Campaign Review: The verdict on XXXX Gold’s cricket hats and the Bondi Hipsters’ trip to Portland

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: Jacqueline Witts, head of strategy at AJF Partnership, and Matt Gilmour, executive creative director at Archibald/Williams.

Brand: XXXX Gold
Agency: Host/Havas
The Verdict: The idea behind the campaign is “far-fetched”

XXXX Gold launched a Goldie tech enabled hat to reward Australians for having a beer with friends throughout the Summer cricket season. To add to its campaign, the company created a television commercial featuring four friends in the bathroom together wearing their XXXX Gold hats shaving, bathing and going to the toilet.

Jacqueline Witts, head of strategy at AJF Partnership, says:

Witts says succesful brands move away from complex messaging to simple ones

“Beer marketers have been looking for a follow up to the massively successful Boony Doll for years. Have they come up with the answer with the Goldie Hat? Maybe. We all know there’s nothing more social than having a beer with your mates and if you get into the spirit of the campaign you get to win prizes, too. Beer and sociability is the strategy equivalent of a wink and a smile. They fit together perfectly but you’ve seen it a million times before. So how to make it different?

“Credit to XXXX, they get cricket legend Adam Gilchrist to spell it out and make guys want to be in it all through the summer of cricket. Yes, it’s a complicated mechanic: to activate the hat there are seven steps listed on the website, including downloading an app, filling in all your details and payment information and remembering to pair your Goldie hat with your app when it arrives.

“How did beer drinking become so high maintenance? But it is an interesting and different way to mix the desire to have a beer with mates and a promotional mechanic and I am curious to see how the beacon-enabled caps perform. The consumer is being asked to do a lot and it will be interesting to see if enough mates get together to make it work through summer.”

Matt Gilmour, executive creative director, Archibald/Williams, says:

Gimour says the campaign helps the brand “hang around” the lives of its customers

“I actually quite like a free hat. It’s a simple way for brands to hang around the lives of their customers for a bit longer than usual. My Bundaberg Rum bucket hat from 2002 plays a very active role in my daughter’s teddy bear tea parties. But I think ‘a free hat’ may be as far as this promo will go. The assumption that XXXX Gold drinkers will go through all the ‘simple’ ball-ache of connecting these things together with (a minimum of three) mates so that then they can check an app to see if they’ve won something, seems a bit far-fetched. I don’t think even a prostate exam gag can save this one.”

Brand: Visit Melbourne
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
The Verdict: A “beautiful” campaign

In its first campaign in six years, Visit Melbourne launched ‘A Twist at Every Turn’, promoting the different ‘personas’ of Melbourne.

Witts says:

“Melbourne has always been seen by interstaters as that hidden city you’d need to explore with the help of a local. This is a beautiful campaign that captivates and entertains while tantalising you with the different sides of Melbourne. Melbourne isn’t a city that relies on one thing. It’s not all about sport, or beaches, or churches. Rather it is a mix of experiences, entertainment and subcultures that makes it such a wonderful place to visit.

“The production and performances do an incredible job of bringing the perception of Melbourne as a creative and diverse place to life. We’re never going to be a destination that sells itself on scenery, what Melbourne excels at comes from within and takes discovery.

“This campaign tells people that Melbourne has “got it all” and if you want to dig deeper, and the digital platform gives you the opportunity to do just that.”

Gilmour says:

“Welcome back, Visit Melbourne. I have loved some of the work this client has made in the past, and this film is as big and sexy as they’ve ever done. I really like the tagline, it makes the Melbourne experience seem almost unplannable, if that’s even a word. But I must admit when I first saw this campaign, I was sitting in my car at a set of traffic lights staring at one of these billboards, and I didn’t get it. I totally missed the same group of people in different situations thing. I actually thought it was boring – I wish I had seen the film first.

“The digital platform is really slick and feels deep with interesting stuff but I’m kind of left wanting my experience of Melbourne to be more unplannable like the film, rather than directed. But for a big tourism campaign I think this stands up really well in a category that pretty much always feels cliché.”

