Creative Focus: Drunk and old-fashioned

Creative Focus: Drunk and old-fashioned

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

Ads up for review this week:

  • Just Right, 'Master of Understatement', by JWT Sydney
  • Evocca College by Engine
  • Yellowglen, 'The house of sparkling', by The Monkeys
  • Coke Zero, 'Just add Coke Zero', by Host, Maverick and Naked Communications
  • Rebel, 'Be united', by BD Network
  • Wattyl, 'The Familyfier', by Draftfcb


Paul Dunne, creative director, M&C Saatchi

Let’s face it. If you’re reading this, there’s a 98% chance you have some personal stake in the work I’m about to critique. So whatever I say, I’d better be prepared to back it up in a drunken conversation with you at the next industry get together.

With that in mind, I’ve chosen to write this while actually drunk. So here we go.

Just Right (01). What ever happened to “Not too heavy, not too light” as a positioning? Remember how the box would get knocked over and then magically pop back up in a demonstration of perfect balance? Now that was advertising. And frankly, I’d expect more from the people who also brought us “Tall Jan is malicious” for All Bran. So I guess what I’m really trying to say is I find this effort, well, a bit disappointing. And you can take that as another great Aussie understatement.

Evocca College (02). I love cinema advertising. It’s what TV used to be when we all paid attention. And there’s nothing like those few seconds of silence that follow your cinema ad where you get a live and uncensored response to your work from absent from the idea. But to hell with all that. We’ve got a bunch of famous players from the various codes, playing a hybrid game. It’s black and white, over-cranked, and with a thumping soundtrack. The punters (or poor people as I like to call them) will love it.

Yellowglen (03). Maybe I’m just in the mood but I love this. A brilliant positioning, with a beautifully crafted execution. Nice work guys. Great to see something intelligent, classy and all about flogging grog. I might even go online later to (as the PR blurb states) “rediscover the brand through imaginative experiences.” Whatever the hell that means.

Coke Zero (04). Speaking of PR blurbs, apparently the ambition here was to “defeat the idea that zero means nothing”. Move over Sir Isaac Newton, here comes the Coke Zero team. And don’t bother with any of the cerebral claptrap – a beach party in Buenos Aires is just the answer. Or maybe not. But behind this rather generic execution lurk a wonderful idea and line that may one day (or in another channel) live up to their true potential. On a more positive note, I’m sure it will do extremely well on brand tracking thanks to that handy graphic device. But on all other measures, this Zero TV ad still means zilch to me.

Rebel (05). The recent positioning work seems  absent from the idea. But to hell with all that. We’ve got a bunch of famous players from the various codes, playing a hybrid game. It’s black and white, over-cranked, and with a thumping soundtrack. The punters (or poor people as I like to call them) will love it.

Wattyl (06). Shooting a series of TV ads all at once to launch a new positioning of a brand is a daunting experience for everyone involved. You’re gambling a lot of money and exposure on getting it all right, first time. The smallest problem with casting, tone, or even the weather is exacerbated across an entire series. But I reckon these guys have done a great job. Sure, some of the executions are better than others, but by and large the gamble has paid off.

So, I love you and you and you, and I reckon you’re awesome. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the bar.


Mat Garbutt, copywriter, Fenton Stephens

I’ve been a copywriter for a tick over 20 years. When I got interested in the industry, I rushed out and bought a copy of Ogilvy on Advertising. I’ve only had a mobile phone for about four years. I like cryptic crosswords and I still find puns funny. My children roll their eyes at me a lot. Understand all that when you read the following.

Just Right (01). The expression “just right” is not an understatement—it’s actually a prissy way of saying “it’s absolutely, positively perfect”. If my arm was hanging off and I manfully grunted, “It’s just a scratch,” that would, of course, be understatement. On the other hand, my grandmother saying, “I finally got my crocheted quilt cover just right,” is genteelly veiled geriatric chest beating. So for me—being painfully logical and literal—this just doesn’t work. But I’m going to blame a planner here, who probably talked in the brief about uncovering an “earth-shattering cultural truth about the Australian internal narrative”.

Evocca College (02). I understood this ad like I understand video games. But given who it’s aimed at, my cluelessness is probably the greatest compliment I can pay it.

Yellowglen (03). Wow! What a Luhrmann-esque visual feast. It makes me want to let fly with words like “sumptuous” and “fabulous”. And I guess those are two pretty good words to associate with champagne, a product that exists solely to inject a little fabulousness into otherwise ordinary lives. So on that front, it’s a filmic triumph. My only gripe is that there’s no tie-in with the product, so it expects punters to go somewhere else to continue the “relationship”. I know I wouldn’t…then again, I’m a Luddite.

Coke Zero (04). I actually really like what they’ve done with the zero here—literally made something out of nothing. And if the purpose of this type of ad is to make people look at it and think, “I wish I was that guy/girl,” then I guess it hits the mark. Personally, I’ve never seen a horde of attractive young folks cavort quite so carnally when their only fuel is a diet soft drink. But maybe I’m just going to the wrong parties.

Rebel (05). This is an ad for a retail chain whose shopping mall neighbors are more than likely a Pretzel World and a Jay Jays. Bearing that in mind, this is a kick-ass TV spot with much, much better production values than I’d expect of the category. And while moody black and white shots of sporting deities set to a pulsating rock track have been done to death, I suspect it’s because they continue to work.

Wattyl (06). In the spirit of transparency, I was until quite recently at DraftFCB, but I’ll try not to let that colour my review too much. First off the line: Wattyl family-fy your home? I like it. Working the product name into a strapline always works for me, but as I’ve already said, I do have an old-fashioned affection for word play. The talent are good, although the know-it-all dad (Geoff Morrell) does seem to have cropped up in a few spots recently (and Home and Away). Bottom line, if I was a clueless young family-type taking my first toddling DIY steps, I think I’d find these spots reassuringly real.

To see the ad click here.

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