Campaign Review: The verdict on MLA Beef, Aldi, SCA and Tourism New Zealand

In this series, Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest big marketing campaigns. This week: Fran Clayton, chief strategy officer at DDB Sydney and Nicole Hetherington, creative director at With Collective.

Brand: Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)
Agency: The Monkeys
The verdict: A rare piece of advertising which has it all

MLA Beef launched its new beef campaign last month, promoting it as the greatest meat on earth. The campaign aims to position beef as the category leader and spark a more emotional response from consumers. The ad features a jingle and starts with a man asking for “just a rump steak”.

Speaking to Mumbrella about the campaign, Andrew Howie, group marketing manager at MLA, said: “As Australians we use the word ‘just’ all the time as a way of playing things down, but it’s not ‘just’ beef, it is the greatest beef on earth.”

Nicole Hetherington, creative director at With Collective, says:

Hetherington: “It really did make me go ‘I wish I had done that’ at the same time as ‘I wish I had a piece of beef'”

“As a Kiwi born and bred on meat, this ad really has it all for me – a great balance of unexpectedness, wit, intelligence and craft. As always with MLA, it had scale – jumping between real Aussie situations to outer space, to parallel worlds, which worked well to create a sense of theatre around one simple interaction at the butcher. The performances were on point, even the celebrity cameos seemed believable and not wedged in solely to make the headlines. To me these spots are all based on a strong human insight – perfect for telling through film as a medium. Bringing it to life through a musical makes it feel even stronger, and even more shareable. The long-form film is the perfect amount of time, I didn’t find myself looking at the time, and it was over before I wanted it to be. Obviously, it’s harder to tell a story in shorter form, while the 90-second ad has it all, the 30-second ads don’t work quite as hard. In saying all this, MLA have done a fantastic job at making their films part of Aussie culture, and this feels like another notable addition. I personally can’t wait to see what they do next and how they build on the platform of ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’ and create a customer-focused campaign that targets meat eaters like myself. I feel like I’ve been brown-nosing the shit out of it – but it really did make me go “I wish I had done that” at the same time as “I wish I had a piece of beef”. Verdict – Rare.

Fran Clayton, chief strategy officer at DDB Sydney, says:

Clayton: “The bigger strategic play is the shift from functional benefits to social and emotional benefits”

“My four-year-old is now singing ‘Beef for what it’s worth, is the greatest meat on earth’ – it’s a nice addition to her usual repertoire of Disney and Katy Perry.  I’m giving top marks to the new beef campaign. I wonder if they’ll use the song in other ways? Seems like it could have a life beyond the TV. While there’s an effort to differentiate the beef and lamb brands, the epic ensemble reminds me of last year’s lamb campaign, as does the style of humour so perhaps they’re not as distinctive as planned. But I’m not convinced it even matters. The bigger strategic play is the shift from functional benefits to social and emotional benefits which unsurprisingly, makes for better work. Personally, I’d have nixed the bit at the end about double parking. Cute, but unnecessary. It’s already clear that beef is not taking itself too seriously (even though it is the greatest.) The whole premise is that beef is not ‘just beef’, yet it felt like the spot ended with another ‘just’.”

Brand: Aldi
Agency: BMF
The verdict: Self aware, relatable and loveable before anyone had the chance to even think about it

Aldi recruited Dave, a very hard-to-please, in its latest ‘Good Different’ spot. The ad shows Dave biting into an apple pie before declaring it as “not bad” – much to the shock of everyone around him.

Hetherington says:

“I really like this, and while certain blogs have called it ‘familiar’ I think it feels fresh and cuts through the clutter of competitor advertising on TV. Aldi is known for its quirk and courage, and this ad backs it up in my opinion. It feels oddly nostalgic and even though I can’t relate to the more ‘bogan burb’ cues, it works for me. As with every Aldi ad, the casting and storytelling feel well-considered and single-minded – another fun, loveable piece of film to add to their long list. It’s a more traditional piece of media but it’s a traditional product – a supermarket. The idea would have been hard to illustrate without film, and it feels like 30 seconds used very wisely – a nice big, re-watchable story that doesn’t take too much of my time. Executions under this platform clearly just need to maintain the quirk and fun nature of what it feels like to shop with Aldi. In turn transforming any of the brand’s perceived negatives into positives. Verdict – ‘not bad’ at all.”

