Campaign Review: The verdict on MLA’s misstep and Ultra Tune’s unwatchable ad

Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: BMF's Jen Speirs, M&C Saatchi's Andy Flemming and AnalogFolk's Ben Hourahine offer their views on new work for MLA, HCF, Ultra Tune and Youfoodz.

Brand: Meat and Livestock Australia
Agency: The Monkeys
The Verdict: The ad had a few missteps and a problem with the story line

Meat and Livestock Australia turned the wars between Australia’s left and right into a broadway-style musical, singing and dancing “Lamb Side Story”.

Jen Speirs, creative director at BMF, says: 

Speirs says the ad had a fundamental problem with the story itself

“On paper, this is perfection for me. I love a musical. I’m a farmer’s daughter – so the MLA matters. And like many, I eagerly await the annual lamb Australia Day instalment and controversy that surrounds it.

“Yet this, well it just really didn’t work for me – on any level. I didn’t think that the lyrics were consistently clever or funny, it was far too long, a bit too cheesy – and aside from the woman ‘manning’ the bbq, the dated stereotypes didn’t sit well.

“But I think the fundamental problem was with the story itself… ‘A satirical commentary on our current divided political climate’. Unfortunately, I just don’t think that there is an overt political divide currently playing out. Sure, we were intensely, bitterly divided several months ago, when we were hideously asked to vote on marriage equality. But the country voted yes, and then went back to actually not really being invested in either side. So to dramatise in a very OTT way something we don’t care about, and do it for three minutes, comes across as both indulgent and irrelevant.

“That said, every long-running series has the odd misstep. So now that lamb has had its, we can all go back to eagerly awaiting next year’s lamb extravaganza. Surely it’ll be something with scale, something with edge – and something that starts positive conversation about the issue of unity and inclusion it raises, rather than the execution itself.”

Andy Flemming, group creative director, M&C Saatchi, says:

Flemming says he doesn’t hate the ad but it did have a few missteps

“The Monkeys are big, phenomenally successful and are run by a bunch of people who seem to be both business geniuses and really really good looking so they’re easy to hate. And boy, were they hated on for this West Side Story spot. I don’t hate it. I just think there are a few missteps. It’s too long for a start. I can forgive them for that as cutting a song down is a fucking nightmare, but not much is really happening so it does seem to drag a bit. What I like is their strategy of taking huge political issues head on, and in this horribly divided world, left vs right is an edgy, real thing and it needs to be exposed for what it is.

“Unfortunately, this spot attacks it with a sword wrapped in swathes of cotton wool and that’s my main problem. It’s politics lite. There was an opportunity to skewer some bastards here and they skewered some chops instead. Not a horrible spot. Just a missed opportunity in a landscape where marketers having an opinion is about as rare as, well, my lamb.”

Brand: Ultra Tune
Agency: Frontier
The Verdict: An unwatchable ad with lack of logic that looks cheap

Ultra Tune recently released its sixth ‘Unexpected Situations’ ad featuring former boxer and convicted rapist Mike Tyson coming to the rescue of three women dressed in animal costumes.

Speirs says:

“Does this ad fit within the series? Well, yes. It’s controversial for the sake of being controversial, it’s pretty much unwatchable, and it’s more than likely going to get pulled off air if it hasn’t been already. And while I’d usually just very easily tune this out – watching for this review, I found myself getting just as irritated by the lack of logic as I did the objectification of women and inclusion of a convicted rapist. I mean – how is the Ultra Tune guy going to actually help in this particular unexpected situation? And what about the… actually, forget it. Next. #womennotobjects #timesup”.

Flemming says:

“Ultra Tune have claimed in the past that portraying a bunch of scantily clad women (they’re referred to as ‘the rubber girls’ by Ultra Tune) helplessly stuck in a bad neighbourhood until a man turns up to help them isn’t sexist. In their latest spot that man is an actual convicted rapist, so the argument’s pretty much dead now as far as I’m concerned. My feelings about this campaign, the people who made it and the man who funds it would be similar to finding out that a parasitic worm is slowly and painfully eating my retina. In fact, even writing about it is precisely what Sean Buckley wants so I’m party to the whole sordid affair. I hope you sleep well at night Sean.”

Hourahine says:

Hourahine says the output is cheap even though it would have been expensive

“I don’t want to be giving more column inches to this but here we go… Aside from the sexism, degradation and use of Tyson, the output is incredibly cheap, given how expensive it would have been to make, and the strategic use of spend is alarming. A cheap joke and a cheap strategy for a huge amount of investment.

“It’s time Ultra Tune change its strategy and that’s not the only thing they should change. Car service and support is on the precipice of major disruption and the business model is outdated. They should be spending their money on repositioning and repurposing their offer not creating the advertising equivalent of an offensive garage pin-up poster.”

