Cummins & Partners Chris Jeffares: there is risk for brands to ditch long-running taglines

There is risk in brands ditching a long-running brand platform or slogan as consistency helps consumers relate to a brand, Cummins & Partners CEO Chris Jeffares said during a video hangout discussing the latest campaigns yesterday.

Responding to a question on the dangers of moving away from a well-established tagline, Jeffares said: “There’s a lot of risk when you move away, for many of these brands tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent building an equity and often people make the flippant choice to move away when you can reinvent in the same area.”

The question followed Mars Bar ditching its iconic and long-running ‘work, rest, play’ tagline in favour of the ‘Put some play in your day’.

“Yes, you need to find ways to constantly refresh it but there is an importance in consistency from a consumer point of view and it helps them relate to brands as well,” said Jeffares.

He was joined in the hangout by With Collective creative director Hamish Grieve who said there are occassions when it is time for brands to move away from a long-running idea.



“You can kind of see when a campaign is starting to run out of legs, they start to run a little thin,” he said, adding some brands are able to keep a slogan fresh for a long time.

“If you look at some of the longest running taglines such as [Nike’s] Just do It, every execution of that seems fresh despite being 20 years old.

“It is a case-by-case basis and in the case of Mars maybe it was time for a new angle.”

Jeffares and Grieves discussed the use of technology in advertising and the way it is leveraged in campaigns during the hangout, looking particularly at Clemenger BBDO’s Whiskas ‘Catstacam’, Dolmios ‘Pepper Hacker’ and GPY&R Brisbane’s ‘Drought Draught’ as specific examples.

Grieve rejected the idea these campaigns risked falling into the scam bucket, work created purely to win awards, arguing they were seen by a wide audience.

“To me the definition of scam is something that isn’t seen by the wider public,” he added. “Back in the day you could put a lot of print campaigns in that bucket which were purely seen by jurors.

“Half a million YouTube hits suggest they’re not scam, while they maybe are proactive, I wouldn’t say they’re scam.”

Jeffares said the campaigns were generating noise “they couldn’t necessarily” buy.



“There’s always a danger when you’re around awards season and April Fools you’re going to fall into that camp,” he said. “A lot of it is modern advertising, there’s different techniques and different channels, the fundamentals are still the same.”

He said he would label these campaigns as branded content, and suggested it’s not important for the products to be real.

“You’d class all those pieces as branded content, the amount of YouTube hits they’ve got, they’re all racking up some big numbers,” he added. “While it would be great for a client to pony up the cash, that may or not happen, it does get people talking about the brand and gets some engagement and brand love.”

Jeffares was in agreement saying the campaigns build “major currency in the conversation”.

“They’re using technology and products to do it, whether they’re actually trying to sell those products or not, I don’t know if that’s really part of it, it’s more about shifting consideration or eventually driving sales from a brand point of view,” he said.

The pair also discussed two recent campaigns from Samsung promoting the Gear VR headset created by Leo Burnett Sydney

Jeffares has worked with Cummins & Partners, formerly CumminsRoss, since 2011 first as managing director and partner before becoming CEO in December last year. He was the general manager of Wunderman for 10 years before that.

Grieve has been a creative director at With Collective since March. He has also worked at BMF, DDB and Clemenger BBDO, and he has been the national co-head of Award School.

The ads which were reviewed:

Whiskas Catstacam by Clemenger BBDO Sydney

Dolmio Pepper Hacker by Clemenger BBDO Sydney

Samsung VR technology campaign sees father witness birth of child in ‘virtual reality birth’

Leo Burnett Sydney launches Samsung Gear VR with great white shark dive


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