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Campaign Review: The verdict on Chris Hemsworth for Jacob’s Creek and Vodafone’s cancer researchers

Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest big marketing campaigns. This week: Simon Jarosz, creative director at MediaCom Beyond Advertising, and Nicole Gardner, general manager, McCann Sydney.

Brand: Jacob’s Creek
Agency: AnalogFolk
The Verdict: The ad misses the mark and is “tokenistic and clichéd”

Jacob’s Creek launched its new “Two Barrels, One Soul” ad to promote its Two Barrels range, recruiting Australian actor Chris Hemsworth to persuade customers that the $18 wine tastes better because it has been aged in old whisky barrels from Scotland.

Simon Jarosz, creative director at MediaCom Beyond Advertising, says:

Jarosz says the ad almost has all the right ingredients but it is lacking one key ingredient

“It’s every advertiser’s dream to tell an alcohol story, they’re filled with heritage, provenance and craft. And the Jacobs Creek Double Barrel has all the right ingredients, from dramatic, timeless locations, stunning cinematography, pensive musical stroke of percussion and Hemsworth’s voice delivering a distinct narration. But it feels like the mix of ingredients are slightly out for me. The narrative is a journey, and it carries me along on the journey of this single barrel, but avoids telling me what they pour into it until the very end! As well constructed as this is, it feels lacking to me of the one key ingredient Jacobs Creek are selling, a bit more wine porn maybe!”

Nicole Gardner, general manager, McCann Sydney, says:

Gardner says the ad makes wine look “really, really hard”

“This spot makes wine making look really, really hard. Treacherous even (remind me to ditch that tree change dream of moving to the country and running a small vineyard).

“It has all the semiotics of the whiskey category, including Chris Hemsworth’s strong and rugged voice over – so much so I felt l like I needed to keep walking.

“But it all feels a little tokenistic and clichéd.

“Jacobs Creek Double Barrel has a great story with some potentially compelling and unique product truths but misses on leaving me wanting a glass of deep smooth red wine with soul. But I will happily enjoy a whiskey on the rocks with Chris Hemsworth, thank you.”

Brand: Supercheap Auto
Agency: The Dreamers
The Verdict: The brand presented a bold and “flashy” ad but the “messaging feels old”

Supercheap Auto released a Fast and Furious style ad which featured Hollywood star Danny Trejo and included music from Australian duo Bliss n Eso. The ad features high-speed cars flying through abandoned warehouses and racing around tracks.

Jarosz says:

“High speed car chases are all too familiar and have been in film for years, with Australia’s original Mad Max defining the way they are captured. These have worked in many ways as we see cars become symbols of survival, freedom, individualism and even destruction. A true extension of their driver, in some cases as they are in real-life. Supercheap Auto has been a part of Australian racing for many years now and is aspiring to be the ultimate brand for car restoration fans and petrol heads.

“Octane Island is Supercheap Auto’s homage to this car cult of the screen and real-life, with post-apocalyptic sets, custom cars, high speed racing and the thrill of a leader board. Plus, a re-cut classic track you can download. After this huge display of all things speed and pistons the messaging feels odd. To create this metaphor for all things car in one place, why then simply talk engine oil? Nothing uniting, nothing that talks to car sub-culture, motor racing or Supercheap Auto’s heritage.”

Gardner says:

“If you are going to borrow kudos from a hugely successful film franchise, then you really need to own it. And well done to Supercheap Auto for going all the way. There is no compromise in this campaign. It’s big, bold and flashy and gives the passionate car obsessed target audience everything they love. Tension, drama, speed, the ultimate tough guy in Danny Trejo and the thumping sound track. It certainly gave me an adrenalin rush and left me wanting to rev off the other drivers at the traffic lights.

Supercheap Auto may not have created anything revolutionary, but they’ve fully committed to the idea and deserve to benefit from doing so. Although the high production values do leave me wondering how Supercheap Auto can continue to live up to their name.”

Brand: Vodafone
Agency: JWT
The Verdict: The message gets lost and the campaign lacks in storytelling

Vodafone created a DreamLab app which claims to help cancer research by providing researchers with access to “supercomputers” to crunch data. The campaign then encourages customers to change their LinkedIn profiles to “cancer researcher at the DreamLab App” once they have downloaded the app.

Jarosz says: 

“I think it’s great that mobile telcos are finally realising the importance of their customers and the technology they have in their hands. The Dream Lab App is a great idea and a great way for Vodafone customers to support charities straight from their pocket. I particularly like the empowerment of changing job titles on LinkedIn, to connect with people, make them feel a part of the cause and promote it amongst their peers.

“Where this is lacking slightly is in the storytelling, there’s a huge percentage of Australians who’ve lost someone to cancer and this story should also connect with them. There’s clear immediacy and tangible results in curing someone, but that has made this story a bit too micro when surely the objective is to appeal to all smart phone users? For me, sharing some alarming statistics to make people feel how this can, and will affect them is needed. I also feel the brand presence isn’t enough and left me unsure who was talking to me and telling what to do.”

Gardner says:

“I really want to love these people and their story as they move from self to selfless but all too soon I am lost in what they are telling me, what I am supposed to do and how it all works.

“Is this the Linkedin version of applying the rainbow filter to your Facebook profile picture? Wait a minute, I’m supposed to download an app? Is this an app for sleep apnoea, career advice or curing cancer?

“If I manage to commit long enough to understand the role of the app does downloading it really make me a Cancer Researcher? Just because I download the pocket weather app doesn’t make me Tim Bailey.

“In truth, this is a simply and innovative way everyone can make a difference in the fight against cancer but with so many partners to consider, the message gets lost.

“But well done to Vodafone for playing the support role and not feeling the need to get in the way of something meaningful. It’s about time they transmitted some good vibes.”

Brand: Qantas
Agency: BWM Dentsu
The Verdict: The campaign is cliche and the idea fails to drive action

In a new ‘Not Your Typical Airline’ campaign from Qantas, the airline has offered to pay for American’s passports if they book a trip to Australia with the airline.

Jarosz says: 

“This is charming and engaging but feels a little bit of stretch for me. It’s common knowledge most Americans have only 10 days leave, therefore don’t travel long-haul. The reality is, 40% of American’s who don’t own a passport can’t afford a trip to Australia either!

“It certainly ticks all the Australian clichés with the cheeky pilot’s address and iconic harbour backdrop that has done a huge job putting Australia on the map as a travel destination. But for me the offer feels small! I’d suggest something around the maiden voyage to Australia with entertainment and inflight food catering to American’s heading down-under for the first time feels more aspirational. 

“I’d be interested to see how many passport applications have been made. The sad reality is 60% of Americans are working class and 15% live in a state of poverty and with the average holiday to Australia costing over $2000USD per passenger, I doubt a $135 is going to swing it!”

Gardner says:

“It’s a surprising statistic that only 40% of Americans have passports. It’s even more surprising how Qantas have taken this fact and turned it into a retail sales promotion.

“There’s no doubt this approach will attract more attention and more conversation than an everyday early bird sale or discount offer. In a cluttered category with plenty of competition and Qantas not having the patriotic high ground, helping Americans overcome one of the barriers to overseas travel is at least differentiating.

“If Qantas is genuine about helping Americans get a passport, then an online service or chatbot to help complete the paperwork would make sense.

“That said, I can’t help thinking those people without passports are not really about to embark on a long haul flight to the bottom of the earth as their first overseas adventure. For those with a passport, a $130 rebate probably isn’t going to do it either.

“I’m not convinced the idea drives action, but at least it will get attention.”

  • 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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