Campaign Review: Bonds’ play for sustainability credentials and Coopers steps up with a brand platform

Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: The Hallway's Tim Mottau and Host Havas' Shaun Thomson give their verdict on Special Group's first work for Bonds, telco Felix's advertising debut, Coopers' new brand platform and Palmer's finding the formula.

Brand: Bonds
The Future is in your Undies
Agency: Special Group
The verdict: Mixed messaging


Tim Mottau, strategy director at The Hallway, says:

“What’s not to love about Bonds? It’s an iconic Aussie brand that has made fashion comfortable for everyone. The fact that they’re now using sustainable materials is great news on top of this, but using that to position the brand as a symbol of change feels like a bit of a stretch.

That’s where the line the “Future is in your Undies” comes unstuck for me. It’s put on top of what I already expect from Bonds – quality for all with a carefree attitude. It’s an attitude that has made the brand inclusive and relevant for generations, without asking us to think too hard about the concerns of the fashion industry.

That aside, this is still a fun spot and it doesn’t preach. It captures all the joy of running around in your underwear without a QR code or Zoom call in sight. And couldn’t we all do with a little more of that right now?”

Rating: 6/10

Shaun Thomson, senior art director at Host Havas, says:

“I’m all for brands leading the charge for change. I think they have a responsibility to do so if their influence can have a dramatically positive impact. Bonds expanding the idea of comfort beyond our own waistlines is a great call and sets up an enduring platform loaded with potential.

But the risk here is looking like they’re cashing in, rather than mucking in. It’s the flip side of this movement that has left a whopping 60% of people unable to trust a brand’s sustainability commitments. Believing they are just an effort to improve their corporate image. This is where the spot falls short of scoring. Work that leverages a topic like sustainability should be mutually beneficial. Whereas this is a catalogue ad that doesn’t do a lot to encourage sustainable behaviour, only promote their range through people dancing.”

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Coopers
Forever Original
Agency: The Royals
The verdict: Fails to live up to the brand platform

Mottau says:

“At some point in the last couple of decades beer advertisers seemingly changed focus from wanting to make us feel something to wanting to make us think. Rational gaining precedence over emotional, which is a shame really because some of the great Aussie beer ads of decades past have been world-beaters for giving people an emotional attachment to brands on the tap.

Maybe Australia’s burgeoning craft beer scene is leading brands to feel they need to justify their uniqueness and craftsmanship, lest they be seen as being merely ‘Made from Beer’?

“Forever Original” works well as a brand platform for Coopers, and ties neatly with a bunch of interesting proofs about what makes the brand special. I’d just love to see these RTBs elevated in a way that engages me more with the spirit of an original.

That being said, it sounds as though there’s more to come from this campaign, so I look forward to seeing how it builds as it ‘rolls’ out.”

Rating: 5/10

Thomson says:

“I’m a big fan of this platform – the original craft beer owning ‘original’ makes a lot of sense and is such a strong place to be when there are ~250 craft breweries born every minute. On a functional level it carries the brand’s history. Serving an ice-cold reminder that not only is craft beer nothing new, but they practically invented the category. On an emotional level this platform is an attitude. One their drinkers can buy into and one that will inform the brand on key decisions for years to come.

That said, this is one of those ideas that isn’t just a comms idea. The brand needs to live and breathe it to really do it justice. The hardest thing about an idea that dances with ‘original’ is how to execute it in a way that lives up to it. I can only say, I hope this work was intentionally kept this straight to launch the platform. I’ll be watching this space for something a little more ground-breaking.”

Rating: 6/10

Brand: Felix
The plan with a bigger plan
Agency: Paper Moose
The verdict: A nice line let down by a tired narrative

Mottau says:

“I’m not sure that anyone in Australia was calling out for another mobile phone brand. So I guess if you’re going to introduce one, you’re going to need to give people a pretty compelling reason to switch.

Felix is a mobile ‘plan with a bigger plan’, which is quite a nice line, and a wholesome point of difference in a category that typically promotes service and connections, rather than their sustainability credentials. I buy into the vision, but have to wonder how high on people’s list this is when choosing a mobile provider.

The spot itself captured my attention, but it does feel more like a mission statement of the business than something customer-driven. Perhaps that’s why it left me wanting to join my local Landcare or plant a tree, rather than change networks.”

Rating: 4.5/10

Thomson says:

“‘The plan with a bigger plan’ – a great line that dovetails into the cultural movement of caring for our planet that is well and truly underway. It’s evidence of how powerful a clear brand purpose can be and how essential it is to define. It clearly communicates the brand’s values well beyond advertising and becomes the brand’s guidelines without ever needing a contents page.

The spot though, is about as straight as it gets and the message of planting a tree is far too tired to be the entire plot. I get it though, it’s super clear. But what good is clarity if people don’t stick around to hear what you’re saying?”

Rating: 6/10

Brand: Palmer’s
Find the formula
Agency: AnalogFolk
The verdict: “A gem of a thought there that just needed a little more craft”

Mottau says: 

“I was captivated by the Alice in Wonderland journey through the medicine cabinet leading to ‘Find the Formula’ with Palmers. It definitely stands out in a category that typically relies heavily on its own formula, beauty shots and promises of efficacy, when advertising.

I love the ‘simple products that actually work’ positioning of this brand and the insight of the complexity inside our medicine cabinets feels spot on, but could the two have been brought closer together? How does Palmers’ help with this kind of chaos and the empty promises of the industry? Without that, the insight takes centre stage, rather than the no-nonsense approach of Palmers’ products.”

Rating: 6/10

Thomson says:

“I found this spot for the most part pretty entertaining. It played off a relatable truth of the excessive number of miscellaneous products we horde in our cupboards – none of them what you’re looking for. But as a consumer, I don’t buy their proposition and that line does little to help. It’s left me not really knowing what to think that’s any different to what I already thought. That is, I really have to clean out my bathroom cupboard and stop buying into every cosmetic ad I see.

The execution itself though feels refreshing for the category with its darker undertones. I wish they leaned into it more with the sound and didn’t reprise with the track they used. Ultimately, I think there’s a gem of a thought there that just needed a little more craft and something a little clearer than ‘End the madness. Find the formula.'”

Rating: 4/10

  • 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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