Campaign Review: The verdict on Carlton Draught, Crownbet, Sportsbet and Ozmosis

In this series, Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest big marketing campaigns. This week: Frank Morabito, executive creative director and partner at Spinach, and Damian Pincus, founder and creative partner at The Works.

Brand: Carlton Draught
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
The Verdict: It was a confused ad with no “rational proof point”

Returning to television after five years, Carlton Draught released a commercial channeling the theatre and comedy basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters.

Frank Morabito, executive creative director and partner at Spinach, says:

Morabito says: “I like what the campaign is trying to say, but not the way it’s saying it”

“There’s a certain kind of pub where Carlton Draught on tap tastes just right. Where parmas rule and a unique patina defines the place as authentically old school. I love those kind of pubs. So the first few seconds of this TV spot were encouraging, but then it quickly went somewhere that felt both foreign and familiar.

A 1970’s keg-juggling basketball team just feels wrong for a brand with such a longstanding footy partnership. The voice over, which does a great job of channelling the chef from South Park, complete with ball jokes, adds to the confusion.

But when the bartender reaches for the magic button under the bar, I thought, ‘Oh no they’re going to the Heineken place’. Heineken’s ‘The Switch’ from 2012 was so good I can’t believe another beer brand would go anywhere near similar creative territory.

However, ‘the insight’ that a keg of Carlton Draught is changed every 46 seconds has legs. Indeed, the race against the clock at the MCG on Grand Final Day got a jiggle and communicated the message.

Overall, I like what the campaign is trying to say, but not the way it’s saying it.”

Damian Pincus, founder and creative partner at The Works, says:

Pincus said: “I’m not convinced it’s a great insight or rational proof point”

“The research companies are having a field day with booze companies and of course they all say the same thing. It must be relatable, set in a bar, with mates, oh and those mates have to be mixed sex, don’t forget the refreshing product shot and as much branding as you can get in the ad wherever humanly possible.

So does it live up to previous work? The Big Ad, Beer Chase and Flash Dance are still my favourites from the ‘Made from beer’ work. They were entertaining, fresh, unexpected, emotional and most importantly not set in bars with normal people in them. They were cleverly taken out into another world, a world that didn’t hold a mirror up to our boring real lives.

With that in mind I struggle with the insight of ‘Australia’s freshest tap beer’. I’m not convinced it’s a great insight or rational proof point. There is an assumption that from the keg is the freshest you can get it and do we care that it’s changed every 46 seconds or is this an attempt at trying to keep up with the craft beer makers who already have freshness built into their craft?

But knowing the quality of work Clemenger do I am sure there were better, more refreshing scripts put on the table or some better insights.”

Brand: Crownbet
Agency: The Monkeys
The Verdict: Another wagering ad with a “less shouty spokesperson”

The Monkeys Melbourne launched its first work for Crownbet featuring Australian actress Nicki Whelan as its new “spokesman”, discussing a ‘Better Way to Wager’.

Morabito says:

“Firstly, I believe they’re right, every brand in the category is trying to out-bloke each other. It’s one big pissing contest. My voice over is more Aussie bloke than yours. My jokes are more asinine than yours. My brand differentiation is, actually, about the same as yours.

So attempting to stand for something different has merit. And Nicki Whelan certainly is a welcome change to the usual buffoons we see in wagering ads. My feeling is that the ad will get noticed and perhaps some people may reward Crownbet for not yelling at them, but, as the PR release claims, does it really set a new standard in Australian betting? Nope.

I hate traditional wagering ads so much I really wanted to like this one. So I watched, and I listened, and at the end of the 30 seconds I thought, what was that about? Ultimately, it’s an ad about nothing.

The opening line, “If I were a betting man” is cute but it doesn’t go anywhere and the offers that follow appear diluted and meaningless. ‘Great odds,’ wow, haven’t heard that before. ‘Movie tickets’, really?

At the end of the day it’s just another wagering ad with a less shouty spokesperson.”

Pincus says:

“A better way to wager. The kick off to this ad is a huge relief, no blokey blokes, no shouting voice over, no pubs.

