Creative Focus: Underwater and underwhelmed

Creative Focus: Underwater and underwhelmed


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:

  • Lipton Ice Tea, 'Enjoy Irresponsibly', DDB Sydney
  • MLA, ‘Lambnesia’, BMF
  • Nissan, 'Patrol vs Beethoven', Whybin\TBWA
  • Berlei, 'Bounce', Host Sydney
  • Weight Watchers, BMF
  • Open Universities Australia, DDB Melbourne 

Scott Lambert, creative director, Innocean Worldwide Australia

Lipton (01). This spot ticks the “Summer style” ad boxes. Pool – tick. Party – tick. Pretty young things – tick. Ice cold beverages – tick. Music track – tick. Unfortunately though, it fails on a number of levels. The most important being that the new product range is almost lost on us at the end.

And then there are the post effects and music choice. Having said that though, this spot is definitely better than the singing, dancing, ice tea drinking, Hugh Jackman spots.

MLA (02). I can’t think of a more Australian campaign than this one. Every year for the past five or more, Sam has delivered his lamb message to the country in a language that only a true Aussie can understand. While some spots have been stronger than others, the larrikin nature, and irreverent content has never swayed.

This spot is probably one of the most provocative, and I am sure that it is not to everyone’s taste, but it sits perfectly with everything else that has come before it. Well done to every copywriter that has had the privilege of writing one of these gems.

Nissan (03). This demonstration is a nice take on the ‘tough’ meets ‘luxury’ brief, so congratulations to all involved. I just wish that Beethoven’s Mountain was at least twice as big.

Berlei (04). Every woman that I have spoken to about this spot has said the same two things. Firstly, “what’s with the make-up?”. And secondly, “they could have at least used women that had some breasts.”. While the spot has some cut through, it could have been so much more memorable for all of us if they addressed the second point.

Weight Watchers (05). The recipe for these weight loss ads has definitely been consistent. Start with a well know person (generally a female), add some good money, and watch her slowly lose a little bit of weight over a certain period of time.

Now I have only seen the launch ad for Weight Watchers, but I presume that is precisely what we will see over the coming weeks. Surely having not advertised for over a decade, and seeing what their competitor Jenny Craig has been doing, they would at least try and create something new, starting with different ingredients.

Open Universities Australia (06). This spot is not funny, the call to action is totally lost, and I am sure that it will leave the consumer confused. Like Garry, it needs a hell of a lot of help.


James Theophane, creative director, Holler

Lipton (01). Here’s a conversation I overheard the other day between two industry fellows contemplating this ad. It went something like this: Bob: “It would get people trialing it, because they’ll go ‘tea cocktails, that’s interesting’. But they’re not thinking ‘fuck, that’s a cool ad’.” Alan: “But you’d think an underwater party would have you thinking ‘fuck, that’s cool’, wouldn’t you? It looks like a good thought that’s had the idea link tested into oblivion.”

Alan may be on to something. I get the ad – there’s nothing more irresponsible than throwing a wild party anywhere near water, nevermind under it. We have a tension, we have a dramatic device, and we have a product benefit. So why did Bob find it so underwhelming? Maybe the ad just didn’t live up to what it could have been.

MLA (02). Introducing shouty angry man. His jingoistic prose, characterised by a belligerent tone calls in to question your patriotism, asking: “How Australian are you?”. Do you take notice? Do you even care? Are you tired of Shouty McShout man on TV in general?

Let’s do a little experiment. Spend two hours watching TV. Focus on the ad breaks. Take a pen and mark every time an incarnation of Shouty McShout man features. You’ve run out of ink right? Are Australians tired of the shout ad? Not if the ad breaks are anything to go by. The spirit of Singleton lives on.

Nissan (03). Ok, so there’s a car on the precipice of a molehill waiting to take it on. I see where this is going. Just another category ad of a 4×4 accessing the rugged terrain. Wait. They made the terrain out of the music-arc-thingy from a Beethoven track. Now that’s clever. A great example of the classic two-in-one ‘substitution’ technique. By fusing two normally incompatible components, the creative achieves the essence of wit – both recognition and surprise.

Berlei (04). How refreshing. It’s good to see the creative side-stepping the all-too-obvious Michael Bay school of direction: PHWOAR! Look at the women. PHWOAR! Tits. Instead they chose a great track to drive a classy product benefit communication. You only need to see the ad once to understand exactly what the product does.

Weight Watchers (05). At 0:18 seconds there’s a tight shot of a child using a cookie cutter and handing her mum a biscuit. And that’s what we have here. The same ad we’ve had for the past 30 years, The Testimonial, I used to be fat. Now I’m using WW. Now I’m getting results. I doubt the agency had much wriggle-room on this. Thanks for the biscuit Weight Watchers. Can I have the same dough in a different shape next time?

Open Universities Australia (06). Awkward, cringe-worthy, deadpan comedy is notoriously difficult to pull off. The writers of The Office are said to ask themselves the same question every time they write an episode: what is funny? The creative here is a little too silly to be cringe-worthingly funny.

It does, however, channel the enthusiastic little ginger guy that lives in all of us. The socially awkward one who desperately tries to gee us on in moments of doubt. The one who’s completely out of his depth.

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