
itself where we know in our hearts it’s not needed
And saying “don’t go” when we could have succeeded.
But those four little letters
That end with a T
They can change in an instant
When shortened to three.
We can take off the T
We can do it today
We can move forward not back
We can find our own way.
We can build we can run
We can follow the sun
We can push we can pull
We can say I’m someone
Who refuses to believe
That life can’t be better
With the removal of one