Credit where it’s due: Devondale – brave and bold marketing to build a brand

credit where its due logoIn a new column Mumbrella celebrates the best people and work in the industry. Today we recognise dairy brand Devondale for its work with creative agency DDB which saw the brand revitalise a tired sector.

Devondale logo

It’s a common moan from creatives in Australia there aren’t many clients willing to take a risk with their brand due to the grip of a conservative corporate culture. But one brand which has given its agency free-reign to push boundaries, and reaped the rewards, is Devondale.

Two years ago not many people would have had much brand recall of the Murray Goulburn-owned brand, but now it has a series of the most memorable, and quotable, ads of recent times.

It all started in March 2013 with the memorable and hilarious Soy Aftertaste Face spot promoting the brand’s Fast Start breakfast drinks.

It was a different tactic for a dairy brand, which traditionally focussed on the farming aspects of the brand and celebrating the dairy farmer behind the product.

The brand’s agency DDB Melbourne continued to deliver, with the new campaigns positioning Devondale as a solution to a problem posed by a competing product.

The next spot looked at “hard butter” and how it can destroy families. The spot worked so well that even our content director Tim Burrowes went out and changed his butter buying behaviour, opting for the brand’s soft spread product after seeing the ad just twice.

More spots followed, including the Crazy Cat Lady and the Glow Girl spots, although it was here that the brand’s new campaign hit its first bump in the road.

The Glow Girl spot, which promoted the brand’s Long Life Milk, was banned by the ad watchdog because the phrase “preservatives have consequences” “would be considered misleading by reasonable members of the community”.

However, that didn’t deter the brand from its irreverent style.

With its cheese ads, for its Smooth Tasty

product and its easy peel cheese slices, the brand continued to hit new highs, with audiences engaging with the brand’s new personality thanks largely to the work of director Tim Bullock.

Mumbrella readers were already starting to applaud the work, expressing a desire for more clients “taking risks” to build their brand and suggesting Devondale was one of the best clients in the country.

But not everyone was resonating with the brand’s new style, with its spot for its flavoured milk coming under the scrutiny of the Ad Standards Board and being banned for presenting unsafe behaviour.

(Ad courtesy of Ebiquity) 

However, DDB and Devondale continued to do what they do best – creating compelling and engaging ads that demonstrated an understanding of the sector and its audience. The next spot from the brand featured a character that was “a good mix”.

And while the brand’s most recent spot has come under fire for being demeaning to Asians, we hope Devondale and DDB continue to push forward with their approach. The industry needs more clients willing to take a chance on a new idea, to challenge sector traditions and to not be deterred by set-backs such as ASB rulings.

Indeed the campaign was also recognised at this year’s Mumbrella Awards where it claimed the Ad Campaign of the Year trophy. It was a deserving win and sets the bar high for the category next year.

Credit Where it’s Due is all about generating positivity about our fantastic industry. While we welcome positive and constructive comments, anonymous or otherwise, this feature a snark-free zone so please bear that in mind when commenting.


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