Campaign Review: A split verdict on NRMA’s First Saturday, but did AAMI do any better?

It's insurer vs insurer and a bit of humour on the side in this week's Campaign Review, in which R/GA's Jon Holloway and Mercerbell's Vaughan Townsend offer their views on what AAMI says it Does and Doesn't, whether NRMA is making homes safer on the first Saturday of the month, and Bonds discussing comfortable underwear for all in the locker room.

Brand: NRMA Insurance
First Saturday
Agency: CHE Proximity
The verdict: Tested by effectiveness

Jon Holloway, executive strategy director at R/GA, says:

I really wanted to love this, really wanted to. But I don’t.

The work that NRMA has done in the ‘Help’ space has been highly emotive and really captures the attention. This does the same, it’s emotive and makes you feel something.

But… I struggle with the insight and the connection to the ad. I struggle with the pay off for First Saturday, not sure that spending 99% of the ad on the problem is the best way to execute this idea as you don’t know what the idea is.

There is no doubt this campaign was developed to do something good, and to help. There is no doubt it’s a beautiful execution (video). There is no doubt it made me feel something.

But I was left just being confused. Reading the press release helps to tie it all together, but that’s not reality and that’s not where it will be seen.

It will look to the average Australian as another ad in the ‘Help’ series, which is fine as a brand platform, but not sure the idea lands or the pay-off online is actually helpful. The campaign lacks tangible elements, it would make sense to start with the output, the systematic work and then let the story flow from that. Here, we have 99% advert, 1% helpful. While you can imagine that Earth Hour would have been a reference to sell the idea, this is no Earth Hour.

Rating: 6/10

Vaughan Townsend, executive creative director at MercerBell, says:

It’s a compelling argument to convince people to do their bit to prevent bushfires. The idea is ‘First Saturday’, and it’s all about taking personal responsibility by performing dedicated fire-prevention tasks on the first Saturday of every month. So, it’s less a traditional ad, and more an organising platform idea. Which is a big tick (and props) given the current state of affairs. More than that, it’s a demonstration of how brand awareness can dovetail with activation and direct, to provide real utility in people’s lives. It’s a modern thought that’s shaped according to customers’ needs. Beautifully crafted and expertly told using every medium to best effect.

Hopefully the idea will live on in the same way ‘Small Saturdays’ has done for AMEX. And that’s my only niggle – it’s another brand trying to own a day of the week. But it’s a small price to pay if it saves lives and livelihoods this summer. Which I sincerely hope it will. Hats off.

Rating: 9/10

Brand: AAMI
Agency: Ogilvy Melbourne
The verdict: The execution falls short on the idea

Holloway says: 

It’s really hard to sell insurance, the underlying products are 99% the same. The industry is quite good at taking things that should be table stakes and trying to make them into differentiators.

But.. Insurance is extremely price driven and switching is either not something you do, or just what you do. The whole country reverts to aggregators to get the best deal. AAMI is priced at a premium, so building a recognisable brand and making sure people choose it at the time of purchase is the key. More like FMCG than many other financial markets. Top of mind availability.

‘Does’ is an interesting strategic platform, but it does fall down in execution in my opinion. This is nothing more than a feature ad wrapped in something salient. The execution is a well trodden trope, it’s nice, but ignorable. Sorry Keith. Too much going on and ultimately confusing given the actual focus a viewer would put into it.

The idea of ‘does’ doesn’t really work without the ‘others don’t’ wrap, which makes it a little laborious. Would be great if insurers would actually get creative with the product and let the story follow that, but it’s hard in such a bland industry.

Rating: 4/10

Townsend says:

Next on the list is an ad for AAMI, featuring a hapless character named Keith who is stalked through his daily life by overly attentive AAMI reps. ‘Some do and some don’t’, is broadly the theme of the ad. And unfortunately, this one doesn’t, for me anyway. The best work, in my honest opinion, meets customers with relevant and useful content in their daily lives. And these days, that’s more often than not in their homes.

This execution feels a little heavy-handed and also perhaps suffers from the planning cardinal sin of the briefs clearly showing (Bonds, perhaps?). It’s brand as paternalistic protector, which doesn’t quite chime with the current zeitgeist. This could perhaps be better activated in social and direct channels where the proof points can be demonstrated in a more nuanced and believable way? Sorry Keith.

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Bonds
Turtlenecks vs Crewnecks
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
The verdict: ‘A dick joke wrapped in great production’

Holloway says: 

From balls to dick jokes. Let’s start at the core: This is funny, it’s a very smartly executed dick joke. When we talk as an industry about the formula for virality, that X factor, this has it in layers. Take note.

Beautifully shot, great cast, great script. Hats off to the team on creating something I actually wanted to watch and share. It’s rare.

It’s hard to do underwear ads and to grow underwear brands, it’s a sea of vanilla, especially the way that men approach fashion buying. Be interested to know how many men actually buy their own underwear, as this might not work for those who revert to their partners.

No real insight on show here, just a dick joke wrapped in great production, which cuts through vanilla and allows some mental availability for the brand. They haven’t beaten their own benchmark with balls, but we need more of this in our world.

Rating: 8/10

Townsend says: 

I’ll kick off my first creative review Down Under with an ad that debates the dubious merits of male underwear. This tongue-in-cheek spot explores the virtues of ‘crew’ vs ‘turtlenecks’ when it comes to comfort… erm, down there.

A sensitive subject brought to life in a stereotypically male locker room environment. The ‘bantz’ is thankfully delicately handled and the spot is undeniably humorous and engaging. But I was left asking myself the question why, after 40 odd years, had I never given this particular topic a second thought? Will it make me consider Bonds? Perhaps. Will I ever be inspired to have a group chinwag on the topic? Probably not. Would it be better if it was a big purpose-driven platform idea? Given the topic, it possibly doesn’t need one. So, it’s a thumbs up from this crew/turtleneck wearer. I’m not revealing which.

Rating: 7/10

  • 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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