Campaign Review: A perfect 10/10 for Aldi, and disagreement over Australia Post’s ‘Dear Australia’

Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Facebook's Steve Coll and BWM Dentsu's Jamie Mackay offer their views on Australia Post's letter to Australia, Aldi bringing COVID-humour to advertising, and Drink Wise comparing isolation to feeling 'benched'.

Brand: Australia Post
Campaign: Dear Australia
Agency: The Monkeys
The verdict: Will the call to send letters really work?

Steve Coll, head of Facebook Creative Shop, says: 

“I’m always torn with how to approach reviews like this. Do you pour over the work in every detail? Or imagine yourself as a typical viewer in the ad break – distracted and disinterested, remote control poised in one hand, while simultaneously checking a mobile screen in the other? After all, as Mark Ritson often observes, the amount of care exercised in making ads is in direct opposition to the ambivalence of the audience.

Perhaps let’s keep both in mind as we start with Australia Post. An ad that starts ‘Dear Australia’ suggests capturing our individual lock-down experiences in a written letter. It’s a novel suggestion – perhaps an extraordinary action for extraordinary times. This is the appeal. Letter writing in this way seems a charming notion. It taps into our current desire for nostalgia, and will appeal particularly to the amateur sourdough-baking and pasta-making brigade.

But, while tapping individual sentiments, this ad is also leaning on our craving for community. Viewing socially distanced neighbourhoods through the eyes of the ‘postie’ is a smart execution. It re-enforces Australia Post as a unifying presence at a moment when a sense of togetherness is one of our foremost desires. The opening ‘Dear Australia…’ should help with brand recall, as will the familiar postie uniform at the end. This larger project may even create some evocative and emotional content for Australia Post.

An observation – it would be a shame for this to resolve with potentially valuable content buried on the Australia Post website or in a museum, as suggested in the release. I imagine the audience are infrequent visitors to either. It feels like more use could be made of it.”

Rating: 7/10

Jamie Mackay, founding partner and chief strategy officer of BWM Dentsu, says: 

“Like much of the COVID-related work, I really struggle to understand the objective of this campaign. Is it aiming to build emotional differentiation around the brand? Or is it actually trying to remind and engage younger audiences of the benefit of physical letter writing and posting in order to increase future letter volume?

Either way, I feel both the tone and message of the work and the archival nature of the user-generated content has the reverse effect by reinforcing the irrelevance of letters and therefore casting a negative halo on the Australia Post brand.

A much more effective marketing investment in these times would have been to focus on the excellent parcel business no doubt already going ballistic over the past few months and the perfect modern emotional and functional message for the brand.

By the way, the terms ‘post’ and ‘office’ are disrupted forever so why not rebrand fully with the acronym ‘AP’?”

Rating: 4/10

Brand: Aldi
Campaign: Precedented Prices
Agency: BMF
The verdict: ‘A smart, cultural observation’

Coll says:

“It’s an unashamed case of ‘logo up front’, as we watch a woman carry her Aldi shopping bags across a desolate park. And for good reason. Aldi has made entertaining advertising an impressively consistent a trait of its brand, and the audience will see the logo and know there’s a laugh coming. The ad doesn’t disappoint.

While rivals like Coles are enjoying a positive lift for their considered handling of the COVID crisis, Aldi is playing to its own strengths here. ‘Precedented Prices’ cleverly continues Aldi’s familiar drumbeat of consistently remarkable value, while lampooning the solemn ‘unprecedented’ proclamations of many big brands. It’s a smart, cultural observation, and one that suits Aldi’s positioning.

Also, having a go at the media’s unbridled enthusiasm for all things COVID (there was a point at the peak where I felt one news anchor was struggling to conceal his glee as he reported rising stats) will resonate. Great performances, well shot, and nicely scripted. Another good ad for the Aldi collection.”

Rating: 8/10

Mackay says:

“I love that the Aldi client and BMF never lose the discipline of respecting an Organising Idea, even in the day-in day-out retail battle for attention and footfall. Everything they do from tactical, brand, digital and in-store drives home the simple core message about the great prices and own brands at ALDI, simply and eloquently stated as ‘Good, Different’.

With any other retailer this could be boring and relentless (eg. Down, Down) but because this client clearly respects and trusts their agency, great creative craft makes the work engaging and distinctive every time.

This spot could have fallen into COVID ‘We’re here to help’ wasteland but instead it’s a little ray of WFH joy that is relevant to the cultural moment whilst still adding to the long-term, consistent brand bank.

Seventeen years of success, soaring business results, heaps of brand love and a swag of Effies. Just goes to show in 2020 quality creative communications, together with long-term disciplined brand building, has never been more relevant.”

Rating: 10/10

Brand: Drink Wise
Campaign: Benched
Agency: Enthral
The verdict: An uncomplicated approach that might miss the mark

Coll says:

“Next is a Drink Wise ad with all the nuance of hoofing the footy to the big man up front. That’s not a criticism, as I think the uncomplicated approach works well here.

There’s a neat connection in this ad between being benched as a footy player and social distancing. Fans will easily relate to the frustration, self-doubt and loneliness experienced by a star player on the fringes of the game. And for many, it should be an easy leap from here into their own COVID experience.

The execution of this ad is also simplicity itself, featuring a ‘to-camera’ delivery by two highly recognisable footy stars, Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley. Cotchin will no doubt grab the attention of the target audience quickly, and his delivery feels surprisingly unscripted – authentic even. The viewer is held by the introduction of Buckley, forming the unlikely partnership with Cotchin, united as a team to deliver an important message.

This is a well-executed, deliberately uncomplicated piece of advertising, and the tone is spot on, with not a hint of scolding in the message.”

Rating: 7.5/10

Mackay says:

“Given the importance of this topic, particularly in lockdown, I’m disappointed the client didn’t go beyond a few AFL ambassadors to educate and heighten awareness for all Australians around the dangers of unwise alcohol consumption.

For me, the strong AFL associations and fame of Nathan Buckley and Trent Cotchin delivering the ‘on the bench’ metaphor overshadows and distracts from the core essential message ‘Don’t let your drinking get out of hand in lockdown.’

The failure of Drink Wise to create distinctive brand or communication assets over time restricts the campaigns to a series of one-offs. I’m almost certain this would negatively impact attribution scores, requiring an over-investment in media weights and frequency.

Surely the most important and relevant message when families are spending so much more time together is around domestic violence and child imitated drinking behaviour? It would seem this opportunity has been lost in opting for a broader message around ‘staying fit and healthy’.

There is so much deeper emotional insight on the Drink Wise website and credible spokespeople.”

Rating: 5/10

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

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