Campaign Review: Suncorp’s divisive ad, NRMA’s break down and Holden’s outstanding craft

Mumbrella invites the industry’s most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Thinkerbell's founder and creative director, Jim Ingram, and Mediacom Beyond Advertising's associate creative director, Taylor Thornton offer their views on the Suncorp ad that has split people down the middle, Holden's crafted and considered ad, NRMA's total mis-step and Origin's rebrand.

Brand: Suncorp
Agency: Publicis
The Verdict: You love it or you hate it

Jim Ingram, founder and creative director, Thinkerbell, says:

Ingram says that ad “isn’t fucking awesome”

“It feels very much like one of those ideas where the song came before the actual idea, so I can only assume that the boldness and bravery of using Thrift Shop was all part of the strategy here. But I feel it misses the mark.

“For cut through and engagement, it scores a perfect 10, but for strategic insight and connection to the brand, I’m struggling to make a connection. And as for ‘Money with Sunny’ I think on paper it would’ve felt right, especially trying to build equity into ‘create a better today’ but again, the strategy behind it feels weak.

“In conclusion, I give the team points for trying something brave and bold, but in my humble opinion, this isn’t fucking awesome.”

Rating: 4/10

Taylor Thornton, associate creative director, Mediacom Beyond Advertising, says:

Thornton says the ad bursts with energy

What I love about Sunny is it took me back to a time when I was a grommie and even when you found a gold coin (let alone a bloody lobster) it was a bonanza and free for all. You were killing it. People are suggesting that it’s sending a poor message by picking up money, but that’s rubbish – it’s finders keepers and kids love to dance and run amok around the stores dragging their parents along for the ride.

“Reasonable people outside adland will put the literal meaning of the lyrics aside. The beat drops and the ad bursts with energy. We tend to overthink everything, it’s a healthy push in the right direction and it’s modernised the brand. While ‘Money with Sunny’ may come under question, at least people are noticing it and it’s far less corporate and functional than their previous platform ‘create a better today’ that could be anyone.”

Rating: 8/10

Brand: Holden
Agency: The Monkeys
The Verdict: A simple idea with outstanding craft

Ingram says:

“First up, the production on this is excellent. There are mountains of subtle tricks in here that help tell this story and deliver just the right bits at just the right time. This in itself is no mean feat in our fast and furious world of production at the drop of the hat.

“It feels crafted and considered, and in some aspects it’s perfect. Something you’d expect from the experienced hand of [Ant] Keogh. And same goes for the simplicity of the idea. Another Keogh trait – one of the great simplifiers (another dying art as we push into the new marketing frontier of more is more).

“As for what it says for Holden, well, we Aussies love a good gag and the old ‘sure-footed as a mountain goat’ is a nice insight that I think will hit the spot. But I’m not sure what the line ‘Not to be outdone’ is doing to build the overall Holden equity. It almost feels apologetic, like Holden knows it’s been getting slammed and this is a fightback? Nice ad, I liked it when I saw it and I still do now.”

Rating: 7/10

Thornton says:

“This has been a welcomed distraction from the ‘Nothing to prove, prove it’ riddle from Holden that I’m still trying to solve. The idea is simple and the craft is outstanding. The Mexican standoff with the mountain goat is unexpected and it’s refreshing to see a lighthearted story rather than utes splashing through puddles and loading mountain bikes.

“It embraces the absurd and has a real Ace Ventura When Nature Calls feel to it. I don’t know if this was intentionally supposed to be ambiguous but the tagline ‘Not to be outdone’ seems a bit odd when the mountain goat gets him in the end. The tagline I’d have chosen would be simply ‘Outdo’ and you could bring this tussle to life 100 different ways.”

Rating: 8/10

Brand: NRMA
Agency: The Monkeys
The Verdict: Completely overstates what the brand offers

Ingram says:

“I can actually see why this campaign may have been the work that lured NRMA away from M&C [to The Monkeys] and I can only imagine the gusto in which it would’ve been presented. If I was a client, I’d love hearing a script like this and being associated with it. But it just doesn’t come anywhere near hitting the mark for me. In fact, it made me a bit grumpy. It’s trying to be way bigger and more meaningful than it deserves.

“And starts to try to place NRMA into areas I feel it shouldn’t (or doesn’t deserve to) go. ‘Help is who we are’ is actually beautiful and I would’ve handled it with a bit more care than this. It didn’t necessarily need the bigness and actually just focussing on the small ways ‘help’ can help might’ve been nicer.”

Rating: 5/10

Thornton says:

“The Monkeys in this case were so eager to impress their client they have completely forgotten that there is a cost to cherry-picking iconic moments that they had nothing to do with to sell their client’s services. NRMA have completely overstated their role and what they do. They help people on the side of the road (for a fee) and following a natural disaster they’ll assess your home’s damage if you’re insured with them, but they have nothing to do with two surfers looking after one another in the water nor the volunteer fire service that’s nursing the koala or the quick-thinking passengers that overturned the train.

“The NRMA branded tarp that turns someone’s home into a billboard is insensitive. They’re there when they’re paid to be there and they should have focused on the ways the NRMA genuinely help Australians like the support they offer the SES rather than spending money recreating iconic moments. This spot had potential although it well and truly broke down when it got distracted by events outside their remit.”

Rating: 4/10

Brand: Origin
Agency: TBWA Melbourne
The Verdict: Good brand platform but articulated in a boring way


“I feel like they tapped into something strong here in Good Energy, but it’s been articulated in the simplest and least interesting way – people being energetic. I know it’s weird to reference another brand here, but I feel a bit like when I saw Arnott’s campaign ‘For whatever shape your family takes’.

“I loved that line as it allowed them to really show what shapes our modern families take these days, but the campaign didn’t go anywhere near opening up that insight. And the same here. Origin have clearly opted to focus on the customer, but I’m not sure I buy happy dancing grannies in funky exercise gear as a strong enough link to a power company promising Good Energy.

“If the focus truly was on Good Energy, surely there’s more to claim than sustainable, smarter and easier – that’s what they’re all saying. I’d love to know what Origin are doing from the inside out as an organisation to bring Good Energy to life – after all, a re-brand never starts and finishes with marketing so surely there’s more to come with this platform?”

Rating: 5/10

Thornton says:

“They’ve done a sensational job at showing customers the future direction of their company. They’re not necessarily saying they’re going to be the cheapest but they’re here for the long run.

“The intergenerational scenes weave beautifully, from banter on a building site to grannies rocking it down the street the notion of ‘Good Energy’ is bright and giddy and leaves you with a smile. Overall, it’s a contagious and entertaining piece balanced with functional benefits.”

Rating: 8/10

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

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