Campaign Review: Apple’s LGBTI weddings, Air NZ’s not so entertaining safety video, NRL’s miss

Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: DDB's executive creative director, Tara Ford, and whiteGREY's ECD, Anthony Moss offer their views on new work for Apple, Air New Zealand, Subaru and NRL.

Brand: Apple
Agency: TBWA
The Verdict: It wasn’t really a bold move but promoted the product well

Tara Ford, executive creative director, DDB Sydney, says:

This film is a nice continuation of the ‘Shot on iPhone’ print and out of home campaign. So, a good use of product demonstration with visual impact.

It captures and celebrates a cultural moment in Australia, the first few LGBTI weddings which are now legal in this country, which is wonderful.

Ford says the ad was a nice continuation of the ‘Shot on iPhone’ print ads

But I wouldn’t say it’s a brave move for Apple. Also, although a different idea, it is a shame only a few weeks before there was another campaign that used real LGBTI wedding footage, with similar genre music track. I had to look twice when I first saw it. Not a great sign.

Anthony Moss, executive creative director, whiteGREY, says:

The amazing “Shot on iPhone” billboard campaign was a stroke of genius. Beautiful photos taken by the creative people who choose iPhone’s camera as their weapon of choice. This film goes one step further to show the superior video qualities of the phone in a beautiful and emotive way. The first dance is a rite of passage that only heterosexuals in Australia have enjoyed, until recently. So as far as product demos go, what better way to showcase the video quality of the iPhone than with something so significant, stunning and important? Sure, it’s a one off and not necessarily the long-lasting campaign the outdoor version was, but it’s a great one off.

Moss says “this is seriously impressive for a camera on the back of a phone”

Watching this ad for the second time, I was truly able to appreciate that each first dance looks so amazing because of the Apple device. Not some Red, or Phantom or Arri Alexa. The slow-motion shots, the changing depth of field, the shifts in focus. The lighting, the close ups, the clarity. While there must have been a stabilizing gimbal and the disclaimer at the end says that some other software was used, this is seriously impressive for a camera on the back of a phone. The kind of camera you’d trust for those important moments. The choice of song and artist added to the beauty and emotion and some acknowledgement must go to the planning and pre-production put into this shoot. While many advertisers had their focus set on the results of “Yes” vote, the implication of the vote is what truly counts. 6.5/10

Brand: Air New Zealand
Agency: True
The Verdict: More political and less entertaining 

Ford says:

This brand has a nice history of entertaining using in-flight safety videos. They are a great way to communicate a brand message to a captured audience. But this one is less fun and more educational. I wasn’t that entertained.

As a punter I’m glad the airline is investing in sustainability. But I can’t help thinking: airline. Carbon footprint. Anyone? And if I think about how I feel when I’m waiting to take off, I just want to get the show on the road. I’m impatient for the safety video to end so we can get on our way. But perhaps that’s just me.

Moss says:

As far as safety videos go, Air NZ have set the bar and even raised it over the years, featuring funny and well delivered scripts, performed by Kiwi icons ranging from Hobbits to half-backs. Always topical. Always entertaining. In fact, Air NZ wrote the book on how to get people to pay attention to an important and potentially boring message.

This one feels a bit more political and a lot less entertaining, so it’s not one of my favourites.

The scenery is spectacular, and the tie in with the school kids is sweet. However, I don’t think that the safety video is the right place for the brand to be touting their conservational message. And why is the guy from Entourage in it?

Anyway, I did a bit of digging and quickly realised there may be more to this than a conservational message poorly disguised as a safety video. Within a matter of clicks I was reading about New Zealand’s deadliest peacetime disaster, a sightseeing flight in 1979 that crashed into Antarctica’s Mt Erebus, instantly killing all 257 on board. It was an Air New Zealand flight. The loss of life, finger pointing and Air NZ’s poor handling of the tragedy in the years that followed are all still fresh in the minds of many New Zealanders. Loads of which are labelling this video “tone deaf” and “unbelievably insensitive”.

Was a film about Antarctica and a departure from the comedic style of film meant to be a tribute to the victims? A diversion from the negative PR? Or has someone made a Pepsi-like error in judgement? Either way, all things considered I give it a 4.5/10. Hopefully they go back to comedy next time.

Brand: Subaru
Agency: Disciple
The Verdict: Leaves you feeling cold and the technique is nothing special

Ford says:

The technique here is not usual for car advertising. But there may be a reason for that. I’m afraid it left me cold. I didn’t feel anything from the story or the technique.

If executing like this, the technique needs to be pushed into an incredible, artful and highly crafted area. And I didn’t have that ‘Woah I can’t believe that/ How did they do that / That’s amazing’ reaction. Added to that, I can’t really tell you anything about the car except it can drive places. And you should ‘do more Australia’ (Don’t I do enough already?).

Moss says:

Having worked on car brands for many years, there’s a constant battle between the agency who want to sell an idea, and the client who wants to buy footage that will romance the metal. This is a great example of a win-win. It uses an interesting technique that was very well executed, shows every angle and feature of the car, all while telling a story about memories made on a family road trip.

Add the great sound track and you recognise this as a Subaru ad from the get go. You’ll find something new every time you watch this spot because there’s a lot of craft in the execution of this technique and it’s not crammed with supers or VO. The car is the main character of this simple story, allowing the audience to sit back and enjoy the ride. Which I did. 5.5/10

Brand: NRL
Agency: R/GA
The Verdict: It falls short as it doesn’t make you feel anything

Ford says:

The fans are being heroed rather than the players. Symbolism and rituals of the teams are in there, if you’re a fan you’ll know, apparently. But this spot didn’t make me stop and think about the sport differently.

It didn’t draw me in or make me want to be part of that world. It didn’t inspire or make me feel anything – unlike the new AFL ads that came out this week, which did all of the above.

Moss says:

To me, this film fell a bit short of the intended strategy and as a result, felt like a montage rather than something that could build a stronger connection. If the strategy was to ignite the league’s fans and express their love for the game, the mobile meme-making site and the Ingles mural do a much better job of that. The hero video however, was preaching to the choir.

I get it, that was a part of the task here, but this execution tried to do too much by rallying the troops and promoting the league. You can’t do both. It featured a lot of team specifics that would be recognised by each team’s fans, but having to fit in all 16 team’s tribal messages, cheapened the impact of each. That NRL imposed mandate to feature all 16 teams also took me out of narrative of Tedesco’s Uber ride through Sydney.

I think that added to the montage feel of visual box ticking. I’d prefer to see the emotion of real fans putting their team first and the tension that comes with wearing your heart on your sleeve in enemy territory. The AFL this week launched a campaign that does a good job of telling individual stories, each time focusing on just one team/fan/moment. As a vocal fan I personally would be more motivated to share my club pride after seeing an individual’s story that started the conversation rather than a watered down statement about every team in the NRL competition. 4/10

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

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