Campaign Review: Did SA Tourism’s ‘Old Mate’ ad miss the mark?

Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the most-talked-about ad campaigns. This week: The Brand Agency's Hannah Muirhead, and Clemenger BBDO Sydney's Brendan Willenberg offer their views on the South Australian Tourism Commission's headline-grabbing Old Mate, 13Cabs announcing itself as the offical partner of booty calls, Sydney Water's tips on saving in the drought, Ikea redesigning your life and Kayo's new pet axolotl Owen.

Brand: South Australian Tourism Commission
Campaign: Don’t feel sorry for Old Mate
Agency: TBWA
The verdict: It’s different and has gotten people talking

Hannah Muirhead, strategy director at The Brand Agency, says:

“Wow. Where do I begin?

“Firstly, I have spent a lot of time in Adelaide. Sure, it’s not the most dynamic city in the world, but it has its charms. There is more to Adelaide than a walk on the Glenelg Jetty and a bus tour of the hills.

“In the age of transformational travel, capturing the magic of a place is essential to selling the experience and this completely misses the mark. Adelaide has a reputation as being a city for old people. This ad is only reinforcing those perceptions, particularly given the low process involvement of television.

“I guess the strategy is around FOMO and regret based on some insight that people wish they’d come to Adelaide sooner. I just cannot see how the tone or execution of this will drive young people to immediate action. Clickbait that will not convert to visitation.”

Rating: 0/10 (Sad tears + Tourism = Effectiveness Fail)

Brendan Willenberg, creative director at Clemenger BBDO Sydney, says: 

“Tourism advertising is a tricky beast. You need to show off the product without reverting to vanilla travel porn and cliches. For a state that ranks low on desirability, I think this manages to do a great job at showing people why they should go now. It’s different, has occupied column inches, and has got people talking. Only thing I’d change is the VO at the end… it’s awful.”

Rating: 7/10

Brand: 13Cabs
Campaign: The official partner of…
Agency: Thinkerbell
The verdict: Great strategy and embedded in pop culture

Muirhead says:

“Interesting in the era of Uber and Ola competing on safety, 13Cabs have taken a completely different approach and are demonstrating deep audience respect and understanding.

“While owning the occasion has been a tried and tested strategy in FMCG for years, it’s interesting to see it play out for a service brand. Sure, it’s not unique to 13Cabs, but do USPs even exist anymore?

“I think there’s an opportunity to dial up The Saviour archetype a bit more to really hammer home the emotional connection. In Booty Call the overlapping narrative is a bit confusing: who in this twisted tale is sleeping with whom?”

Rating: 8/10 (Extra points for use of the eggplant emoji – strong pop culture reference)

Willenberg says:

“This is definitely the best 13Cabs work to date. Great strategy with bang-on insights into how and when we need rides. This also feels like a cracking way to be able to target a bunch of different people at different times. The executions feel a little flat, but the campaign as a whole makes me like the brand.

“On the question as to ‘Could it be applied to another ride-sharing company?’ Yes, of course it could, but 13Cabs did it first and Uber is too up its own arse to do this. When there is category parity your only goal is to make me remember you and like you. This does both.”

Rating: 6/10

Brand: Sydney Water
Campaign: Water Efficient Puppy and Random Nude Guy
Agency: Host/Havas
The verdict: Entertaining, but the message might get lost

Muirhead says: 

“I really enjoyed this campaign. It combats the notion that all social-change government messages have to be serious. At the end of the day without noticing there is nothing. People don’t want to be told what to do, so housing it in a cute gag is a good way to get that cut through.

“That said, it’s important to make sure the message doesn’t get lost in the creative. The opportunity is to really strengthen the desired behaviour across the community (i.e. four-minute showers) using social norming principles; the more people we see doing the right thing, the more inclined we are to follow suit.”

Rating: 7/10 (Who doesn’t love a camel and an exhibitionist in the spirit of a good cause?)

Willenberg says:

“Ah, the old ‘There are many ways to’ campaign. This is inoffensive enough is suppose and it will stand out. The only thing I find offensive are the performances, and I propose an industry-wide moratorium on having kids in ads.”

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Ikea
Campaign: Life by Ikea
Agency: CHE Proximity
The verdict: Doesn’t deliver an original idea

Muirhead says:

“First thoughts: Ummmmm, what just happened?

“Better watch it again.

“Oh I see, they are trying to evolve from a brand that delivers sleek Nordic interiors, to a functional life-changing support brand. Design is magic is a nice thought, but design has been about function for years now. So it’s hardly new.

“Many brands are trying to own the ‘better sleep’ space. Can IKEA deliver on this? Sadly, fresh curtains, black-out blinds and linen sheets just don’t cut it when the cortisol levels and blue-light pollution is all pervading. As a committed insomniac, I think this is a bit of an overpromise.

“From an executional point of view, it has a slightly creepy Truman Show feel. Am I being owned or manipulated by Ikea? Aren’t our lives already infiltrated enough by Ikea without having their hands in my bed? Please friendly giants keep your digits to yourself in the night time.”

Rating: 6/10 (With points lost for hands going where no one wants them)

NOTE: Brendan Willenberg did not review the Ikea campaign as Clemenger BBDO and CHE Proximity are both members of the Clemenger Group.

Brand: Kayo
Campaign: Owen the Axolotl
Agency: Host/Havas
The verdict: Cute but outdated

Muirhead says: 

“I had a total lack of awareness of Kayo and what it does, and now I do. So there you go. It’s an effective, explainer video.

“I guess tapping into sports rituals like the random predictive animal, octopus, or an axolotl is kind of cute, but probably outdated.

“Difficult to comment on the chatbot as it hasn’t launched yet, but if it offers either extremely high utility or high entertainment then it might help engage early adopters. At the end of the day though, it’s a strong offer (the Jetstar of Foxtel, so I’m told) so if it gets the reach then it should work.”

Rating: 6/10  (Points for just telling me what it does on the tin)

Willenberg says: 

“I think every wagering company gets presented a Paul the Octopus idea at least once a week. Owen the Axolotl is cute enough, but Paul was nine years ago and I wonder if people outside of the ad industry remember him.

“Anyway, would love to see how and where else this idea comes to life.”

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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