Campaign Review: The verdict on Sportsbet, Aldi, Schmackos, and Ben and Jerry’s

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: Burd's founder and creative director Kimmie Neidhardt and The Works' head of strategy Adam Donnelley.

Brand: Aldi
Agency: BMF
The verdict: ‘Perfectly imperfect’ and ‘unexpected’

Aldi’s latest campaign features a woman twirling as she grabs a shopping trolley and dances in a car park, revealing Aldi’s new brand positioning, ‘Good Different’.

Kimmie Neidhardt, founder and creative director, Burd says:

Neidhardt said: “It’s real, uncontrived, unexpected and fun”

“How do I love this campaign? Let me count the ways.

I love the tagline. It’s real, uncontrived, unexpected and fun. In fact, it’s so real that I almost can’t imagine an agency person coming up with it. It sounds like something someone in a research group would blurt out without realising they’ve just cracked the next big brand campaign.

I love the direction. I’m a pretty big fan of Steve Ayson and you can really see his beautiful quirkiness coming to life in this spot.

I love the talent. Steve’s also a stickler for finding the perfect talent and this trolley-dancer is the perfect mix of beige German on a mission and Jennifer Grey circa 1987.

I love how it’s evolving. The brand campaign is wonderful – and the ‘pasta’ ad that followed is pretty special, too.

I love that Aldi has the guts to own what makes them different – and to create some of the best retail work in the country.

Veuve Monsigny for all involved! You’ve earned it.”

Adam Donnelley, head of strategy at The Works and IAA Australia says:

Donnelly said the ad was “perfectly imperfect”

“What is not to like here? Quirky, nicely shot and a brand positioning that nails why Australians are flocking to Aldi.

Aldi’s own brand of ‘Good Different’ is resonating with consumers. The spot is perfectly imperfect, from the jolting vocal track to the beautiful moment where our heroine fights to get her coin back. These little touches that underpin the audience insight that money matters to Aldi customers was deftly executed.

I loved that they didn’t cram anything ‘extra’ in. Hats off to the agency and the client for keeping it clean. Good Different indeed.”

Brand: Schmackos
Agency: DDB Melbourne
What they said: Weird for the sake of being weird 

Shmackos released its first TV campaign in two years, which features a man – dressed as a dog – and his dog, dancing around an all red room.

Neidhardt says:

“The most intelligent dog breed in the universe and a bottomless bag of Schmackos for incentive – this ad has all the ingredients for brilliance, entertainment value and shareability.

But it just left me feeling a bit dirty (and not in a good way).

This TVC was created to convey a dog owners’ joy at giving his dog a tasty treat.

But I don’t get ‘joy’ out of this ad. I get weirdness. And not strategic weirdness either. Just weirdness for the sake of it, which pisses me off because, being a massive dog lover, I would love to work on a brief like this!

Which brings me to an important point – I think this ad has missed one very important insight about dog lovers: they love dogs. And they don’t want a greasy, balding, overweight guy in a cheap dog costume to distract them while they’re trying to watch a dog doing cool shit on TV.

Maybe they should have cast a kid instead of a serial killer and told a story about how they’d been practicing their dance routine in the garage for eight months? Then at least it would celebrate the bond between people and their dogs, which would then tie back to the joy we feel when we give our dog a treat.

Or if they had updated the tagline to capture the joy we feel when our dogs ‘Go whacko for Schmackos’, maybe then I could try to convince myself that the weird guy in the suit is, in fact, experiencing ‘joy’.

Nice use of the brand colour.”

Donnelly says:

“As the proud parent of two fur babies I have been known to indulge my dogs with a few Smackos – whilst these treats have the consistency of boiled leather, I had it drummed into me that dogs do go wacko for Smackos. Add to cart.

So beginning at the end, it was pleasing to see they have resisted the temptation to mess with such a powerful piece of audio branding.

