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Campaign Review: AAMI, Asics, and Toyota compete in Olympic special

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week: a special edition of Campaign Review sees 303 MullenLowe's John Linton and The Hallway's Simon Lee compare the Olympic campaigns from AAMI, Asics, and Toyota.

Brand: AAMI

Campaign:Cover for the everyday arena

Agency: Ogilvy Melbourne

The verdict: Silver medal

John Linton, head of planning at 303 MullenLowe Perth, says:

Ah… the Olympics. Who doesn’t love the great 4/5-yearly tradition of becoming emotionally invested in Laser Sailing and chastising 19-year-olds for losing half a second between their 100m heat and the final.

While watching this smorgasbord of sporting achievement, the other thing that stood out to me was this ad. And, given the wall-to-wall sponsor messaging that’s a big tick to the creative agency for getting my attention.

Between the absurdity of ‘Keith’s’ dilemma and the triumphant soundtrack, it’s just enough to deliver a wry smile while I wait for Hamish McLachlan to return to my screen. It’s a sound evolution of the existing ‘AAMI Does’ platform and is packed with enough of the brand’s codes to ensure post-campaign brand metrics are strong. However, if as per the press release this campaign was supposed to communicate AAMI’s superior cover… that’s not coming through in any meaningful way.

Rating: 6/10

Simon Lee, executive creative director and partner at The Hallway, says:

When I saw this spot on TV, I did have a chuckle at the Aussie backyard barbecue answer to the olympic torch. The burning sausage on the end of a fork is a funny, memorable motif that has good creative legs. I don’t feel this spot really does it justice though.

I’d have loved to have seen a more single minded execution that develops the idea of the “Olympic” burning sausage relay further. And what’s going on with the voiceover copy? “Not all the action happens at the stadium, eh Keith. Luckily when accidents happen AAMI can help cover it. Who helps cover the challenges of the everyday arena? AAMI does.” The last sentence on its own would have more than done the job and made the whole spot simpler and stronger. Feels like a case of Microsoft packaging disorder. All of that said, it still made me laugh, for which I am grateful.

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Asics

Campaign:Be Moved

Agency: Chisel

The verdict: Bronze medal

Linton says:

Of the three ads on the table, Asics’ ‘Be Moved’ had the most emotional truth to it.

There’s an undeniable lift that the Olympics gives us. We watch, we’re inspired and we feel that little bit of extra motivation to get up and be our own Olympian… even if that’s 500m intervals around the local school oval.

Is this the most original way in to communicating an Olympics-grounded message? Not really… it’s a little safe… but it’s logical and I can understand why Asics went there.

From an executional perspective I think the biggest thing that lets this piece down is the wall-to-wall VO. It’s constant… and over-explains the idea to the point that there’s little left for the viewer to draw out themselves and connect with. I can only imagine how great this could have been if the idea was given a lot more room to breathe.

Rating: 5/10

Lee says:

I’ve definitely been craving a big, emotional, inspiring Olympics ad. I really do want to BE MOVED, but this ad doesn’t do it for me.

The first few seconds, both visually and musically seem to suggest the start of a big emotional journey akin to P&G’s classic 2012 “Thank You Mom” ad, but then any semblance of real storytelling is shelved and the spot descends into a cliched voiceover-driven montage of slick sporting footage to music. An earnestly delivered manifesto might sound great in a presentation, but doesn’t necessarily make a great ad. This feels like a missed opportunity: the production values are pretty high, so good money has been spent, I just wished they’d spent some of it on developing a great story with which to touch our hearts.

Rating: 4/10

Brand: Toyota

Campaign:Breaking Point

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

The verdict: Gold medal

Linton says:

What I love about this is that it’s not the standard big brand sports sponsorship ad we’ve seen time and again. There’s a unique brand action story here and Toyota have made an excellent decision choosing to focus on it. Purpose-driven comms can often feel superficial and token, but there’s real sense of substance here which makes it more interesting.

Executionally, the only thing that lets this down for me is the end VO. It’s very polished and corporate, and because of that jars with the authenticity and rawness of the rest of the ad.

Rating: 7/10

Lee says:

In comparison with the other two spots in this Olympic ad selection, the first thing I like about this film is its economy of messaging. This frees up time and space for a gritty cinematic spectacle that has been well crafted. The harsh backstreet vibe of the piece cuts through amongst the habitual clean cut brightly aspirational imagery of the Olympics, as does Ryley Batt’s angry badass performance in his wheelchair.

It’s no conceptual masterpiece, but it does the job it’s supposed to do and does it well. I like.

Rating: 7/10

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

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