Campaign Review: Why Rugby AU needs to do more, Fantastic Furniture needs a better idea and VicHealth relies on formula

Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Spinach Advertising's, Jacqui Paterson and JWT's head of strategy, Carly Yanco offer their views on VicHealth's 'This Girl Can' campaign, Mercedes-Benz's risky strategy, Rugby AU's improvement and Fantastic Furniture's forgettable creative.

Brand: Vic Health
Agency: The Shannon Company
The Verdict: Communicates a good message but fails to be different or recognisable enough

Jacqui Paterson, senior creative, Spinach Advertising, says:

Paterson says VicHealth could have built more on the momentum of the UK campaign

“As a woman and mother of a teenage daughter, I’m a big fan of any campaign that motivates and empowers women. When the original, world-renowned ‘This Girl Can’ campaign launched in 2015, it was a breath of fresh air. A mix of raw and sweaty, jiggly and toned women, of all ages, move freely across our screens without fear or prejudice.

“This Vic Health version uses the same, tested formula. It’s a shame that Vic Heath didn’t build on the momentum of the UK ‘Girl Can’ campaign with a fresh new take unique to Victoria.”

Rating: 6/10

Carly Yanco, head of strategy, JWT, says:

Yanco says the ad started to feel “all too familiar”

“We’ve got to take it as a sign of progress when female empowerment spots are starting to feel all too familiar. It doesn’t help that this one so closely mimics the UK version, but I’m not sure that matters one bit. As an industry we’re more than familiar with the infamy of This Girl Can, but I doubt it’s penetrated state-wide in Victoria.

“There are two key differences that stand out between the UK and VicHealth versions – the music and the removal of the UK’s judgement-free supers. VicHealth’s track is less recognisable than the UK’s use of Missy Elliott’s energising ‘Get Your Freak On’, however it communicates a great message instead – you’re busy, but you can still be active.

“Perhaps it’s Vic Health’s intention to direct our attention to the music’s message and that’s why they’ve removed the supers, though they did serve as useful punctuation. Without them I’m more aware that I’m watching a montage and less aware that Vic Health is advocating for women to exercise fearlessly in the face of judgement.”

Rating: 8/10

Brand: Mercedes-Benz
Agency: The Royals
The Verdict: An intersecting strategy but doesn’t nail its audience

Paterson says:

“Speaking to traditional ute drivers in a non-traditional way is an interesting strategy and a fresh approach for the category. Creating a doco that challenges outdated stereotypes of what it means to be ‘tough’ is a nice fit and an important discussion to have. Henry Rollins is a legend, and super engaging, however, I’m not entirely convinced he is right for this target market.

“Will ute lovers engage with this type of meaningful content and be motivated to change their perceptions and behaviour? I’m on the fence.”

Rating: 7.5/10

Yanco says:

“‘Tough Conversations’ is wonderfully on strategy for the new X-Class in that it aims to tackle Mercedes’ ‘too pretty to be tough’ perceptions in the ute category. Admittedly I needed to Google who Henry Rollins was for this, but he appears to be fitting talent and the conversations we see via his tour of Australia are timely and necessary in today’s culture. There’s no question it’s interesting and worth the watch.

“However, speaking of tough conversations, I think we need to have one about the resulting sales of this campaign. These are brand spots and if their only job is to reposition the Mercedes’ brand in the ute consumer’s mind then they’re more than up to the task, but we never see the dots connect between the image of today’s toughness and the X-Class itself. What makes its toughness right for the ute driver of today? Are we using the concept’s metaphor to say that toughness looks different today than it did before…so we don’t need big obnoxious bull bars for front of car protection? Or are we saying that toughness is about new things today like vulnerability in which case I’m missing the link back to product?

“The campaign tells us that Mercedes stands for more than stereotypical toughness, but not how the X-Class does. Perhaps other elements of this campaign help to follow through on the premise but without those I doubt we’ll see as big a leap in product consideration as we could have from this work.”

Ratings: 8/10

Brand: Rugby AU
Agency: Digilante
The Verdict: An earnest campaign which isn’t dissimilar to AFL and NRL campaigns

Paterson says:

“I predicted that this Rugby ad would be packed full of hardcore sports images cut to a pumping music track. I was surprised that the Rugby Part of More campaign changed tack to other sporting campaigns such as NRL and AFL. It’s quiet, emotional and somewhat earnest. Rugby is a sport and sport should be fun, so I was left wondering if the same stories and message could have been communicated in a more uplifting, light-hearted way.”

Rating: 7/10

Yanco says:

“Of all the codes Rugby Australia probably has the furthest to come in its progression toward today’s culture of inclusivity and diversity. Despite that large leap, this piece feels genuine and it does make me believe that Rugby Australia shares in modern values.

“Interestingly, while a sense of progress is core to the concept, the piece actually takes us back to what sports was always supposed to be about. Sports are supposed to provide unity, equalise across backgrounds, build a sense of camaraderie and be a support system beyond friends and family. It’s lovely to see how these traits are framed up in terms of today’s cultural agenda; breaking down bigger racial and gender barriers instead of just those between neighbourhoods and openly discussing the positive impact on mental health instead of leaving it as a quiet byproduct.

“Australian sports have been letting communities down of late with even the usually impervious ‘Gentlemen’s Game’ of cricket under fire. It’s the perfect time to try to let go of the code’s baggage and the existence of this campaign alone is a promising start, but Rugby Australia will have to do more than remove ‘union’ from its name and say what they’re about these days to truly do that.”

Rating: 7/10

Brand: Fantastic Furniture
Agency: Infinity Squared
The Verdict: An unclear strategy which lacks emotional connection

Paterson says:

“I do like the new Find Your Fantastic as a brand positioning. I also like that they have repositioned themselves to emotionally connect with customers, rather than fight on price. Find your Fantastic has the potential to roll out a series of emotional ads that tell the stories behind the purchase. It might have been more fun to kick off the launch with a more entertaining/funny ‘Find your Fantastic’ story rather than this quaint modern family spot.”

Rating: 6/10

Yanco says:

“There’s a lot to like plot-wise with a modern-day Brady Bunch coming together in a new home, but I’m not clear on the strategy behind this piece. The closest I could get to a consumer outtake was that Fantastic Furniture offers ‘something for everyone when they’re making a house a home’, which is all well and good but it’s not really a path to emotional connection or distinctive creative. In a category where IKEA is asking pregnant women to pee on print ads for a discount on their cot, Fantastic Furniture is going to need to do a lot more to stick in people’s minds.

“The script for the ad very well could have been the agency brief – it starts by laying out the needstate (the family is expanding), the truth (people buy furniture at key life milestones), then tells us how the product will address the need (a bigger couch) followed by the ‘what we stand for’ section (we believe little things – like rattan picture frames showing a family lives here – help to make the house a home). The result is a spot that, much like a brief, lacks an idea and therefore the creative punch required to deliver the emotional connection Fantastic Furniture were aiming for.”

Rating: 5.5/10

  • 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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