As for the rest of the execution? It felt like the strategy was ‘Be a little wacko.’ On this basis they succeed. Enter a giant furry, (do yourself a favour and don’t Google this topic) who does a dance off with his dog. Weird, yes. Compelling, no. From start to finish this spot tries hard. I would have loved to have seen evidence of real insights being leveraged. Dog owners are as wacko about spoiling their dogs as their pets are about receiving treats. This is rich creative territory.

The YouTube extension with anthropomorphised dogs gets half-way there and made me smile. Some clever copy and dog POV insights.

I’d give the dog a pat, but no treat this time.”

Brand: Sportsbet
Agency: BMF
What they said: Sportsbet was spot on with its humour but makes you ‘throw up in your mouth a little’. 

The “Putting the ‘roid in Android” campaign uses one of the world’s most infamous sports cheat, sprinter Ben Johnson, who had his 1988 Olympic gold medal taken off him for doping.

Neidhardt says:

“Fact: Steroid use makes your testicles shrink.

Fact: Ben Johnson used steroids.

Fact: Ben Johnson’s balls are (and always will be) roughly the size of grapes.

But he’s got big ones for agreeing to do this job!

As do the agency and the client. In fact, for the category leader to do such ballsy work instead of just relishing their superiority is pretty impressive.

When I think of Sportsbet HQ, I just imagine a whole bunch of cowboys, drinking whiskey out of tea cups and saying “Fuck it, let’s do it!” – no matter what the agency comes up with.

And the best part is, it’s obviously working for them.

I’m sure that using a drug cheat in this ad got them a tonne of earned media and that blokes all over the country had a good yarn about it at smoko.

This ad makes it almost impossible not to know that Sportsbet is now available on Android. And it’s definitely done its job from a branding perspective.

Do I like it? No.

I can’t stand that screaming, ocker voiceover and some of the gags make me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Must be my lack of balls.”

Donnelly says:

“Advertisers need to fight to get noticed. Heroing Ben Johnson was always going to do that. This ad clearly pitches itself to the lads who like a bet. In this sense the humour is spot on. No doubt they anticipated the backlash that would arise from promoting doping.

You can almost hear the conversation selling this in: “It’s clearly a joke, we are using humour to land the point that Sportsbet have turbo charged their app”.

Tick. So far, so good. But clients and agencies also have to make sure their brands get noticed for the right reasons.

What this ad misses is Aussies do pride themselves on having clean athletes (recreational NRL drug use aside.) Betting is also the new tobacco – so why risk sticking your head up to get knocked off?

Unfortunately this spot fails on these fronts. The ad has been pulled and just like Ben Johnson, the client has only been able to celebrate for a metaphorical 48 hours.

In the end, nobody remembers who came second. Especially if the spot can’t run.”

Brand: Ben & Jerry’s
Agency: In-house
What they said: It misses the ‘feels’ of ANZ’s Hold Tight and leaves you wanting 

Neidhardt says:

“I’m a huge fan of any brand that tackles inequality – marriage, racial, gender or otherwise. ‘Yay’ to Ben and Jerry’s for doing so much of this kind of work!

And I dig forcing everyday Australians to experience what its like when some random forbids you to do something that you really want to do. In this case, buy two scoops of the same ice-cream flavour (although, who in the world does that!?)

But I’m kind of left wanting.

Why didn’t they give this idea a bit more love? They could have taken their stance on marriage equality out of the store and onto ice cream cups or napkins, invariably turning every customer into a walking billboard.

Do they really think that sticky hate mail from perturbed ice-cream lovers will make the guys in Canberra hurry up and change their minds?

Probably not.

But at least they’re making a statement (however small) – and that’s better than crying into your tub of Phish Food.”

Donnelly says:

“Ben & Jerry’s have a long pedigree of cause-related work and a strong stance on marriage equality. So could they tackle this issue? Absolutely. They are demonstrating that brands can and should be willing to join in the conversation on an issue that matters to them and, thankfully, increasingly most Australians.

Whilst executionally this might miss the feels of ANZ’s ‘Hold Tight’ campaign it definitely has drawn attention to this issue. In this sense, the strategy has succeeded. It would have been even better if they could have cut through creatively. Perhaps this is something they can build on.”

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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