Campaign Review: Sam Mac’s missed opportunity and Demazin creates a division

Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Host Havas' Jon Austin and The Royals' Annie Little give their views on Sam Mac's love song for Xero, Demazin's take on 'Gloria', and Nescafé's look at quarantine coffee.

Brand: Xero
A little love song
The verdict: A missed opportunity

Jon Austin, executive creative director at Host Havas, says:

“I’ll be honest – I have no idea who Sam Mac is. But having looked around and seen that he’s pretty well known for doing this kind of thing, I buy the logic. I quite like the charm around writing a love song for accountants. It feels like an interesting and fresh take on the COVID climate.

On the spot itself, those 90 seconds felt very laggy when they were entirely composed of one person, similarly bland office shots, and a relatively empty acoustic track. I feel like it would have benefited significantly by having a better sound mix (that backup vocal is gratingly loud), a shorter track, and a tighter edit. But a big congrats to the team for their refreshing take in challenging times.”

Rating: 5/10

Annie Little, senior strategist at The Royals, says:

“Disclaimer for this review and all below: I’ve lived in Australia for just a year and a half, and am still a bit of a cultural alien. Therefore, this is my first encounter with Sam Mac. So I’ll take this heartfelt ballad at face value.

A love letter to the accountant. The under appreciated, yet essential partner in any business team. It’s great to see Xero taking a lighthearted note to the category, which tends to lean heavily on efficiency and techie seamlessness. A great construct and a reel of relatably frustrating scenarios – it just feels a little hard to mentally land on any single one of the benefits numbered off within the lyrics. The entity of our romantic subject, Xero, feels nebulous.

Delving a bit further into Mac’s back catalogue, it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity in pushing the absurdity found in Half Man Half Cat, to bring some off-the-wall magic to the corporate setting we typically associate with the likes of Xero.”

Rating: 6/10

Brand: Demazin
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Sydney
The verdict: Effective but not innovative

Austin says: 

“Work like this really divides us. Creatives seem to dislike it, and then someone invariably says the classic, ‘you may hate it, but it’ll work its socks off for the regular punter’. That comment bothers me, because it implies that creative work and effective work are mutually exclusive.

I was talking about this spot with someone recently. They pointed out that it’s clear, it’s highly branded, and it sticks in your head. And that’s what successful advertising should do, right? I don’t necessarily disagree. But is that all it should do? Is that all we should be aiming for? To mark off the functional tick-boxes of advertising? To achieve memorability simply by seeing who can say the brand name the most in 30 seconds and afford the catchiest track? If so, then we’ve been telling ourselves and our clients a lie when we say that craft is important; that scripting is important (hello, kid that sneezes the word “Demazin”); that insight-driven creativity is important.

In terms of pure function, I would score this really highly. But as someone who believes creativity and effectiveness can and should go hand in hand, I’m going a bit lower.”

Rating: 6/10

Little says:

“Demazin, Demazin, Demmmmazin – ok, I haven’t heard of Demazin before, but this brand is now firmly seared into my brain. Thoughts that fleetingly crossed my mind were why Gloria? Why ’80s active gear? But an hour later, Demazin still marches around my head and I’m now familiar with its heritage. An unapologetic play at brand awareness. Unpolluted by messaging clutter. Excellent.

The use of an unavoidably catchy tune to drill deep into consumers’ subconscious is an underrated one in 2020, despite our eyes being more distracted than ever. In confidently keeping the brand heritage alive with D-D-Demazin – an asset not to be dropped – perhaps Gloria’s jingle should be kept on in years to come to bolster Demazin’s artillery too.”

Rating: 8/10

Brand: Nescafé
Coffee Calling
Agency: Foxtel Media
The verdict: ‘A punchier message is needed’

Austin says: 

“As an entertaining piece of content, I quite liked the first one. It felt like it used relevant talent in a way that made sense of our longing to watch live sport again. Unfortunately, the rest of the spots in the campaign left me unclear on what the actual idea was, and more importantly, what Nescafe had to do with any of it. In component parts, I totally get the notion of shared moments during COVID, and that we catch up over coffee, but unfortunately it just felt like these two pieces were lost in the gags, and didn’t quite come together in the end result.”

Rating: 4/10

Little says:

“I have to confess… this is a genre of Aussie advertising I struggle with. Get a sports personality or two, conjure a jovial scenario, insert product and off you go. You can’t fault the product placement – gleefully waving a jar of Nescafe as the front door opens, heavily branded mugs – but this construct is so well trodden, surely it’ll struggle standing out. Could the original concept of shooting on mobile phones have created an-air of authenticity that might break the mould?

It’s the perfect moment for Nescafé to be making the most of staying home. As we switch from cafés on the commute to kitchen coffees, keeping the brand at the forefront of behaviour change is a timely call. But to fight the good fight, a punchier message is needed.”

Rating: 5/10

  • 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

Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.