Brand: HCF
Agency: BWM Dentsu
The Verdict: A tactical ad with insights that’s “bang on”

The health care insurer launched its new brand positioning ‘Profit Hungry’ as part of its latest campaign. The ad features various wealthy characters explaining how HCF uses its profits to help its customers.

Speirs says:

“With my reviewer’s hat on, there are quite a lot of things working in this ad. Firstly, the insight is bang on. No one trusts health insurance providers. Surely we’re all getting fleeced and manipulated in the interest of corporate greed.

“Secondly, when it comes to executing in this category, the role of the quirky, irreverent guy hasn’t yet been taken. So naturally this tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top style is going to stand out. And on a practical note, the format of eavesdropping on our easy-to-hate fat cats allows for quite a lot of functional info about what HCF’s point of difference is.

“Yet, with my everyday person’s hat on, I’m not immediately switching my health insurance because I’m suddenly outraged to discover the fact that I’m being screwed over. I already know that. And yet, this execution doesn’t push me into wanting to do anything about it. In fairness, I’m not in the market – so I haven’t had exposure to the other channels that I’m sure are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to driving consideration. Though I’d be interested to see how this idea of personifying the profit hungry competitors, and the irreverent tone, is brought to life beyond just the TVC.”

Flemming says:

“Years ago I wrote an ad that had two wealthy industrialists celebrating how much money they’d saved by replacing their staff with robots and laughing so hysterically one choked to death on his caviar blini. Unfortunately the client didn’t just hate it, I had to leave the room to mortified, stunned silence and kind of low muttering that inevitably leads to an uncomfortable meeting with your CEO when you get back to the agency. So I loved this, and I think a whole pile of people will love it too. After all, everybody knows that everyone’s being fucked over by everyone else and big corporations have made it an art form. Health funds have always gone for unusually happy Getty Image families skipping across beaches with the peace of mind that knowing that they’re covered films and this one sticks it to them with a ‘we won’t rip you off’ message.

“Is it sustaninable? No. It’s tactical. I can imagine seeing some ruddy red-nosed laughing blingy rich people posters but it’s not a long-term brand positioning. The client seems good, so let’s see what they come up with next.”

Brand: Youfoodz
Agency: Alley
The Verdict: A stale campaign which doesn’t show just how good the product is


Youfoodz’s latest campaign shows young couples admitting they ‘can’t stop doing it’ after work, on weekends and even in front of their parents.

Speirs says:

“I have to admit – when I started watching this, I thought at the end I’d be seeing the line “Get some pork on your fork”. The performance, the tone, the humour – it all felt familiar. Then I guess, there’s nothing new about innuendo – it’s been used to sell everything from paper towels to new cars. I myself am guilty of having wheeled out a double entendre or two in the past. But I think the past is probably where it belongs. There’s just nothing fresh about this campaign. And when I heard the endline ‘Everybody’s doin’ it”, I just sat there wondering what the ‘it’ was that everybody was doin’. The ads just didn’t do a clear job of establishing what the product actually is.

“Perhaps it’s a new, ready-made salad to look for in the supermarket? A Sumo Salad competitor? Of course, I could have visited the website – but I really hadn’t seen anything that made me care enough to do so. And maybe the channel itself isn’t right. At the moment I’m being practically stalked on social media by Marley Spoon and HelloFresh, yet Youfoodz only came to my attention about two days ago when I was asked to review these TV ads.”

Flemming says:

“Apparently there’s a young couple who can’t stop doing it. They do it with each other then do it with all their friends. Their parents walked in as they were doing it. The dog saw them doing it. They do it every weekend too. Oh, and every morning. No. They’re not talking about having penetrative sex. They’re actually talking about a healthy collection of meals. I’ve eaten these things and they’re really good. They’re fresh, healthy and much better than the solid lumps of meaty ice that you have to microwave and always end up cold in the middle.

“Why the agency decided to ignore all of these genuine benefits and go for 1976 innuendo is absolutely beyond me. I thought we’d seen the last of this shit with the ‘She porked the milkman, then she porked the postman, then all of the local football team. No, she didn’t have sex with them, she gave them pork’ campaign a few years back. It makes a genuinely good product seem cheap and nasty. Of course, YouFoodz will say that the campaign has been ‘very successful in a highly cluttered market.’ That’s because the product’s great and you’re putting out any sort of advertising for it. Just imagine how high the sales would be if the ads were good.”

Hourahine says:

“Overall I like the Youfoodz work from a cut-through point of view, but it leaves a lot of strategic questions unanswered.

“If Youfoodz is trying to create a new brand personality then it feels as if it is aimed at a much younger market. I am not convinced on the demand in this market and that’s one of many strategic questions that aren’t answered for me.

“I am looking for more depth here strategically, it doesn’t feel like a product proposition that will convert, more a summation of a controversial awareness approach. What’s the value proposition? I’d like to see this extend across channels and experiences – at the moment the call-to- action is an online discount code.”


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