Creative Focus: Prepare for the best and worst

Creative Focus: Prepare for the best and worst

Every week two creative types from different agencies put pen to paper and share their thoughts on six campaigns. This week Ikea, Sky TV, Kia, BT, Victorian Government and a Liberal Party spot are up for review.


Matt Kemsley, founder and creative director, JMK

If my family is anything to go by, then the issue that TV advertisers face is that when we’re watching telly, we’re not watching telly. We’re watching our iPads, smartphones and gaming devices.

Now we advertising luvvies scrutinise every frame of our commercials, debate every nuance, craft every second, because to us they’re the most important things on earth, which is fine, as long as we all remember that no one else gives a shit.

So which of this week’s selection is most likely to make people ‘give a shit’?

Ikea (01).  I think the Ikea commercial could, with its simple, quirky Euro style and catchy music. People and pets in matching wardrobes is a tad contrived for me, but I like the line ‘2013: The Year of Yes’ and the nodding is nicely understated.

I’m sure there’s lots of cool digitalia to back it up. And during an evening of typical shouty Australian retail rubbish, it will stand out like a quirky Euro dog’s testicle.

Victorian Government (02). Next is something we all give a shit about. Keeping people safe in bush fires. It’s a game that encourages kids to list the items they would want to save, should they ever be in a bush fire. This list becomes a cartoon character, which they send to their parents, which helps encourage them to make a plan. I think it’s clever. I hope they never need it to work.

Sky TV (03). I’ve just been in Auckland and saw this ad a lot. It’s a nice simple idea. No worthy green message, just the thought that the chief protagonist, Lloyd, may well have licked your bill envelope. Which is a gross but smart idea that would have got me to sit up, take notice and switch to online billing, if I hadn’t already done so.

Kia (04). When I received all the work to critique from B&T, they said not to review the KIA spoof film, which at that point I hadn’t seen. So I watched the Kia TVCs and immediately assumed they were both spoofs because in the words of John McEnroe ‘you cannot be serious’.

Surely the era of brand commercials featuring people walking down the street spouting philosophy has had its day. Unless you can do it better than Ray Gardner or Samuel L Jackson, then please don’t do it. However, the genuine spoof (if there is such a thing) is funny.

BT (05). I like the thought ‘prepare for the best’, I think it’s a really big idea. My problem is that until I read the press release I didn’t really understand what was going on in this ad. I watched it a few times and I’ve seen it on the telly and it went straight over my head.

And you won’t get much more target market than me, because this really is a subject I should give a shit about. I’d expect more from the cast and crew involved.

Liberal Party (06). Julia has called a snap September election and in response the Liberal’s have created a plan. They’ve called it ‘Our Plan’, but in reality it’s their plan. Now ‘Our Plan’ (their plan) really must be quite a plan, because ‘Our Plan’ (their plan) will solve all the problems that the country faces. That’s an impressive plan.

The opposition probably have this in the bag, but one problem they could face is that because Abbott is such a polarising figure, especially with women, they may need to consider reshooting the commercial with Malcolm Turnbull. As long as he’s wearing glasses. Not speedos.


Phil Nobay, creative head, Pusher

One of modern day marketing’s founding fathers, David Ogilvy, once noted that ‘Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them’. If that’s the case, what do this month’s entries say about the current state of the nation?

Ikea (01). “We’re confident”. Apparently, this is the ‘Year of Yes’. That’s what Ikea’s positive pug, Humphrey, reckons anyway. The horrors of the global meltdown are behind us and it’s time to celebrate with some tasteful Scandinavian furnishings. When I saw Humphrey’s little head bobbing up and down to the music, I found myself nodding back in unison. So that’s a ‘yes’ from me.

Victorian Government (02). “We’re considerate”. Following the horrors of Black Saturday, The Victorian Government wanted to educate children about the dangers of bush fires. But how do you land such a heavy message on a young mind? They spoke to them on their terms, online.

This interactive site challenges kids to choose the five things they’d most want to keep safe from a fire. Once the list is complete, they scrunch it up, transform it into a colourful character and email it to their parents. That way, everyone gets the message. Brilliant.

To play the game click here. 

Sky TV (03). “We have a sense of humour”. When Sky TV wanted to promote online billing over posted bills, they could have told us it’s more convenient, efficient or environmentally friendly. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, they introduced Lloyd, their backroom bill licker. It turns out Lloyd loves his job so much, he multitasks envelope licking with swigging the morning coffee and munching his lunchtime boiled egg. That seals it for me – I’m going electronic.

To see the ad click here.

Kia (04). “We’re open-minded”. Ford and Holden’s grip on the Australian car market is long gone. Personal finances have beaten national pride hands down. That’s what this spot from Kia is here to tell us. Man of Now is sophisticated and well-travelled. Oh, and he drives a Kia. Coincidentally, I just glanced at the TV to see an identical silver Kia pull up in a serious bit of product placement on Nine’s spy series, Nikita. Seems international espionage Woman of Now buys Korean too.

BT (05). “We’re taking control”. In the GFC, plenty of people lost the shirt off their back. And most of them didn’t know how or why. It gave us all a wake-up call to take a more active role in our investments. So I guess BT’s new campaign line ‘Prepare for the best’ is bang on the money.

The creative challenge, as ever in financial services, is executing the campaign in a way that’s unique, rather than simply reinforcing the category.

Liberal Party (06). “We’re becoming nicer”. It’s always strangely ironic that the people we entrust to guide our nation behave so downright unpleasantly around election time. Mud flicking and scaremongering have always been the hallmarks of a modern political campaign.

Well, that’s about to change, thanks to a positive campaign from the Liberal Party. For the first time in a long time, the campaign message is about ‘Real solutions for all Australians’. So what’s the big plan? Well, apparently it includes lower taxes, stronger borders and greater support for mining. Hang on, aren’t they all the issues that Liberals used to knock Labor about? Oh, well.

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