Brand: Pernod Ricard
Agency: Society Social
The Verdict: The campaign is significantly “overwritten” but the execution is very “sexy”

Launching into the Australian market, Pernot Ricard’s wine label I Am George created a series of short films based on the 1834 diary of its founder George Wyndham.

Witts says:

“George Wyndham’s diaries provide the platform for a poetic reading of what it takes to wrench great wines out of the stubborn earth. The images are strong and the words let you know that this is an aspirational wine.

“But I’m not sure if you get the central message of the George Wyndham heritage from these ads alone. If the campaign reaches across other media to fill in the gaps and tell the stories of what makes the wines so good, then it could certainly establish the I Am George range as a premium wine worth buying.

“But I’d want to know that Wyndham are delivering the real thing here. Have they created a range of wines that genuinely lives up to that heritage (as Penfold’s are doing with their ‘Max’s’ wines inspired by the legendary Max Schubert)? It’s a big ask, but this campaign is a bold effort by Wyndham to convince us they have done just that.”

Gimour says:

“This is some sexy, sexy film. Very, very sexy and it’s a nice idea to bring to life the history of the brand to set it apart from the flood of wine brands that fill the shelves at Dan Murphy’s. I love the modern take on the visuals, the choice to use modern looking talent, not trying to be ‘of the time’ really works. And did I mention sexy, very sexy. But I think it’s overwritten, by a lot. The story of George could’ve been told more simply and made it easier to follow.

“What I do like about this idea is that it’s true to how the brand talks as a whole. When you see this wine in store, the epic story of George is used at point of sale, which is a lot more than a lot of brands do. I’d like to see them carry on with this thought as I think it’s got legs but maybe it just needs to be a bit less worthy.”

Brand: Portland Tourism
Agency: Go Collaborate
The Verdict: It doesn’t give Australians an incentive to travel to Portland

Witts says:

“It’s not news to say that the US has an image problem. Donald Trump’s presidency, the ongoing problems of mass shootings, police brutality, the list goes on. There’s an official name for the effect this is having on tourism. It’s called the “Trump Slump”.

“People don’t feel excited about visiting a country that feels so out of step with the rest of the world and has a lack of alignment with our own values. Traditional destinations within the US like New York, Las Vegas and LA now feel a bit daunting and scary. But visiting the US has historically been a favourite for Australian visitors and I like this strategy for Portland. It’s an opportunity for a town that feels removed from the madness of the rest of the US to capitalise on this predisposition to draw people in.

“Why use the Bondi Hipsters? Apart from being wildly popular and holding appeal as influencers, they also tell travellers that it’s a place for “people like us”. You can find the things that interest you in Portland. You’ll get the experience of going to the US without encountering Trump-like attitudes. It’s a brilliant time for Portland to step out of the wings, dispersing with the “gun toting” American image and offering something completely different.

“But what of the things that Portland has to offer that you can’t get in Bondi? Where’s the incentive to travel halfway around the world to experience something I can get on my own doorstep? In taking a different approach to pulling tourists in, we’ve lost some of the sides of Portland that are truly spectacular. It is a physically beautiful place from both a natural aspect and the distinctive architecture of the town.

“Whilst I can see that the approach here deliberately breaks with convention of tourism advertising in not just showing the physical beauty of a place, it could have provided a more beautiful backdrop.”

Gilmour says:

“I think this is funny and I don’t even live in Bondi. Taking Aussie Hipsters to the home of US hipsters isn’t a massive integrated advertising idea but as an influencer campaign, I think it works. The audience for Bondi Hipsters will get it, and they’ll be able to swallow the sales pitch because it takes the piss. With the right media strategy getting these films in front of the right people, it’ll do a good job of stealing travellers from Abbot Kinney to Portland I reckon. If there’s a problem with it, it’s that the talent is so polarizing it may make some people think that Portland is actually for wankers.”

  • 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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