CampAIgn Review: KitKat and Maurice Blackburn experiment with AI

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites industry creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week, Mumbrella asked Thinkerbell's Tom Wenborn and Affinity's Will Nichols to share their thoughts on some interesting AI-led executions from KitKat and Maurice Blackburn.

Brand: KitKat

Campaign: ‘AI made this ad so we could have a break’ 

Agency:  Wunderman Thompson

The verdict: An earlier adapter but doesn’t quite land with all audiences

Tom Wenborn, executive creative director at Thinkerbell, gave it a 4/10, saying:

I’ll resist the urge to ask A.I to tell me what I think of these two A.I based pieces of work, instead relying on my blunt lack of human intelligence.

The KitKat ‘Have a break’ platform is a beautiful, enduring thing, that at times gets abused by first thoughts or new trends. In this case, it’s both a first thought and jumping on a trend. I put self-referential work in the ‘first thoughts’ bucket: it feels like it’s relevant to the agency and marketing department, but potentially loses its punch on the rest of society. However, if KitKat had partnered with Netflix to create this then I would feel a whole lot different about it.

Will Nichols, chief strategy officer at Affinity, gave it a 5/10, saying:

There’s been plenty of talk throughout ad agencies around the impact of AI on what we do, so it was only a matter of time before we started to see executions coming into the market openly using tools like MidJourney, ChatGPT etc. And while the first movers have an advantage, I have a feeling we’re going to see better applications of the technology as time passes.

And for me this KitKat work perfectly sums that up. The campaign ‘Have a break, have a KitKat’ is iconic (it’s actually been running since the 1950s). And the strategic idea is good – using Al to do the ad, so the agency team can take a break. But the execution falls a bit flat for me. I must admit the first time I watched it, I didn’t get it. I thought I might have been missing something. I had to re-watch it to get it. My main gripe was that the voice over ran way too fast. I was also distracted by the production values – it felt pretty low budget and “half decent” as they openly admit to.

But on reflection, this is a perfect example of knowing – and connecting with – your target audience. I’m not Gen Z, but my son is, so I asked him to take a look. He found it funny, and got it first time. Which goes to show, we always need to think about our intended target market who are, not necessarily what the advertising industry thinks (ironic given how much we like to self-critique).

Me: 5/10
My son: 8/10

Brand: Maurice Blackburn

Campaign: ‘Exhibit A-i: The Refugee Account’

Agency: Howatson+Company

The verdict: Simple and impactful, but perhaps not a clear enough connection to the brand

Tom gave it a 8.5/10, saying:

Personally I think Howatson+Co is creating some of the best work in the region. They’re converting genuinely engaging insights into intelligent concepts and then crafting them relentlessly. This piece is no exception. It’s important work that they’ve managed to capture with a simple idea, and the gravity of the content almost makes you forget that A.I image creation is a global trend right now. My only qualm with some of H+C’s work has been the lack of impact or visibility for the brand, but from what I can see this has got some mainstream traction and Maurice Blackburn is integrated well. It’s the type of work that could potentially generate momentum in society and lead to change… Hopefully it will.

Will gave it a 7/10, saying:

Our second AI driven execution of the week and a very different use of the technology to KitKat’s.

There’s no doubting the emotional impact of this campaign. The Australian policy of offshore detention has been incredibly sensitive for a long time, but with the centres located off-shore it’s been a case of out of sight out of mind for many Australians.

Creatively I really loved this campaign – bringing the harrowing statements of the refugees to life through AI is undoubtedly a powerful use of the technology. The fact that Al has created such genuinely realistic portraits of the events is confronting on a few levels given we live in an age struggling to come to grips with the impact of fake news and deep fake imagery.

However, whilst the impact was unquestionable, what was missing for me was the clear connection to Maurice Blackburn. While I understand they want to document their work, and leave a legacy beyond hundreds of pages of testimony, the outcomes from this campaign are unclear. What do we want the user to do after seeing this? If you go to the website, there are some subtle prompts to sharing on social media. And whilst the campaign seems to work to raise awareness with the issue of off-shore detention, l’m not sure of the benefit for Maurice Blackburn. Indeed, if you don’t see the PR you could easily miss that they were the client.

Surely a huge investment for such an uncertain return.

Creativity: 8/10
ROI: 4/10

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 Kalila at


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