Campaign Review: Federal Election face-off

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites the industry's creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. For this week's Campaign Review, Mumbrella asked The Work's senior strategist Lucy Batchelor and Host/Havas' group creative director Henry Kember to review the lead election campaign spots created by the major parties ahead of the 2022 Australian Federal Election.

Party: Australian Labour Party

Campaign: Anthony Albanese will deliver a better future

The verdict: Authentic, but lacking emotion


Lucy Batchelor, senior strategist at The Works Agency, gave it a 6/10, saying: 

What Liberal misses, Labor delivers; a clear, confident, and coherent story. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

But let’s start with the positives.

Anthony’s opening line is strong, leading with a statement that those who’ve been disappointed by ScoMo will agree with. The ad cites key words like strong, economy, control, low taxes, words that matter to many when faced with instability. It’s situated in the real-world (on first-glance) and presents a personal story aiding in connecting what in today’s world is a disconnect – reality and politicians.

Which leads me to the misses. Whilst the ad highlights a short falling of Labor, the message could have been strengthened by leveraging loss aversion. Moreover, the ad forgoes emotion for a list of vague promises too long to grasp, a montage of scenes too mundane to captivate, and people too ‘perfect’ to not be actors.

Room for significant improvement. It’s a 6/10.

Henry Kember, , group creative director at Host/Havas, gave it a 2/10 (a horse-drawn chandelier/10).

2/10. No, make it 1/10—that is, if we’re grading by our usual standards.

But election advertising is different. Grading on a curve isn’t going far enough.

We need to throw our usual norms and aims out the window and think about what these parties are going for. Let’s look at the context.

This election is all about trust. ScoMo as a human being. Albo and the ALP’s competency

So the ALP have played it dead straight here, no doubt to emphasise reliability. Fair enough. But more importantly, the almost…naive(?) production style has nothing about it that you could call spin. Next to Scotty from Marketing, Albo’s wooden delivery and “chats” with constituents no doubt feels authentic.

But it’s hard to watch. But could it be effective? Only the electorate will tell.

Like I said, we can’t grade this the usual way. So let’s give it a horse-drawn chandelier out of ten.

Party: Liberal Party of Australia

Campaign: Scott Morrison: Why I love Australia

The verdict: Slick, but tone-deaf and lacking clarity


Lucy Batchelor gave it a 4/10, saying:

I’ll start with a positive… at least the opening line is truthful.

With the setbacks experienced by labor this year, Aussies have started to question the power of federal politics.

Keeping that in mind, if rebuilding trust is what he’s going for here, the ad contains some of the right elements, but the execution misses the mark.

Whilst the ad attempts to land a degree of emotion (from the music to the dramatic first 20 seconds), his character (although a sly dig to Anthony via the shot of the wedding ring may backfire), his competence (through the spiel on jobs kept and lives saved) and value alignment (signing off with “Why I love Australia”)…

Its storyline is scattered. How did we jump from equating today’s world with the instability of the Second World War to loving Australia because tradies in high school want to run their own business?

It’s lacking clarity. What is it you’re trying to tell me? That you’ve had setbacks and you always will because information is never perfect?

It doesn’t fill me with confidence. Does Scott empathise with the true reality of our world? Does he have a plan for how he’ll seize opportunity?

Deprived of coherence, clarity and confidence it’s a 4/10.

Henry gave it 2/10 (a sausage-filled mattress/10), saying: 

And in the other corner, the Coalition. With the platonic ideal of an election ad.

Much easier to look at, a story better told. In many respects it follows an American political ad formula: the three-quarter angle to pretend interviewer, West Wing-esque soundtrack, gravitas dripping from every frame.

But in seeking to burnish the stable, dependable leader credentials of Scotty, its slick “campaignyness” reeks of spin.

ScoMo staring down a table of obediently nodding ministers feels faintly Trumpy.

And even putting aside how the claims of saved jobs and lives jibe with anyone’s reality, The story uplift in the current climate feels tone deaf. (Hell, the more outrage-addicted among us might even call it gaslighting.)

So, as you can probably guess, it fails the “trust” test. But I’d probably find it easier to watch and take in this message than that of the ALP.

Again, how can you even grade this numerically? I’m giving the coalition a sausage-filled mattress out of ten.

As told to Kalila Welch. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email


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