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Campaign Review: The verdict on Qantas, AGL, Greenpeace and Full Stop Foundation

In a new series, Mumbrella invites the industry's most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest marketing campaigns. This week: Myer@Clemenger's executive creative director Helen James and Saatchi and Saatchi Melbourne's managing partner and director of strategy Alex Speakman.

Brand: Qantas
Agency: The Monkeys:
The verdict:
 ‘A nice evolution’ but a missed opportunity for the ‘Dreamliner’ launch

Qantas’ latest piece of work, inspired by and paying tribute to Neil Lawrence, aims to capture feelings of family and homecoming.

Helen James, executive creative director at Myer@Clemenger:

James: ‘Still pulls heart strings’

“As a Brit whose parents lived in the UK until recently I can whole-heartedly relate to this spot. In fact it bought a lump to my throat, not only because of the subject matter but also the memory it brings of its original creator Neil Lawrence.

The evolution of ‘Feels like Home’ both as a track and a campaign stills pulls heart strings. I thought the previous campaign to this didn’t do as good a job but this certainly works for me.

However, I didn’t get from it that you can now fly direct from Perth to London non-stop which I think is a missed point.

The moment where the family are on the plane dived a little for me, as the majority of families doing this trip would certainly not be flying business class, neither would they arrive feeling relaxed and stress-free after travelling 17 hours non-stop with two small children.

However, this is ad-land and I get that. It’s just un-realistic.

Overall, a nice evolution to the campaign and one I believe Neil would have been proud of.”

Alex Speakman, managing partner and director of strategy, Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne:

Speakman: ‘As a tribute and next evolution of an existing idea it does a decent job’

“It’s always a tough brief when you’re asked to create the ‘next chapter’ of an idea that already exists… there’s always a balance to get right between how much to change, what to keep, and what piece of magic you need to make the new version cut-through.

Which is part of the reason why I’m torn with this campaign.

As a tribute and next evolution of an existing idea it does a decent job. The campaign builds on the memory structures of past campaigns, and taps into a real truth about what it feels like to fly Qantas. Its use of real people (and therefore real stories) makes it impactful too.

Ultimately, ‘brand building’ emotive stories are an important part of building brand loyalty, not just brand preference. So there is a role for this campaign as a brand campaign.

But the reason why I’m torn with this campaign is that part of me sees it as a major missed opportunity as a ‘launch’ vehicle for the new Dreamliner – which I think IS part of the story here, even if it feels secondary. It tells me nothing about the benefits of the new plane, or even of the benefits of a direct Perth to London route.

So, whilst it helps reinforce core brand memory structures and build a brand story, it doesn’t overtly offer up something new/a piece of magic to make it stand out from the work a few years ago.

It works fine as a pure brand campaign, but if it is also meant to be a launch campaign for the new Dreamliner and the Perth to London route, it doesn’t hit the brief. I would argue the ‘new news’ deserved it’s own campaign that focused more overtly on the benefits of the Dreamliner & Perth to London route.”

Brand: AGL
Agency: McCann Melbourne
What they said: ‘Solid strategy but needs ‘braver execution’

As part of its brand refresh, AGL launched a new campaign focused on sustainable energy supply.

James says:

“The strategy here is solid, pledging to end AGL’s reliance on coal, who can argue with that?

However, if as the article alludes, AGL is the most progressive energy provider with a unique and what sounds like really useful app, I’d liked to have seen the message delivered in a braver execution.

I’d point to ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ as an example of what I mean. A serious message delivered in a unique creative execution that made people listen.

AGL are taking their social and global responsibility seriously which is what we all want to hear, I hope that message doesn’t get lost.”

Speakman says:

“Brands or products with the problem of being ‘commoditised’ face serious challenges. How do you get people to choose or even have a preference when there is little to choose from beyond price?

In this campaign AGL genuinely are trying to provide consumers with a reason to choose with a sustainability promise and movement away from coal.

Personally, the fact that AGL are even trying to make a point of difference is commendable, and the right thing to do. But I wonder whether the point of difference they’re leaning into is the one that will drive customer growth.

