Campaign Review: ‘Another Foxtel ad’ for Binge and ‘I bought a Jeep’ returns

Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Leo Burnett's Michelle Walsh and BMF's Christina Aventi offer their views on the return of 'I bought a Jeep' and Oak's 'Kill Hungrythirsty Dead', plus the campaign launching a new streaming service.

Brand: Jeep
I’m In
Agency: Cummins & Partners
The verdict: Fails to reach prospective customers

Michelle Walsh, creative director at Leo Burnett, says: 

“Admitting you have a problem is a ballsy move for a brand so I applaud Jeep for being refreshingly honest and taking the necessary steps to fix their customer experience. But while these spots are saying they’re committed to better service, it’s hard to unhear statements like, “owning a Jeep wasn’t as enjoyable as driving one.” This might resonate with existing Jeep customers or ones who’ve been burnt in the past but if you’re a prospective customer, you’d be seriously having second thoughts.

I do like the technique of picking up where the old ads left off; I just can’t help but wonder if tweaking their iconic “I bought a Jeep” line would have been better than creating a new one. While it’s become a bit of a parody over the years, I’d like to have seen them flip it to their advantage somehow and reclaim it as the positive statement it once was.”

Rating: 6/10

Christina Aventi, chief strategy officer at BMF, says: 

“I’ll come out and say I loved ‘I bought a Jeep’ before my mates had a Jeep that carked it before its time. It just kept on getting better as a platform, like ‘Boat’ and the ‘Don’t hold back’ appeals to the wannabe adventurer in me.

Now, I am a huge believer in leveraging memory capital and equity from the ghosts of brands comms past, but I’m not sure trying to unlock the positive feels and memory structures from this campaign is right. Maybe because it makes ‘I bought a Jeep’ feel like one big whopping lie, given the poor service and performance. So, in effect, I bought a Jeep, I didn’t hold back and look at what happened? I’m all for long ideas and memory capital but this almost shows the communications up as spin and hyperbole and reviving it is akin to finding out Santa isn’t real. Well not quite, but ‘I bought a Jeep and well… I regretted it’. People fill in that gap and that’s the little window it opened.

I think that there’s a whiff of spin in amongst the calling out of the problem…OMG some of these cars really choked I hear. I think everyone is one degree removed from a horror Jeep story. Or maybe that’s my echo chamber. The main point is it kind of rings false and glosses over some really serious customer care stuff, poor ratings and the nod to scale, ‘100,000 Jeep owners’ only makes me think wow that’s a whole lot of risk out there rather than social proofing. More ‘technical experts’ and so ‘every Jeep owner’ again makes me think, rather than feel and believe it is going to be OK.

Maybe plot out your ‘win back’ journey over time…seed, prove, make a claim, prove again. You win back by little degrees each time. And people trust people like them so advocacy is key. There’s something here that goes from ‘yeh so it was a bit crap, but it’s ok now, let’s just sweep that under the carpet and get back to where we were’. It’s too goddamn fast.

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Oak
Kill HungryThirsty Dead 2020
Agency: The Monkeys
The verdict: Writing falls short of the original

Walsh says:

“When the Hungrythirsty campaign first launched, I was jealous. Brilliant writing, brilliant casting and a brilliant made-up word that helped Oak carve out a nice little niche for itself. I’ve loved every iteration of this campaign but for me, this one falls short. The writing’s good, it’s just not as witty and on point as previous spots. And I miss the guy with the two-packs-a-day voice. He was such an iconic, original character, whereas the bear just feels like a derivative of Ted. I can only assume the actor was unavailable or they couldn’t use him for some reason because when you’ve got a winning formula, why change it?

And, while it’s a nice touch, I’m not sure viewers will pick up on the fact that the two characters’ storylines cross over. Unless they’re driving people to discover it on social? Regardless, bring back the actor I say.”

Rating: 7/10

Aventi says:

“I think there is something beautifully universal around Hungrythirsty that is timeless. Culture proof. Generation proof. Maybe not cancel culture proof though. It got a little dark. Which I liked at the time and still do.

It’s a brilliant strategy and the launch campaign was equally awesome. My 12-year-old knows nothing of Hungrythirsty launch and loves this spot. Hungrythirsty is a category of one thought and breaks mental models around needs. A great strategy, great idea and a decent execution when you don’t compare it to the past. I think we could’ve done without the taste claim at the end and kept it pure.

Maybe it doesn’t hit the same provocative cultural beats as Sergeant John Henry…‘kills hungrythirsty dead and then sends a text message to the next of kin’, ‘I don’t have a son…actually I do but he is in real estate’. I bloody love that copywriting. Gosh, I hope we can still go here in the future.

Whilst the Oak geeks will know it references the fairground and the bear that runs across screen in the background from Oak’s past communications, it still works for Hungrythirsty newbies. The bear might come across as random but such is the platform and the copywriting that it holds up. It is a decent bridge to future-proofing Oak in a world without Sergeant John Henry.

If some say this is average for Oak, well Oak’s average is better than most brand’s best. Look, I really love Hungrythirsty as a platform. That idea is so strong that even if execution needs to evolve and might be just under the previous executions, it is still great.”

Rating: 8.5/10

Brand: Binge
We’re for the Bingers
Agency: The Hallway
The verdict: Another Foxtel ad

Walsh says:

“This is a hard one because I’m sure the agency had an amazing launch campaign in the works until COVID-19 came along and ruined all their plans. And let’s face it, with so many players in the streaming market, Binge needed an amazing launch campaign. Unfortunately, this just feels like another Foxtel ad. I can forgive the montage of TV and movie clips, given the shooting restrictions in place, but I’m not sure I can forgive a manifesto that starts with the old “we’re for x.”

“There’s some playful, interesting language in there but it needed to be brilliant to give the spot some cut-through. The most interesting part of this campaign is the tagline – “Unturnoffable.” This is great. I just wish they’d activated it more because it feels a bit like an after-thought, which is a shame.”

Rating: 5/10

Aventi says:

“It’s Lurpak meets streaming service isn’t it. Epic sound track and manifesto. I gotta say I don’t mind the strategy of romancing the binge, unapologetically indulgent and addictive. Execution feels a little familiar though…the mood tape manifesto on the screen.

Content porn would’ve been a client mandatory, but perhaps there was a way to make more of the content and these memorable moments with the ode to binging. Over-dub Will Ferrell as Elf when he’s going through the turnstile. Or re-enact those iconic movie moments Tik Tok-style, courtesy of the everyday bingers. Life imitating art. And have an UberEats tie-up of some description. A binge-worthy army.

If you didn’t have to showcase the content, try to aspirationalise the binge… I think Foxtel have avoided that flagrant binge connotation in the past because you don’t want to unintentionally reinforce a barrier to living a sedentary, mind junk food existence. I go to priorities and choices, and tap that moment when you are so into a series that you’d pick it over anything. There’s permission to binge when you pick that series moment of truth above all else. A little like Lamb once did – when daughter picked roast lamb over dinner with Tom Cruise. In hindsight, she really did make the right choice.

The only thing is the whole category is about binging, isn’t it? Isn’t ‘Netflix and Chill’ essentially about binging? Calling your streaming service Binge feels a little like calling Ben and Jerry’s ice cream ‘Pig out’. I buy the guilt pleasure and being unapologetic but maybe something a little less category?”

Rating: 6/10

  • 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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