Campaign Review: The verdict on No campaign, Hungry Jacks, Betoota Advocate/Virgin Mobile and Healthy Care

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: Ethan McLean, head of creative and director, Milk Money and Lizi Hamer, Regional Creative Director, Octagon.

Brand: The Coalition for Marriage
The Verdict: The ad clutches at straws and starts “ill-conceived conversations around disjointed topics”

In the first No campaign from The Coalition for Marriage, the ad claims parents will lose their rights to make decisions about their children.

Ethan McLean, head of creative and director, Milk Money, says:

McLean says “the only effective part of this ad is the tag line ‘you can say no’.”

“Trying to find a creative strategy that is based on facts and has the power to change minds in contemporary Australia for the No campaign is tough. But this film is really clutching at straws. Along with much of the No campaigner’s discussions it attempts to create controversy and fear about issues that are far outside the remit of the postal survey.

“The fades to black, the concerned parents, bold text and creepy piano music all attempt to promote fear in our brains, but the interviews put forward just don’t deliver the drama. I’m just reminded of the old Simpsons quote “Won’t someone think of the children.” There would have been far more effective ways of provoking this fear around gender and big progressive government interfering in our lives.

“The only effective part of this ad is the tag line “you can say no.” This empowers the voter and allows them to say No for no real reason other than “just because”. Essentially that’s where this creative direction has landed, we don’t have any real reasons, but we know that some people are slightly uncomfortable with voting Yes.”

Lizi Hamer, Regional Creative Director, Octagon, says:

Hamer says this ad doesn’t spark a productive debate

“This advert ties marriage equality to how our children are being taught about sex education in schools. The adverts emotional message, stirs up parents fears about their kids and what they are being exposed to. It is an effective away of provoking worried parents and starting ill-conceived conversations around disjointed topics. I don’t believe this is an advert that can spark a productive debate but instead it incites fear.

“How to make it better? We as advertisers and creatives can always reject briefs and clients that we don’t believe in.


Brand: Hungry Jacks
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Sydney
The verdict: It has a great sense of scale and a good dose of Hollywood despite missing the opportunity to be more authentic

The fast food chain launched an action film spin off inspired by Australian drama films with the slogan ‘Keeping it Real’.

McLean says:

“I instantly loved the mixture of high drama with a sense of the ridiculous with this film. The film has a great sense of scale, a good dose of Hollywood coming to your everyday food decisions, prompting us to think about how the simple act of choosing our lunch actually defines us as people.

“Once you get past the very well executed send up of hipster food culture, it’s highlighting the importance of your own decisions that make this creative strategy work. It carves out a little section of our minds to make us believe we aren’t susceptible to following food trends like everyone else, and we should just choose the food that makes us happy.

“The question is, does the film separate Hungry Jacks from its competitors? The film just makes me want a old school burger, not specifically a Hungry Jacks burger. However, by positioning Hungry Jacks as not taking itself too seriously it puts the brand into a great space to continue to talk to customers in the future.

“In terms of whether audiences need to get the direct reference to The Matrix, I don’t feel it’s that vital for enticing viewers. The film is a great story, the art direction and casting really bring it to life, with the visuals and pace of the edit keeping audiences entertained right to the end. The big question of will it sell more burgers? Yes, more burgers, but more Hungry Jacks burgers, we will see.”

Hamer says:

“‘Keeping it Real’ is a great brand positioning for Hungry Jacks. It makes a simple connection to real food; the audience can understand the messaging and direct correlation to real burgers. The creative strategy follows the consumer trend of desiring better food quality and with the Australian audience more well versed in product knowledge than before I think it’s a good long-term strategy.

“However, this advert almost goes against ‘Keeping it real’ as an ideology. It is a fast-paced action adventure that couldn’t be further away from ‘real’. For me I feel they missed the opportunity to be more authentic with their brand positioning.

“I’m not sure if the humour held my attention or made me feel slightly alienated. The topic of ‘being real’ certainly resonates but does it need to be done at the expense of health- conscious hipsters. Ok – so the burger phone did make me smile but the advert didn’t make me want to buy a burger. The entertainment doesn’t lead to purchase as it doesn’t make me hungry.

“So, whenever I’m over the kale it’s a burger for me, but not a Hungry Jacks because they just made fun of my world.”