It’s highly likely consumers aren’t as cynical as I am: but when the campaign talks to ‘starting in 2022 and ending in 2050’ I immediately disconnect. It feels intangible because it suddenly makes it a statement of intent, rather than tangible action. It ‘talks’ about being different but it doesn’t provide me with the action and proof that makes me want to buy in.

At a time when consumers (I’m guessing) are more concerned about pricing, or the confusion of discounts, or the number of sales calls they get from energy companies… is sustainability the thing that’s going to draw me in to the brand?

It’s a tough one. I commend that AGL are trying to make sustainability the focal point… but I wonder whether it’s going to help drive growth in new customers for them.

But should the switch away from coal’ become a long-term campaign, with tangible proof of action, with clear benefits to the consumer, and this ‘action’ starts to be more tangible right now… it could work. I’d at least be interested in hearing more.”

Brand: Greenpeace
Agency: Ogilvy
The verdict: ‘Does its job for those who interact’

Greenpeace’s out-of-home execution, which was made to raise awareness on climate change, showcased a polar bear sitting on top of a melting iceberg, asking passers-by to agree to take action.

James says:

“Macro brief. Micro medium.

As an awareness piece I think this installation does its job for those who interact with it. It will evoke natural curiosity and has the element of playfulness which encourages participation.

On such a global issue though I feel as though the placement of this is too limiting. If the idea was executed through Facebook or Instagram they’d have reached a far wider audience who have a propensity to ‘play’.

The creative strategy of audience participation is a great way to get people doing something about climate change and I’ll be keen to see where they take this in further executions.”

Speakman says:

“When you’re faced with the challenge of trying to drive behavioural change, and you’ve got a severely limited budget, ideas needs to both genuinely disrupt and travel easily (be shared and passed on) in order to grab a greater share of ‘free’ media.

Whilst the Greenpeace idea has a clever mechanic (the more help you give the less it melts), I’m not sure if this is disruptive. It feels like it holds a mirror up to what’s happening – which most people know about and choose to ignore – rather than genuinely disrupt the message and force a reappraisal moment.

I’d be interested to understand how much further the idea ‘travelled’ beyond those that saw it in Pitt St. It doesn’t naturally jump out as something that would easily travel and be widely shared because it feels more like a one off stunt than a long-term campaign to drive action.

If the task was simply to attract passers by to sign up, it may have worked successfully. But if they were looking for an idea that ‘travelled’ and gained a wider share of earned media – if they were looking to get my attention – it would have needed to disrupt the message more.”

Brand: Full Stop Foundation
Agency: BMF
What they said: ‘A smart piece of work’ with execution and idea ‘so right’ 

The Full Stop Foundation is highlighting the varied ways domestic abuse can manifest beyond physical violence with a re-enacted phone call from a victim.

James says:

“This could have been an easy brief to get so wrong.

Finding the right balance between awareness and effectiveness is a challenge but this idea and execution seems to get it so right.

Listening to real-life experiences is always more compelling than other forms of story-telling and cleverly the agency has achieved this without showing disturbing scenes.

Whilst I’ve no doubt the video will do its job to make people act and donate, I question how many will share a photo of their hand with the hashtag #makeitstop written on their palms.

Overall, I think this campaign is effective, ethical and considerate to all audiences and kudos to BMF for doing it pro-bono. I’m off to pledge my $5.”

Speakman says:

“This is a smart piece of work: it certainly moved me when I watched it and I texted to donate on the spot, so as a test market of one person it was certainly effective.

It’s always a challenge to find a thought provoking way into the subject matter of domestic violence, even more so when the challenge is to focus on non-physical domestic violence, which people are less likely to have an understanding of or think about. When you’re talking to people that don’t have personal experience of domestic violence, how do you make the message relevant to them and compel them to stop & consider?

By flipping the focus onto everyday people that may not have experienced domestic violence personally, and then seeing their reactions to it, it gives real power both to the message being spoken and the impact it has on people.

Suddenly, it makes it relevant to me, because even if I can’t (rightly or wrongly) relate directly to a domestic violence victim, seeing others react to it brings it to life in a new way that I can relate to.

It creates a reappraisal moment that compels me to consider the issue… the ultimate goal. Ultimately it doesn’t rely on shock factor, yet it still shocks – a hard balance to get right.”

As told to Zoe Samios. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email zoe@mumbrella.com.au

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