Campaign Review: State of Origin spots from XXXX and Westpac

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites industry creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week, Mumbrella asked Campaign Edge's Dee Madigan and Hayley Read, senior strategist at Hardhat, to share their thoughts on State of Origin spots from XXXX and Westpac.

Brand: XXXX

Campaign: ‘Queenslanders’ Pride in their Origin’

Agency: Thinkerbell

The verdict: Clever ideation, but lazy.

Dee Madigan, executive creative director at Campaign Edge, gave it a 6/10, saying:  

This is reminiscent of the personalised Coke cans but I think it taps cleverly into the slight unease people feel about having beer logos on sports jerseys and does it in a very non-preachy way. And in a way, that is perfect for State of Origin.

The fact they know they can play with their logo without losing their brand shows well placed confidence in the strength of their brand.

However the tv ad is disappointingly weak. Feels like something ChatGPT would write if you asked it to write a ‘Pride in Queensland’ ad. Something clever and cheeky would have been more on brand and have more cut-through.

Hayley Read, senior strategist at Hardhat gave it a 8.5/10, saying:

This idea is gold – can’t fault it. This video is bad – lazy points lost.

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of the postcodes idea. This is brand activation at its best – start with something people love and find a way to make it better. The only thing more origin than an origin jersey is an origin jersey with an origin postcode on it. Brilliant.

Great use of brand codes, relevant and neat insertion of the brand, demonstration of the true local USP, fun ways for fans to get involved, all brilliant.

But I feel let down by the video. Surely this idea deserves better than a cheesy montage of landscapes. Seems like a missed opportunity that could’ve taken the campaign from great to amazing. Perhaps we could’ve seen the postcodes brought to life or a more insightful demonstration of local credentials.

The core is a clean & powerful idea – hats off.

Brand: Westpac

Campaign: ‘A Beautiful Partnership’

Agency: DDB Sydney

The verdict: The singing is strange, but the ad is memorable.

Dee gave it a 8/10, saying:

This ad has copped a lot of flak online but it was one of the few ads I actually remembered seeing. I loved watching it. The production is superb. And so is the writing, mostly. The parking inspector scene made me laugh out loud (though I felt sorry for him).

The strategy of ‘You mightn’t like us but we’re necessary’ is smart given the residual sector brand damage post-Royal Commission. But that’s why I would not have had the line about bankers ‘keeping dreams flowing’ – I would have toned that down a bit because it invites anger from the many people who have had less than dreamy dealings with their banks.

Hayley gave it a 5.5/10, saying:

Look, sports sponsorships are surprisingly hard. There’s the risk that you fail ‘loudly’ and get it wrong in a big public way. The team falls into disrepute, players rally against your company morals, sportswashing, we’ve seen it all.

Or, there’s the risk that you fail ‘quietly,’ and in the fray of ads and promos nobody really remembers that your brand even played that day. This spot has a go at both.

I applaud the building blocks. Too often, brands don’t have a relevant or active role in the partnership so have nothing to draw on in their ads. That’s particularly tough when the product is a bank. But the team have tried to give Westpac a reason for being – the line ‘bringing fans the footy’ gives a hint of why people should feel good about this brand being involved, and where the business’ contribution is going.

The insight is great, too; bankers are to Australians, as umpires are to sports fans. Clever. We Aussies do love self-awareness, self-deprecation, and a cheeky little lol at authority figures, so the launchpad is working for me.

Personally, the idea just doesn’t quite land after that – why the musical theatre? Not sure what that is adding. And I fear that the broad outtake of ‘bankers are bad’ means this will be recalled as ‘that bank ad’ not ‘that Westpac ad.’

Ad folks may cringe at the dance-fest, but I reckon the general audience will mostly enjoy this spot. The hook is broadly relatable but speaks to true individual feelings, and it’s entertaining enough.
An ad for the people, not the books or blogs.

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


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