Creative Focus: It's a jungle out there

Creative Focus: It's a jungle out there

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


Up for review this week:

  • Mars Pods, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
  • Eskander Betstar, 'Jack Russel', Whybin\TBWA Group Melbourne
  • IFAW, 'I Found A Way', Cabana Boys
  • St George Bank, 'Start Something', Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Coca-Cola, 'Small World Machines', Leo Burnett Sydney
  • HSBC, 'Legendary Journey', JWT London

Steve Harrington, design director, Hulsbosch

This is a mixed bag of campaigns. It's interesting as a creative to view each as a consumer. Each have their merits. Some grabbed me more than others.

Pods (01). I'm not making the connection between the creative execution and the product.  

I like the look of the ad and the intention to make it typically Australian is clear. Does it make me want to buy Pods? Possibly. This spot feels like it could be part of a story and I'm left wanting that narrative to continue.

Betstar (02). This ad did a great job of reminding me of the quintessentially Australian style of ad hoc sports commentating that ruled in the '70s and '80s – remember Rex Mossop, Roy and HG. These are the harmless personalities that added character to the sports arena before gambling's seedy hunger took centre stage (be ashamed Tom Waterhouse). 

This spot might do better at talking to the $2 odds market than winning over new players, but it does a brilliant job of making the betting world an accessible one. Does it tell us what Betstar is all about? Not really, but it builds a story with humour in a way that will get the punters talking.

IFAW (03). Ho hum. Perhaps taking this well-trodden route of applying hard-hitting images of distressed animals and an uncomplicated script was intended, but this campaign fails to hit the spot. 

For me, this ad has no real cut through and the call to action is not strong enough. But undoubtedly heartstrings will be pulled and brand awareness will be heightened with the use of the mnemonic. Just a tad too predictable for the category.

St George Bank (04). The first thing that struck me was how similar this campaign felt to the Kid President videos out of the US. This was a distraction. But the power of using a kid, dressed in a dragon costume, became its strongest point. 

There's a realness of emotion to these St George ads that most other bank campaigns lack. Kids have dreams they want to have come true and we want these for them as parents. These two experiences are tied closely together here. 

It feels like the communications strategy and the creative strategy marry seamlessly.

Coca-Cola (05). This is a stunning promotion. As consumers, we struggle to reconcile the commercial objectives of global brands. 

This is brand activation at its best. It uses the power of human connection and understanding across boundaries to create hundreds of moments of happiness. At the end you are convinced that Coke might actually care afterall. Very clever.

HSBC (06). Short, sharp and impactful. Not bad for a bunch of footballers on a ship. 

HSBC should be very happy sponsors indeed. Not to mention that the British and Irish Lions will never forget their visit Down Under.


Dave Lidster, head of art, The Hallway

There's definitely a theme to this week's selection of ads – crocodiles, stuffed dogs, distressed animals, dragons, lions and Coke. The stand out is the stand out.

Mars (01). A crocodile feeder that has a fear of trying new things is a funny notion. Maybe we as a nation have a fear of trying new things also. It seems we all too often drag out the same national clich√©s. I'm personally bored of the Steve Irwin one. 

Pods are only made for the Australian market, yet this spot for me feels like I'm watching the American spot for Pods made 'Down Under'.

Betstar (02). Make the betting company look like it really hasn't got a clue is an interesting strategy to attract punters who think they do. 

It's a crowded market and this horse hasn't got enough recall to try this type of creative without getting the branding spot on. 

IFAW (03). The animal welfare charity spot featuring the Chrissie Hynde track I'll Stand By You from years ago was a belter, but made one crucial error. They put animals at the centre of the ad. Silly them, no one knew what to do. 

This charity corrects this and cleverly realises to get people to act, they need to be the ones responsible for change, otherwise what's in it for them? This spot dutifully brings this to life in a very predictable way.

St George Bank (04). The casting is fascinating. Polarising even, but it works. It would be a travesty if 'there's a little dragon in all of us' isn't taken to its creative mongrel limits, such is the potential. 

The more bank-like 'start something' is finally fresh territory for the brand, but doesn't feel it has any stretch at the first sign of real bad economic news from the Federal Treasurer. Maybe they know something we don't.

Coca-Cola (05). The real winner here isn't Coke. Or India and Pakistan relations. It's everyone in the advertising industry. 

Just when we thought we were about flogging as many cans of fizzy brown sugar water as possible, this makes me think I can delay my application to the UN Peace Corps. Now I know I'm better served here at my desk, drinking soy lattes with Photoshop as my gun. It's a noble idea that takes 'Share a Coke' to new levels. They will have to make a case study film of this case study film for Cannes. It will be a magnet for metal.

HSBC (06). Imagine if the Coen brothers had directed this. After No Country For Old Men. We'd have True Grit, scurvy and a bowl of gruel. The only thing missing is Johnny Depp in a rugby pirate costume. It's a perfectly ok global idea. It just needs throwing back into the scrum to harden up. This is the Lions, not Clive Palmer's Titanic II being towed into Sydney Harbour.

This edition of Creative Focus first appeared in the June 7 issue of B&T Magazine.

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