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Campaign Review: latest campaigns from Allianz, Budget Direct & Rams

Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: The Works' Nathan Bilton, Akcelo's Dave Di Veroli, and TBWA's Katharina Vassar evaluate the recent campaigns from insurance companies Allianz, Budget Direct, and home loan company Rams.

Brand: Allianz

Campaign: Behind you for what’s ahead

Agency: Howatson + White

The verdict: First work has potential with room for growth

Nathan Bilton, creative director at The Works, says: 

‘Behind you for what’s ahead’ is nice. It’s what I want from insurance but has some creative potential too. And this spot is the first of what I assume will be many that build meaning into the positioning/line.

I like the decision to launch with an understated, slightly removed narrative. However, it does come with some challenges. The concept of choice: free will vs determinism, being the sum of these choices etc. is a chunky idea to get across in 30 seconds; and then you’ve got to link it back to ‘Behind you for what’s ahead’. Perhaps that’s why the line feels a bit tacked on at this point. No doubt there will be a bunch of executions that work hard to link choices (and the ability to make them) to a precursor of certainty, security, cover, etc.

Overall, I’m a fan. It’s subtle and there are no floods or fires. Thank you. I hope it works because I’m interested to see where this idea goes.

On a production note: It might just be me, but the second line of the VO has a weird aggressiveness to it that seems out of whack with the warm visual style and tone.

Side note: in isolation, the OOH falls a bit flat with the triptych execution failing to fill the narrative gaps and the far right shot selection being oddly funereal.

Rating: 7+/10

Dave Di Veroli, chief strategy officer at Akcelo, says:

In 2021, everyone is emotionally depleted after a challenging rollercoaster year. There is a strong need for optimism, which is especially true in the insurance category that has traditionally been associated with more serious and sombre tonality.

Allianz has come out with a much more subtle execution. Instead of focusing on life’s big problems, they have shone light on life’s little moments. Intimate, real and human moments in people’s lives.

The feel-good execution adds a personal touch not often seen in the insurance category. It is a nice departure from the traditional insurance ads, however the subtlety may leave people questioning what the ads have to do with insurance, let alone connecting it with Allianz.

Rating: 8/10

Katharina Vassar, strategy director at TBWA, says:

Ultimately, what every insurer is trying to convey or “sell” is peace of mind, and though that isn’t exactly the emotion that this campaign gives you, it does speak to something important: choices.

Looking at the entire campaign, I must admit that Allianz’s role in the story was unclear and a little far-removed.

Though I do appreciate that they didn’t rely on the category convention of fear tactics that we see too often in this space, when I think Allianz I think ‘home and car insurance’ and it does take a bit of mental gymnastics to connect a Mum who is willing to be late to work to say hello to her son, to an insurance company.

If the strategic pivot for this brand is to encourage Australians to re-evaluate the importance of the choices we make and why we make them, then I’d say that’s a job done. Even if for me, after seeing this campaign, that evaluation has more to do with what time I’m coming home from work tonight to see my family, than the type of insurance I’ve chosen.

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Budget Direct

Campaign: Big cover without the big price

Agency: 303 Mullenlowe

The verdict: Over the top production proves polarising

Bilton says:

Let’s start with the line again, ‘Big cover without the big price.’ No Allianz-style enablement here, just saying it straight. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Not sure there’s much wriggle room if the cover gets smaller or the price bigger, but let’s leave that to the actuaries.

On to the spot. Distinctive brand assets, fresh consistency, salience, and other similar terms… some esteemed marketing heavy hitters will be pleased. But, despite this and pretty neat VFX, it’s a bit clunky when it comes to execution. Specifically, the dialogue. I get the whole gumshoe detective thing and pulp tropes, but the puns are really forced. Laugh track forced. If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty qualified to comment on this as I’ve penned some stinky words in my time.

It couldn’t be more different from the Allianz spot; and if I’m honest, it would be pure speculation on my part as to which one will work best. Maybe both? Or neither?

Rating: 5/10

Di Veroli says:

Budget Direct continues its series of far fetched misfortunes, this time trading out UFO abductions for a Grand Theft Auto-style gaming world.

