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Campaign Review: Rebel Wilson touts Afterpay, Golden tea parties and MLA Olympic spirit

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Jack Morton's Paul Cotton, The Hallway's Matt Rawnsley, and Howatson + White's Leslie Sharpe evaluate the recent campaigns from Afterpay, Golden, and Meat & Livestock Australia.

Brand: Afterpay

Campaign: Pay Better

Agency: In-house

The verdict: Was Rebel Wilson needed to explain what buy-now-pay-later means?

Paul Cotton, creative director at Jack Morton, says:

For a first ever global campaign where you really want all those potential consumers to grasp your offering’s concept – I think they nailed it.

Could it be improved? Sure, but the message is clear: have what you want now, do the work later. Rebel Wilson adds a little extra reason to pay attention and lightly associates the brand with its Australian roots, which is a nice touch.

It’s unfortunate that it ends on an association with quick fixes and miracle solutions (abs without exercise, eat that ice cream!) which leave me feeling a little unhealthy and wondering “What’s the catch?” There’s a missed opportunity here to really hammer home the no interest differentiator for markets that are drowning in credit card debt, instead of glossing over it in the middle.

But… overall, if I didn’t know about Afterpay before this spot I’d have a pretty good idea about it afterwards. I reckon that’s a win.

Rating: 8/10

Matt Rawnsley, head of connections and media at The Hallway, says:

A booming category, certainly one with an ongoing need for education. This is probably the right kind of spot for Afterpay at this moment. From an international perspective I’m kind of wondering whether they need to be overtly Australian – is it a conscious part of their brand that they’re taking forward? If so, Rebel Wilson is an obvious choice. But I can’t help but feel she’s a bit commercially overused in recent years. It does seem like a lot of money to spend on no real idea, and the writing just misses the mark a little for me. Still, I’m sure it’ll do an ok job for Afterpay at this stage of their journey. Not great, but good enough if that’s all you need.

Rating: 6/10

Leslie Sharpe, creative director and head of art at Howatson + White, says: 

Buy-now-pay-later services are not new. So I’m surprised they’ve felt the need to make an explainer spot? It’s a creatively rich category. Afterpay has so much potential and should be trying to be less rationale and more irreverent. Klarna does that so well.

I understand the value of celebrity. John Malkovich for Squarespace or Shaz and Kim for Uber Eats. But why Rebel Wilson? There’s no intrinsic link to her and this “idea”. If it’s because she’s famous, I think people are fatigued by how often she appears in brand ads. And if it’s because she is funny, then why isn’t this funny?

Rating: 5/10

Brand: Golden

Campaign: Never a Boring Bite

Agency: BMF

The verdict: A colourful assault on the senses that satisfies

Cotton says:

Who are these people, why are they having such a great time failing to eat their… breakfast? Dessert? I’m not sure. Maybe this is the joy of Golden, that it can be what you want it to.

I understand the desire to be evocative, to go the perfume route and associate your brand and product with a range of aligned emotions and moments in time, but to do that you need to very clearly show up.

As someone who generally skips brekkie, I didn’t recognise Golden without its familiar trappings at the start. Amongst all the whirling colour, excited faces and dollops of cream my eye was rarely drawn to the product itself and I had almost no idea what was being advertised until the final frames.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the journey and the tension in the build-up to those final successful bites at the end. It’s fun, it’s playful, it’s imperfect and all those lovely things… but in service of what? The brand would have been better placed in my mind if this spot showed how Golden brings the carnival to breakfast rather than the other way around.

That said, while not my everyday fare – it was still a treat. Much like a crumpet.

Rating: 6/10

Rawnsley says:

I haven’t had a Golden Crumpet in ages. This ad won’t change that, but then I’m not sure what would. However, it is a nice little bit of FMCG advertising. A simple, if not unique or compelling prop, faithfully executed against. Can’t imagine it was a hard sell to the client – nothing brave or ambitious, but it probably doesn’t need to be. It’s distinctive and it’s fun, and at the end of the day it’s for crumpets. No need for anything longer than a 15 second. Well landed.

Rating: 7/10

Sharpe says:

A hyper stylised tea party is a pretty smart way of showcasing a range of products. It’s also more interesting and unexpected than yet another food ad set in yet another Aussie kitchen or living room. The visceral-ness really does make me want to immediately eat a buttered crumpet with a side of pancakes soaked in syrup and creme.

My only criticism is that I wish I could indulge in this for a bit longer than just 30 seconds. So I could better appreciate the craft and detail of the production design, and interestingly cast characters, which I think is all really wonderful.

Rating: 7/10

Brand: Meat & Livestock Australia

Campaign: Feed Your Greatness

Agency: The Monkeys

The verdict: Some beef with the blandness, but delivers yet again

Cotton says: 

I love that we live in a world where a dad doesn’t just automatically claim the last bit of meat on the table, what a bloke. This is a cute campaign with a lot going for it. The unspoken metaphor of beef between the siblings, literally. The narrative, personality – the obvious internalised misogyny and misplaced favouritism from the mother – and the moody lighting all serve to make it feel a bit more like a story than an ad. Pitting the actual Kelsey-Lee versus her actual little brother serves to make it all the better.

With all the ad has going for it, the link to the nutritional benefits of beef could have easily been lost, but it’s brought forward by that cheeky line from the sports commentator in the middle, “hope she had a decent meal last night,” and reinforced by the voiceover at the end. It’s always good to have less reliance on that informational voiceover – but would I have decided to sacrifice the memorable narrative for it? Probably not.

The companion content series is a nice snapshot into the lives of our athletes. Simple, with a clear connection to the beef industry – at least in the case of farm owning Lewis Holland. It doesn’t do anything unexpected or attention grabbing for me. Perhaps it doesn’t need to.

Rating: 8/10

Rawnsley says:

With every new piece of comms from MLA, I have high expectations. This spot does not disappoint. I truly laughed out loud, which doesn’t happen every day. Though, the beef work has always lagged behind the lamb work, and that’s probably still the case here.

No hefty strategic insight but a solid creative one, and brilliant casting. It’s a terrific synthesis of topical relevance and MLA distinctiveness. But I will say that nobody needs to see the content series that sits behind this. That aside, this is something that will sing to the heartland. And where are all the other Olympic themed spots this year? No, I don’t really care either.

Rating: 8/10

Sharpe says:

I think this spot is trying to connect me with Aussie beef by appealing to me emotionally, making me feel proud to be Australian in an Olympic year, while rewarding me with a bit of a giggle. All while reminding me about the nutritional value of red meat. And every storytelling element you’d think you’d need to do that appears to be there, perfectly clicked into place.

But truthfully, it doesn’t make me feel any of that. It just makes me really miss how genuinely emotive and funny the work for beef has been in the past.

Rating: 5/10

  • 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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