Clayton says:

“This made me laugh. I liked it before I even thought about it. Then I thought about it and I liked it even more. I like it when brands challenge the skeptics. It’s self-aware and relatable. The characters make it. I love the Dad. I love the kid leaping out of the car. I can see them all in a movie about odd but awesome neighbours. With work like this, Aldi feels more Aussie and culturally relevant than their Australian competitors. Have they convinced me to try a pie from Aldi? Not sure. If I was hungover, and the pie was right in front of me… maybe. ‘Good Different’ is a genius line. Works on lots of levels, product and brand, and has personality.”

Brand: Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) The Em Rusciano Radio Show with Harley Breen
Agency: In-house
The verdict: The ads show nothing new and haven’t used the medium to its full potential 

Southern Cross Austereo released new television commercials to promote its 2Day FM Sydney breakfast show The Em Rusciano Radio Show with Harley Breen. The ads were 30-second highlights from their breakfast show.

Hetherington says:

“I suspect I’d like to be friends with Em Rusciano. I like the loud, say whatever you’re thinking attitude – but unfortunately these ‘TV ads’ don’t necessarily make me want to listen to her show. When I listen to the radio I form a mental picture of some amazing environment these hosts are speaking to me from. So, to see the reality (a small room with ‘Fred’ outside munching on his toast scrolling through Facebook) makes me feel a little disappointed. While I understand Austereo want to engage a larger pool of people, and TV can easily do this, the creative execution has let them down a little. There’s obviously funny and engaging content available for them to use from the hosts, but it feels like they haven’t used the medium to its full potential. With a little bit of strategic thinking and a creative idea these could have been magic, they just lack a little somethin’ somethin’ for me personally. I guess if you advertise radio on TV, make it look as interesting as it sounds. Verdict – ‘Vaginamite’.”

Clayton says:

“It’s hard to know where to start. There are much bigger strategic issues that they have not even attempted to address – like building equity in the 2day FM brand. But if we look at this purely as product advertising, the issue is clearly to make these two known. Part of the problem is that there’s nothing new here. The familiar comedic pair. Playing off against each other. It’s not enough to be funny (sounds like they are), but they’re up against competitors who have pop cultural currency. The comms approach is to get out of the way of the talent and let Em and Harley sell themselves. If you like the sound of them you’ll probably give them a try. There’s no real creative leap.”

Brand: Tourism New Zealand
Agency: TBWA Sydney
The verdict: Safe, underwhelming and doesn’t deliver on originality, humour or edge-of-the-world thinking

Tourism New Zealand created a mobile-led campaign which showed would-be travellers how one journey leads to another. The campaign was another push for the company’s 100% Pure New Zealand branding.

Hetherington says:

“Tourism ads, in my eyes, are very subjective – my point of view on this work is that of a staunch Kiwi wanting to see my home country shown in all its glory. I completely buy the strategy of making NZ look adventurous and that feeling we all have within us to discover. With dramatic wides and beautiful sweeping shots this film truly is a piece of art in my eyes (and it would have been a pretty fun shoot). Film and print are nice formats to entice and excite potential visitors, however the creative execution leaves me feeling a little underwhelmed. I just hoped to watch something a little more ground- breaking and unique when I read ‘mobile-first’. It’s hard to comment on jobs when you are oblivious to the process, but the one thing that really jumps out to me (as art director mind you) is the copy. Some of the VO feels a little forced and there’s quite a few adjectives in there… ‘Where one journey leads to another’ works well to portray just how much NZ has to offer tourism-wise – especially seeing as you can pretty much go from the top to the bottom in a week. No disrespect to TBWA or the client as I’m sure there was a lengthy process in this piece, I just got excited to share some work about that damn fine country of mine. Verdict – absolutely stunning, but not ‘the best job in the world’.”

Clayton says:

“As a proud Kiwi, I felt a bit let down here. I expect originality, humour and edge-of-the-world thinking from brand New Zealand. Just look at Air New Zealand. The footage is beautiful, but left me feeling… not much. I watched the two-minute version which felt about one-minute too long. Even a great song like ‘Passenger’ feels like it’s stuck on loop in the middle. And the voice over is sleepy, or typically tourism. I’m sure they have shorter edits which might work harder. The idea itself – that one journey leads to another – only lives in the line and a loosely linked montage of moments. There’s no narrative and the actors are attractive props, not real characters. It feels safe and unremarkable. Perhaps it is eye candy, and will serve a purpose to stop a few thumbs mid scroll. I really wanted to like this.”

  • 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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