Campaign Review: Why KFC needs to have more fun and Officeworks needs a rebrand

Mumbrella invites the industry’s most senior creatives and strategists to offer their views on the latest ad campaigns. This week: The Royals’ associate creative director, Iain MacMillan, and M&C Saatchi’s CCO Cam Blackley offer their views on KFC’s flat campaign, Samsung’s refreshing approach, Optus’ okay ad and Officeworks’ stale brand.

Brand: KFC
Agency: Ogilvy
The Verdict: The idea fell flat

Iain MacMillan, associate creative director, The Royals, says:

MacMillan says the ad “falls a bit flat”

“KFC is 50 years old. Wow. When it arrived on the scene, it was at a turning point for not only youth culture but pretty much everyone. As this ad demonstrates, at the time folk were rebelling against what their parents were doing to become carefree and liberated.

“And KFC, along with other brands at the time, was part of that change. So having that as a starting point for all that history is great. However, for me, this ad falls a bit flat.

“There are 50 years of pop culture that KFC was a part of – mostly by being eaten the next day to recover from the said pop culture – that they could’ve drawn from. It’s a nicely executed ad, and the casting is all good. It’s just that I was hoping for a bit more from the idea of celebrating 50 years. And who knows, this might be just the first of many ads showcasing turning points along KFC’s timeline. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Rating: 5/10

Cam Blackley, CCO, M&C Saatchi says: 

Blackley says the ad could have been more fun

“I think we are supposed to think the kid said ‘fuck it’ as he drops his knife and fork. I hope so, otherwise there’s nothing else to really latch onto. Anyway, I’m not sure that anyone would care that the first KFC buckets appeared in 1968 as the alternative to a home-cooked, likely organic, locally sourced healthy meal. I just don’t get the strategy here.

“With a brief that is supposed to celebrate 50 years of ‘finger lickin’ good’ I think you could’ve had a whole lot more fun. I’m much more a fan of their ‘Shut up and take my money’ retail campaign. It’s cheeky and better taps into the consumer mindset.

“I give this four Zingers and a couple of chips.”

Brand: Samsung
Agency: Leo Burnett
The Verdict: A refreshing and brave approach

MacMillan says:

“To show an athlete this vulnerable is a nice change for brand sponsorship. We’re used to seeing them running, winning, training, being the best – F@#k Yeah! (beats chest triumphantly). We often forget that sports folk are actual people, just like us, with flaws and doubts regarding their own performance. And if we read what people say to them on social platforms, it can be truly mind-blowing – would you actually say that to their face? So admitting that mentally they were knackered and potentially could’ve let down not just their team, but their country as well, is brave. And for the brand showing it’s there to help athletes through the tough moments is a refreshing take on sponsorship.

“The one negative is the fact that the opening line is too similar to one used by another brand for a Super Bowl ad a couple of years ago. It could’ve been easily worded differently while still making the same point. However, would anyone other than ad people care? Probably not. So nice spot.

“Nice insight into sports folk and sponsorship. Would’ve scored higher had it not been for the line already used by another brand.”

Rating: 7/10

Blackley says: 

“A sponsorship ad that features a player that doesn’t get to the CommGames is a nice spin on a mandatory ‘must feature a player’ brief from the client.

“I feel a bit disconnected from the brand in this spot though, maybe it’s the tone of voice that just doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. ‘The ad I was supposed to make’ is perhaps a bit glum. I get that this is part of the ‘do what you can’t’ campaign but there’s not much resolution.

“Anyway, the client will be pleased there’s a tele, a pair of headphones (presses button with determination) and a Galaxy 8 in there 😉 Production values are good though, looks killer.”

Brand: Optus
Agency: 72ndSunny
The Verdict: It’s just okay

MacMillan says:

Optus had a roster shake-up recently and this is one of the early ads from the new agency. It’s OK. The execution isn’t really anything new but it’s filmed nicely with a cool soundtrack, which is OK.

“And that’s the thing. It’s just OK. Is this anything different from what Optus was putting out before the roster shake-up? Honestly, I can’t comment on that, I’ve only been in the country for three weeks, so I guess time will tell.

“They actually created a really fun activation that went along with this, which looked cool. But I’ve been asked to review the TV ad and not the activation. (If they just put that on telly as an ad, I’d be writing something totally different.) I just wanted something a bit more from this ad given it’s such a big part of Australian culture. It didn’t really show off the connection that Australians like to spend a lot of time near some sort of water and what Optus delivers. Sorry.

“Didn’t really feel as fresh a take on a telco partnership and part of Australian culture as I’m sure the next lot of ads will be.”

Rating: 5/10

Blackley says:

“I liked it when it appeared just before the CommGames on my tele. It’s a cool little feel-good celebration of Aussie swim culture with a catchy track.

“I also like the line ‘Get Splashy’, it’s silly and, for me, unexpected. I kind of detect a bit of meet the super humans in there with cut aways to Games swimmers and the audio treatment in those moments but that’s not a bad thing, and anyway it’s more ‘meet the super bogans’ (I say that in an endearing way). It’s sponsorship spot that I reckon will do a great job for a brand synonymous with fun.

“Seven bomb dives.”

Brand: Officeworks
Agency: AJF Partnership
The Verdict: Ticks the creative boxes but it could have been more emotive and enticing

MacMillan says:

“Officeworks’ new ad about creating stuff, whatever it is, is a nicely filmed manifesto montage showing all the ways people create. From painting with drums, to diary writing on a rooftop, this ad ticks all the creative boxes, along with the products Officeworks sells.

“Could they have taken a different approach? Could it have been more enticing and emotive? Yeah, for sure, and that’s what I would’ve liked to have seen. However, it’s a solid piece of film that delivers on the thought that people should just create stuff.

“Nicely filmed, just felt it could have been a fresher a take on creating rather than a manifesto.”

Rating: 6/10

Blackley says:

“I find it extremely hard to equate Officeworks with being arty, mixing paint on a palette or writing prose on a roof top. To be honest it kinda feels like a Telstra ad, especially with the slam poetry VO and a misplaced sonic sting at the end.

“I get that the job here is to change perceptions of Officeworks and open people up to the possibilities. Change takes time but one way to speed that process up for the consumer would have been to couple this ad with a full rebrand that speaks more to creativity and less to bleak office supplies against process blue. The agency can’t control this but it would’ve helped.

“Again, like the other work today it looks really good.

“Five pots of paint and a palette knife.”

  • 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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