Campaign Review: Westpac’s ineffective advertising and Vegemite’s culturally relevant ad

Mumbrella invites the industry’s most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: Naked Communications' head of strategy, Lucielle Vardy and Henry Innis, Y&R's engagement strategy director, give their views on Vegemite's clean and simple ad, Westpac's missing product link, Bonds' strategic ad and Lynx's flawed execution.

Brand: Vegemite
Agency: Thinkerbell
The Verdict: Exciting and enduring ad but was a bit light on creativity

Lucielle Vardy, head of strategy at Naked Communications, says:

Vardy says the platform is ‘exciting and enduring’

“‘Tastes like Australia’ feels like a story that belongs to Vegemite, and that if told well, will always be in fashion. I think the new platform is exciting and enduring. It’s smart to have weaved in all the ways Vegemite is consumed as the audience feasts on all the micro stories that the nation knows well.

“I get that Pauline Hanson is accelerator for cultural conversation, but was she worth the negative backlash? From a creative perspective, there are clearly numerous fun moments and messages for people to connect to, but I think they’re a little light on. There are some delicate and highly distinctive nuances in our humour and culture that could be owned by Vegemite on a much deeper level. Presently, this feels more transient- perhaps there’s more on the way. Lots of fun though.”

Rating: 7/10

Henry Innis, engagement strategy director at Y&R, says:

Innis says the line was good but the 60 second ad wasn’t necessary

“You know what’s underrated? Jingles. Everyone bloody remembers the thing, and this ad has stuck in my head because of that. Once again Thinkerbell delivers clean, simple ads that tell a great product story. I’ve been a fan of these guys for a while and think they produce clean ads well that amplify a product benefit, bring in relevant cultural cues to make it clear/easy to understand.

“Thought the line was good, but wasn’t sure they needed a 60 second version of this (only criticism). Overall, a cracking ad.”

Rating: 8/10

Brand: Westpac
Agency: DDB
The Verdict: A great story without a strong product link

Vardy says:

“This reminds me of the brave, epic TVCs we used to make in the ’90s. It’s refreshing to see a deliberate investment in big brand again. The first ‘Help’ execution launched by Westpac was crafted beautifully, and strategically tapped into a deep cultural value.

“This execution, although once again beautifully shot and relevant to the new platform, feels less memorable than the first and Westpac seems to play a smaller role. I would make it my challenge to bring the brand and the stories close together going forward.”

Rating: 8/10

Innis says:

“Controversial answer I know. But I really felt you could have swapped this out with any brand and had this work equally well. Was it a great story? Yes. But it would have been nicer to see it in Tropfest. As an ad, I’m not sure it lent the brand any distinction, nor do I think it elevated the product effectively. A great story without a strong link to product never makes for effective advertising.”

Rating: 3/10

Brand: Bonds
Agency: Leo Burnett
The Verdict: An ad with attitude, strategy and storytelling

Verdy says:

“Amazonian jungle women and outback catwalks are certain to reshape Bonds. I believe the ‘Queendom’ theme in this piece delivers for a youth culture that demands high entertainment value in video content. Is it delivering on another aspect that determines how they filter content – that of authenticity? I’m not sure. Portraying women as fearless and conquering the jungle, Arachnida-friendly and all, may be pushing a little too hard on the clichés to prove a point.

“I like that Bonds has been brave enough to venture into long form video. The challenge for them is to create a long-term view on the stories they are starting to create in the Queendom and outback films so young women care for ongoing engagement. If not, there’s a large and infinite graveyard of content online that, whilst brilliantly entertaining, has no long-term effect on brand.”

Rating: 6/10

Innis says:

“The Cooper Pedy ad before this stunk is where this ad shines. What I love is it has attitude, and strategically does a great job of telling a story about the product. Above all, it didn’t feel forced. I can’t help but think though this ad is has opportunity for a social and platform play — so they’ll need to follow it up strongly, or all that effort will have gone to waste. But great opportunity and insight, so I hope they build something great.”

Rating: 9/10

Brand: Lynx
Agency: Emotive
The Verdict: Great ad but flawed execution

Verdy could not comment on the ad due to conflict.

Innis says:

“I wasn’t sold by this, but judging by the comments across YouTube and the reach Emotive seem to have done a good job. Product features heavily and in a funny way, and given the male audience (men are always a bit disarmed by humour and tend to like relatable main characters) I suspect it will help them to sell product.

“But I can’t help but feel this is also content for content’s sake length wise. Why does an ad need 2:32 to make a funny story like that? Could it have been done better (and with more impact) spaced over a series (a la Rhonda/Ketut)? And some of the humour… you did feel it was clichéd rather than playing to a smart stereotype.

“Overall great ad, but slightly flawed execution.”

Rating: 6/10

  • 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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