Brand: Virgin Mobile/Betoota Adovacate
Agency: Eleven, Emotive, TBWA, UM and WiTH Collective
The verdict: A fantastic creative strategy but the advertising and entertainment was unbalanced

Virgin Mobile and The Betoota Advocate partnered to create a mockumentary video which investigates “Avo-Cates” and what their agenda is.

McLean says: 

“I really wanted to like this film, it had so many fantastic elements. In particular, the idea of salt of the earth farmers sticking up for the rights of young millennials in the big smoke. It’s a fantastic creative strategy, simultaneously making fun of millennial’s life struggles but also legitimising them.

“However, I found the balance of entertainment and advertising didn’t mesh the whole way through, the combination of wry comedy and direct references to the brand didn’t hit the right balance for me. It’s tough to get the right mix, I almost feel the film would have been stronger if the references to Virgin were removed from the main body of the film and added as end boards with voice over. This would allow the fun of the Avo-caters to stand on its own before getting to the brand message. The direct references remove you from the storytelling and you realise you are watching an ad. Although I did love old mate braking down the features of the plan.

“This is the tricky part with brands making entertainment, the balance of engaging storytelling with the brand messaging. Storytelling is generally more effective when telling a brand story rather than a direct offer when you need to get a lot of detail across.

“Yet having aired my thoughts, I think this is exactly the type of work we should attempt making. It may not be perfect, but it brought a smile to my face and that can be just as important.”

Hamer says:

“The Virgin Mobile and The Betoota Advocate partnership is a smart move for the brand. It gives access to a target audience who have brought into the attitude of Betoota Advocate and want to hear their humoristic news. The audience is engaged, wants content of this nature and in the mind-set of young internet savvy Aussie they understand when brands step in and out of content creation.

“The work has been made around a relevant conversation, of avocado-munching- millennials, which makes it timely. The wider campaign of ‘avo-cating’ gives the campaign a broader conversation with its audience and allows for more content to be created and shared. The tone of the campaign is right for the audience and the agencies have carried it across the media channels well.

“In terms of balancing entertainment and information in the content film I feel it’s pretty busy. You’ve got the ‘Avo-Cates’ story, a hundred avo puns, the farmers champion millennials lifestyles, a few more puns and then the added element of a FairData deal, all mashed into one story. I’d have loved seeing the client take their time in this partnership and create multiple films which balanced the product information with stories rather than putting it all into one piece.

“The partnership delivers a value which maybe greater to the brand than the Betoota Advocate itself but for me it is a smart partnership that just needs to be a bit more generous with its messaging.”

Brand: Healthy Care
The verdict: They got it wrong and made Kerri-Anne Kennerley something she is not

Starring Australian television personality Kerri-Anne Kennerley singing and dancing, the Healthy Care ad promotes the brands vitamin’s in the musical campaign.

McLean says:

“This is a blistering energetic piece of optimism, all sunshine and smiles. Like an over enthusiastic promoter for a gym snapping you out of your commuting malaise.

“It’s hard to imagine what this piece would be like without Kerri Anne Kennerley, and that’s the old rule for picking a best actor at the Oscars, can you imagine anyone else playing the role? So, in this case Kerri-Anne is a perfect fit as celebrity endorsement for Healthy Care.

“It’s actually the film itself that delivers here. In less capable hands the film could have felt like a yoga demonstration on mid-morning TV rather than a contemporary big budget Broadway show. The pace of the edit, the wonderful array of cast, all the interesting angles and Kerri Anne’s enjoyable performance all combine to deliver 30 seconds of sunshine. The strategy of connecting to youthful energy comes through loud and clear.

“As much as I loved the first watch through of the 30 second (I found the 45 dragged a little and didn’t add anything more), I do worry that repeat viewings may turn into a form of torture. The poor film editor is probably still humming the song when they wake up every morning.”

Hamer says:

“I have to say I think they got it wrong. The use of a strong ambassador, such as Kerri-Anne Kennerley, means you should work with her and her values to create a relevant campaign for the brand. Kerri-Anne Kennerley is a credible and respected woman who has a powerful personal story and career; why did they make her something she’s not. Recently scrutinized in the news for her ‘natural self’ you would have through this a perfect brand alignment with a health care product. The ambassador holds a lot of strength in her celebration of age and style which they could have transformed into something more emotional and powerful.

Yes, it’s okay for adverts to be fun and light, but just feels naff. They’re diminishing this ambassador instead of showcasing her class and strength. If she’d physically taught the Zumba class – even that would have been less phony.”

  • 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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