Campaign Review: 13cabs misses, Optus’ insincere ad and brilliant Deadly Questions’ campaign

Mumbrella invites the industry’s most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Stu Turner, executive creative director at DDB Group Melbourne and Spark 44's creative director Matt Johnson offer their views on Optus' ad which appeals to no one, Amazon's likeable ads, Aboriginal Victoria's brilliantly honest campaign and 13cabs' missed opportunity.

Brand: 13cabs
Agency: Thinkerbell
The Verdict: A much needed rebrand but a missed opportunity

Stu Turner, executive creative director at DDB Group Melbourne, says:

Turner says 13cabs should focus on what you’re actually giving people

“I think the rebrand is obviously needed and it seems from this that it’s headed in the right direction (pun intended). I like all the talk of creating a better user experience, but surprising to me is the strategy of taking an emotional approach and featuring the people of the company. I use cabs a lot and maybe I’m just dead inside, but I don’t really care about the drivers enough for it to be one of the things I base my taxi decisions on.

“What I’m looking for is something quick, cheap and reliable, with a generally consistent user experience inside the vehicles, and I’m sure most people are the same. This is something Uber seems to get right 80% of the time (the odd smelly car and annoying driver still happens). I get that people are at the ‘heartland of your brand’. Yes, that’s different to Uber’s very negative press around their people, but it’s not enough to make me choose you.

“Perhaps it’s still to come in further communications, but I’m more interested in the new app and its features, the refreshed vehicles, and what you’re doing to make sure ordering a cab is not always a gamble.

“Focus on what you’re actually giving the people who use your service and what makes that a better option than your competitors. ‘We’ll get you there’ I like. Just show me how please.”

Matt Johnson, creative director at Spark44, says:

Johnson says the tagline is a missed opportunity

“One of the most challenging jobs we get is to revitalise a longstanding brand that’s been knocked off its comfortable perch by a disruptive challenger. 13cabs getting broadsided by the agile and innovative ride-sharing platforms is no exception. The question I would have asked is, do we need to try and play with the cool kids and risk not looking cool at all? Or do we move forward a little bit and be more approachable and human than the online-based competition?

“It appears 13cabs have gone for the latter, they haven’t made a seismic shift but have made themselves seem more approachable. Curiously they’ve kept the ‘we’ll get you there’ tagline; I think maintaining it is a missed opportunity. They could have highlighted an emotional benefit, paying off the nice stories in the films. As a technique, I liked the CGI stories in the middle of the films; it’s an interesting way to embellish the story told by the 13cabs staff members.

“At a closer look, the character design reminded me of old diecast toy figurines that my grandparents had in a box when we were kids. Is this provoking a sense of nostalgia about an old friend or is it hanging on to the times of old?”

Brand: Amazon
Agency: TBWA
The Verdict: Likeable ads with a humorous approach that has been over simplified

Turner says:

“After so much talk of Amazon’s big arrival into Australia I was expecting some epic, anthemic monster film to launch the brand. So, at first I was surprised to see these much smaller, more humorous spots come out. But, they work and they are very likeable. I get what they are saying in terms of their range, and the A-Z positioning is strong.

“It’s done in an entertaining way. And I laughed. What more could you ask for? I hope they deliver results, and that Amazon continues this fun tone with future campaigns. Nice work everyone.”

Johnson says:

“I like where this campaign is going, it’s super simple, and the scenarios are humorously human. As long as the truths are rich and emotional, it would be ‘easy az’ (sorry had too) to write many different iterations giving the campaign plenty of mileage.

“However, when it’s translated into OOH, it loses the setup/payoff gag which is a strength of films, so the oversimplification in this channel lets the campaign down. As a father of two younglings, these first films struck a chord. Keep them human, keep them coming.”

Brand: Deadly Questions
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
The Verdict: Brilliant simple, honest and refreshing

Deadly Questions features questions non-Aboriginals are able to ask the Aboriginal community free of judgment

Turner says:

“I love this work. As someone who has only just recently become an Australian, I find myself constantly walking on eggshells with the issues raised here, simply because I just don’t know the answers. So to be given a safe forum in which to be honest and open with my questions, however ignorant, is just brilliant. Making it a website where we can have these discussions is a simple and probably the fastest way to get people talking.

“In this time of extreme political correctness and paranoia about saying the wrong thing about just about anything, this is a beautifully honest and truly refreshing idea that just lets me exhale and get to the bottom of something without the worry.

“It’s a perfect execution for the strategy behind the idea, well produced and considered for both sides of the issues. Well done Clems.”

Johnson says:

“Sadly, in our community, we don’t all have the privilege to talk one-on-one with a member of our First Nations people. I think the Deadly Questions website is a fantastic initiative. There are many questions still unanswered, and this site gives anyone the opportunity to be involved in this important conversation.

“However, I think the user experience is problematic because there was no way for me to log in and review my questions, only by saving the link to bookmarks. With many questions to ask it feels like a convoluted way of keeping track of them all. That said, it’s a great way of learning about our Indigenous people, but with the OOH getting blocked there will be fewer ways for people to find out about it. Shame.”

Brand: Optus
Agency: 72andSunny
The Verdict: Poorly produced and insincere, standing out for the wrong reasons

Turner says:

“I’m sorry, but as huge sports fan I can’t for one second identify with this. It’s poorly produced and not genuine at all. The acting is forced and over the top. I don’t think it captures any of the real feelings that go with being a true fan. It feels like a classic case of trying to appeal to everyone and thus, appealing to no one.

“I don’t blame the agency though. You can smell that this was done quickly and cheaply. Surely for a world cup ad you throw some decent money behind it, give some good time to craft and make sure it feels real on screen? Of all the FIFA World Cup ads on at the moment, this stands out the most. But for all the wrong reasons.”

Johnson says:

“Capturing the real and raw emotion of watching an edge-of-your-seat sports game, without filming it while the game is playing live, is near impossible. This challenge is evident in the Optus FIFA world cup film. These reactions to whatever the talent are watching feel unauthentic and overacted.

“There’s a truth that the more animated of us yell at the TV when we are getting fired about a game, but when all these staged reactions are cut together, I don’t think it draws out the genuine emotion the viewer is meant to feel when watching a match via an Optus live stream. It’s unfortunate for Optus that the delivery of this service wasn’t what’s expected, maybe the yelling at the screen was for another reason altogether.”

  • As told to Abigail Dawson. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email abigail@mumbrella.com.au

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