Sarge and Jac return, this time to investigate a reckless driving accident caused by a computer-generated, mohawked, muscle man.

While we do get a cameo appearance of the much-loved neighbour’s dog, it’s hard for ‘Driving’s No Game’ to compete with their previous ‘Bad Dog’ campaign. A highly entertaining campaign that was universally appealing – whereas the latest installment has a darker, more ominous tone that will likely resonate less across a wide audience.

Butterscotch the dog struck a chord with audiences, which very few adverts achieve. So I would have stuck with more pooch and less PlayStation.

Rating: 7/10

Vassar says:

Firstly – a nod of appreciation for ads that still aim to entertain.

I’ve always enjoyed Budget Direct’s “Insurance Solved” campaign for two reasons: their use and celebration of pop-culture references that, for self-proclaimed culture-junkies like myself, resonates especially strongly (hello light-saber-wielding pup), and for their creative decision to use fantastical situations to speak to the benefits of insurance – rather than grim depictions of natural disasters or loss.

Sadly, I feel like they’ve lost the magic somewhat with this most recent addition.

The humour and dialogue shot past sarcasm into cringe-inducing territory, and after an extended car chase full of neon green energy, the ultimate payoff of the story is the messy aftermath of an implied cartoon collision, which felt a little deflating.

If you are going to sacrifice relatable and insightful context-setting for your product for the sake of entertainment – it had better be properly entertaining and memorable.

Rating: 4/10

Brand: Rams

Campaign: Home loans are what we do

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

The verdict: Raymond A Ram makes a welcome return

Bilton says: 

So, the premise of this spot is that if you do something with a singular focus, you’ll become good at that thing. And, by inference, better at that thing than others. Gladwell et al, 10,000 hours and all that.

Assuming we buy the logic, does this spot do a good job of delivering the idea? And positioning Rams as fit for purpose mortgage experts?

Kind of.

The talking ram is enough to pique interest and recollect the brand. But the choice of things that people pursue with single-minded devotion to reach their respective levels of expertise could be pushed a bit more. The matching elephant topiary water feature was a solid start; and I was hoping it would get weirder from there.

I don’t really know if the ‘We just do home loans, and we do them better’ strategy will help steal (or reclaim) market share. Or if comparison sites make flogging mortgages a rate chasing race to the bottom. If it is the former, I think it could work hard. Most things on the farm do.

Rating: 6/10

Di Veroli says:

Home loans and insurance are categories where brands often blend together in consumers’ minds. To stand out from the crowd, there is a menagerie of distinctive brand assets to lean into – whether it be colour, characters or even use of celebrities.

Some have achieved distinction using quokkas, others koalas – while RAMS has decided to welcome back Raymond, their CGI animated livestock. Despite being voted one of the top ten creepiest mascots worldwide in 2014, he has returned for this latest campaign – and I for one welcome him.

Raymond has been around for over 25 years, and is consequently a potent brand asset for RAMS to leverage. Brand characters have been proven to be 6x more likely to turn up in high performing ads (and twice as effective as using celebrities to drive distinctiveness) according to 2020 Ipsos research.

So was it a good move for RAMs to resurrect Raymond? Ewe bet.

Rating: 8/10

Vassar says:

The age-old argument of a Master of One vs Jack of All Trades – it’s a simple and compelling challenge to their competitors. I don’t know about you, but if I hired someone to be in charge of potentially 20+ years of debt I’m taking on, I would want to know that this is all they lived and breathed from the moment they woke up to the moment they fell asleep.

This was a cute and quirky spot with a lot of charm. Raymond A. Ram (what a name!) is a warm and familiar character who imbues their message and narrative with a bit more affection than a generic mortgage broker.

What I really appreciated was the tipping-of-the-hat to the weird and wonderful hobbies and skills a lot of us picked up during our time at home due to the pandemic. Whether it was baking sourdough from scratch or conquering a 2,000-piece puzzle of cats – the past year has proven that you can achieve amazing things when you dedicate enough time and attention to it… which is a nice tie back to their overarching message.

Rating: 7/10

  • As told to Anna Macdonald. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email anna@mumbrella.com.au
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