Instead we have Nicky Whelan telling me why Crownbet is a better way to wager. It’s nicely produced, well branded and stands out from the rest. It will appeal to a wider audience and not only men. While it’s not new, it’s a good way to get a lot of information across and they have tried to create some unique assets for the brand that will make it stand out.

The real trick will be to stick to this long term. If they do they will see the results similar to the formula trail blazed by Tom Waterhouse when he launched his business.”

Brand: Sportsbet
Agency: BMF
The Verdict: The agency took a risk however it wasn’t very funny

Olympic athlete Ben Johnson returned to Sportsbet commercials in its latest ‘The Fold’ ad, promoting its new feature allowing users to cancel their bet during the middle of the race.

Morabito says:

“Ben Johnson? Again? The first Ben Johnson ad was one of those good/bad ads. I admired the audacity and guts, hated everything else. Bringing Ben back as an emasculated version of his previous self (that’s what steroids will do to you) is soft.

Punters will inevitably compare this to the previous ad, and I don’t think they’re going to be impressed. I can hear the conversation in the pub, “Hey knackers, have you seen the new Ben Johnson ad?” “Yeah, piss weak. Not as good as the first one, is it?”

If Sportsbet was truly ballsy (sorry, the words just keep appearing on my screen, it must be what happens to people who work in this category), this new campaign should have featured another drug cheat. There are plenty out there: Tour de France riders, tennis players, the entire Chinese National Swimming Team. Take your pick. One of them might even be able to deliver dialogue to camera.

Then there’s ‘Puntmas, the festive season for men’. Putting aside the ‘for men’ bit, the other two words that come to mind are shoe and horn. I wonder which came first, because from the outside ‘Puntmas’ and Ben Johnson look like a clash of two ideas, each corrupting and undermining the other.”

Pincus says:

“The main focus here is the how they have changed the way you can bet. Being able to pull out of a bet when things are not going your way is a new tool to encourage people to bet more. It reduces the risk and to some degree the excitement we feel when we put on a bet. But I can see how this innovation will pull more people into betting.

I’m not sure the use of Ben Johnson really works. Most people would have no idea who he is, and it’s not that funny. Two minutes, seriously feels too long and I had to push my way to the end. The TVC is simpler and brings to life what they are offering much better.

Writing engaging content for digital is a real skill and creatives seem to struggle with it. While they are no doubt watching and sharing this stuff for inspiration, many don’t seem to be learning from the good work that is out there, but instead seem to be trying to write long ads.”

Brand: Ozmosis
Agency: Ugly
The Verdict: A compelling social idea which reaches its demographic perfectly

Releasing its first work to the market creative agency Ugly created a ‘Show us your scars’ campaign for surf and skate brand Ozmosis, consisting of various surfing and skateboard accidents. 

Morabito says:

“Featuring consumer captured fails isn’t exactly new, it’s an idea that has been used by many a brand with a limited budget. But what saves this campaign is ‘Pay with Pain’. The idea is Ozmosis will reward you for showing your scars, scrapes, ruptures or breaks.

Presumably, the discount is commensurate with the severity of injury. You know, 5% off for a small cut, 50% off for a broken leg. All you have to do is hobble into Ozmosis and you can save big. Turns out the offer is much simpler and more shareable. Injured parties can simply post their injured parts on Instagram or Facebook to receive a discount code.

I like a lot of things about #paywithpain, I just can’t bring myself to watch the video or look at the social posts. Which means it’s probably bang on for the demographic. You see, I used to enjoy a laugh at other people’s misfortune, but as I get older and my spatial awareness diminishes, I find that running into a waist high bollard isn’t as funny as it used to be.”

Pincus says:

“I like this, at last someone is trying to do something different in retail. They have come up with a simple compelling social idea that nails itself right into the heart of the target audience and is executed with a minimal budget. A reminder to us all that you don’t need a lot of money to deliver great ideas. The next exciting challenge for the agency is going to be selling this type of thinking to bigger clients so they can sustain the great people who run the business. But it’s a great start to set out clearly the way you think and the type of work you want to be doing. Well done to the team.”

  • 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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