Creative Focus: sweet treats and 'squandered' opportunities

Creative Focus: sweet treats and 'squandered' opportunities

Every week two creative types from different agencies put pen to paper and share their thoughts on six different campaigns.

This week, as part of our annual New Zealand issue, two NZ-based creatives judge Aussie ads.


Up for review this week:

  • UBank, The Monkeys
  • Durex, Fundawear, Havas Worldwide Sydney
  • Mentos, strawberry hitmen, Naked Communications
  • Canon Australia, 'No one sees it like you', Leo Burnett
  • Depend, 'Take the feel test', Shift
  • Nestle, 'Croaky, husky, hoarsey', Ogilvy Sydney

Tony Bradbourne, creative director and founder, Special Group

Despite the impression that the creative grass is greener over this side of the Tasman, we at Special Group constantly admire the innovative creative thinking that comes out of Australia. Big ideas for big clients with sensible production budgets.

This is an interesting selection of work. Most of it I know really well, but a few I hadn't seen before (in some cases thankfully). 

So lets get started

UBank (01). Interesting point: confronting the metaphor head on doesn't mean it's not another metaphor ad. But, it's a cool gag. 

I love the way it is shot, cast and acted. The benefit and outtake is super clear. It would really stand out in a commercial break. And it made me laugh, no mean feat for a bank ad. 

I'm not sure if I was supposed to look at the park execution – apparently it had been removed from YouTube, which only made me curious – so I found it. The image of a poodle shitting gold bars is a damn memorable one. So in the end I was really liking this campaign.

Durex (02). I'm not sure if this is an ad, an experiment or whatever. But I like it. 

It looks like an agency innovation, so hats (trousers) off to them. I hope it works well, and I hope they can take it into mass production. 

It's the kind of business/marketing crossover idea that makes this industry so interesting. It's a reminder that there is an opportunity to do something interesting for every client outside of the confines of the usual magazine or radio ads – no matter what shape or size that 'something' comes in.

Mentos (03). This ad fires at its target at point blank range, and misses. It just needs to be funnier. It might have worked better 15 years ago. 

Skittles' work from North America has set the bar pretty high for this category. This one never really got close to hitting it.

Canon Australia (04). Creating a chronicle of your life's most important times is far from a unique idea. 

What's different with this version is that it's done without humour, credibility or inventiveness. 

Great brand, great emotive territory, great product. This is a massive opportunity squandered. We would kill for this brief.

Depend (05). Underneath the poor production values, wooden acting, fabric close-up and uninspiring dialogue, there's an interesting idea desperately trying to get out: a woman who you wouldn't expect to suddenly take her clothes off, does just that. 

Shock value, surprise, product demo and a tangible benefit – some good ingredients there, but poorly served up. 

The feel test? I'll take a pass on that this time.

Nestle (06). And we finish with a metaphor – a triple metaphor in fact – very hard to do. Well done to everyone involved. 

There is so much you could say about this spot – the triple pack shot straight from the pocket, the girl/horse neigh at the end – where do we start? 

Unfortunately I've just hit my word limit.


Dave King, executive creative director & Joint CEO, M&C Saatchi Auckland

I hadn't seen most of these ads before so the last 20 minutes has been interesting. I've been asked for my honest response, so here goes.

UBank (01). This reminds me of a Crispin spot from around 10 years ago, but that doesn't stop me liking it. 

It's exactly my cup of tea and gave me a good laugh. The black guy at the end is great. 

Like any good campaign, you're left wanting to see the other executions and trying to think up some yourself.

Durex (02). I did see this one last week. I think most of us did.  And that's the smart part. They created a spot about a 'prototype' that will never ever become a commercial reality. I think. 

Yet we all watched this spot, shared it, commented on it and, I assume, liked the brand a little bit more – and possibly think of the Durex brand as innovative. 

I personally found the couple really irritating but think if Durex really wants to be seen as innovative, this would have helped.

Mentos (03). I really wanted to like this, not least because McNamara worked on it and I know he'll call me after reading this. 

I thought I was safe when I saw the still image of the strawberry hitmen which I liked, but man this ad disappointed me. 

I found it really dull and was left with an 'is that it?' kind of feeling.

Canon Australia (04). These ads are perfectly inoffensive. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them. But they don't move me in any way whatsoever or make me want to revisit the site so I can find out more about the Canon offering. 

I think the O.E. one will resonate with some mums, but the sports club one is less predictable and the fresher of the two.

Click here to see the videos.

Depend (05). On the surface this sounds like it is one of those briefs that every creative would love to sink their teeth into, filled with endless possibilities. In reality, I reckon this would be a tough task filled with no-go areas, mandatories and a whole heap of trouble. 

So I think this ad is spot on. 

I'm sure the last thing people who need these pants want is anyone knowing they need them. So this demonstrates the benefit simply and cleanly.

Nestle (06). Richard Maddox, the ex-Colenso ECD, introduced me to the term 'See Cat, Say Cat', where the headline repeats the visual. 

Well this takes that term to a whole new level. I think the creative team must have been watching the classic Val Kilmer film Top Secret when they were supposed to be working on this. 

And making the poor woman at the end do that thing with her lips is just plain mean.

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