Campaign Review: A split verdict for the latest ‘Stop It At The Start’ campaign

Mumbrella invites the industry’s leading creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: M&C Saatchi's Nick Jacobs and Archibald Williams' Matt Gilmour take on the latest iteration of the 'Stop It At The Start' campaign, AAMI bringing back the clangers for the AFL and No Ugly singing consumers to sleep.

Brand: Australian Federal Government
Unmute Yourself
Agency: BMF
The verdict: Is the added layer of messaging effective or confusing?

Nick Jacobs, head of strategy at M&C Saatchi, says:

“It’s great to see this important work on addressing domestic violence move into its third phase. As it continues to evolve it has become even more pointed in the Unmute Yourself campaign.

This work made me think about how often we criticise work when the strategy is obvious in the execution, but in this case the thinking really ‘shows’ and the work is all the better for it. The simplicity in the way this campaign takes the audience through the problem, where it exists in our lives and what to do about it is clear and brilliant.

For years this campaign has been asking Australians to stamp out domestic violence where it starts, at those micro moments which shape people’s views of themselves and others. In this iteration the viewer is given a much clearer call to action and it’s baked into the new line. For me this progresses the long term campaign from observation to action. It provides the audience the behavioural directive to ensure we speak up and share the burden of stamping out domestic violence at its roots.

The only thing that lets this campaign down is the scene where a girl receives an abusive text witnessed by her friend. Although this scene points out to girls that it’s ok to speak up when they see friends enduring this type of abuse, I would have preferred to see the person sending the text being called out by a friend. This scene, as is, may be perceived as asking women to police the actions of men.

Having said that, this one scene does not define the campaign and the behavioural ask of the audience remains clear.”

Rating: 8/10

Matt Gilmour, executive creative director at Archibald Williams, says:

“For the Federal Government to release this work on International Women’s Day, the very day when the PM showed he doesn’t really get some of the problems that women face, is ordinary timing at best. Adding to the timing problem, is the new layer of strategy they’ve added to what began as great, simple, strong work.

The original ‘Stop it at the Start’ work made sense and was well executed, but adding this ‘Unmute Yourself’ layer is confusing and unnecessary. This campaign is too splinted in its message, too passive in its ask and some might even say blind to the world around it. Perhaps because this is the third phase of this campaign it fell victim to changing for the sake of changing, when it should’ve stayed the course.”

Rating: 1/10

Brand: AAMI
Could’ve Been a Clanger
Agency: Ogilvy
The verdict: A proof point and talent mashup

Jacobs says:

“Leveraging sponsorship can be a tricky affair, as the sponsored property can easily become an awkward third wheel in the relationship between brand and consumer.

Although AAMI have avoided a total clanger in this attempt, they did so by removing some of the difficulty. In this case the consumer.

With no consumer insight this campaign ends up walking the well trodden path of proof point talent mashup. In this case the proof points and talent do mash together in a way that at least fits the product and they are clearly communicated, but it also fails to address the true needs of its customers in any meaningful way.

AAMI has built an iconic brand in a highly commoditised category over the years, but appears increasingly bound to a narrow executional style where proof points rule above all else.

I look forward to seeing AAMI get back to their best and reconnect with the challenges facing their customers and forge a more authentic role for the brand.”

Rating: 4/10

Gilmour says:

“Using brand ambassadors in commercials can be a tricky business. So often you’re left cringing on set, watching the takes get worse, smiling awkwardly, as the ambassadors’ manager is trying to drag them out to the next thing they don’t want to do. But I think AAMI have done a nice job here, the physicality of the script and the direction really helps the performances connect. I think the energy and excitement they bring to the category and the timing of campaign marries beautifully with season launch.”

Rating: 7/10

Brand: No Ugly
Agency: Innocean
The verdict: A unique product and a unique execution

Jacobs says:

“On the surface I find this campaign for No Ugly sleep, both clever and fun. The work revolves around a clear understanding of the consumer problem and the idea springs off it in an interesting and unexpected way. Yet despite the apparent correctness of the ingredients the campaign for falls fowl in a few areas.

The main problem for me is that the creative idea has decided to take all the glory and be in itself the solution to the consumer problem. In doing so the campaign has inadvertently relegated the product and left it floundering with little to solve.

The other challenging aspect for me lies within the brand name. No Ugly Sleep feels like an unexplained idea and it awkwardly hangs over the entire campaign. I can’t help but think the first campaign to launch the brand in Australia needed to build a sense of meaning for No Ugly Sleep.

Until the name and role of the product is clearly established I fear No Ugly Sleep will fail to maximise its marketing activity.”

Rating: 6/10

Gilmour says:

“What I like about this idea is that it’s different enough to get your attention. There’s a million, well maybe not a million, but there’s a lot of new niche beverages in the market at the moment and getting noticed is tough, even with such a weird name. So, using the primary benefit of the product at the heart of the idea is the best way to create its own space.

I’m guessing No Ugly will use this platform to react to cultural and news events, and I reckon that’s where it’ll become more interesting and go beyond just bouncing around in small social circles. Hearing what’s keeping ScoMo or Gladys awake could be fun or maybe it would just be scary.”

Rating: 8/10

  • 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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