Significant Seven: best TV and cinema ads

Over the next few days, we are publishing highlights from this year’s Mumbrella Annual.

1. The Sydney Opera House, ‘The Ship Song Project’
What its creators called a “labour of love” is the surest sign yet of an agency finding its stride. Spine-tingling stuff as the likes of Neil Finn, Kev Carmody, Sarah Blasko and Martha Wainwright take turns to sing Nick Cave’s The Ship Song as the camera loves every angle of Australia’s most famous landmark, inside and out. Does it matter that the film has echoes of the BBC ident ‘Perfect Day’ made 14 years ago?
Agency: The Monkeys

2. Volkswagen Passat, ‘Pleasure before business’
A lovingly crafted tribute to what lots of Australians like do before they have to go to work – surf, cycle, swim – ending with a blissfully happy man in a suit, lying in a forest with donkeys. Another sincere, canny effort by an agency that knows how to hit the spot for its oldest client. The Toureg and Tiguan work that followed was good -but it did not quite live up to this.
Agency: DDB Sydney

3. Vegemite, ‘Phiggles the flying scientist’
“He flies everywhere teaching heaps of kids across Austraaalia,” does Phiggles, the flying scientist. Bundles of very Aussie charm shine in the story of a local hero brought up on our favourite spread, told by members of an outback community. “I reckon he’s got a massive brain,” says one kid. Another: “My little brother think he’s magic.” And: “Not very tall. Little beardy fella.” That it’s a true story makes a loved brand more loveable. Just shades the ‘Darwin Ice Hockey club’ spot.
Agency: JWT Melbourne

4. Hahn Super Dry, ‘Super goes in’
Beer is made at the factory with things that guys like. TV, beach buggies, rock music, sports trophies, helicopters and a rubber tiger filled with beer, washed down with the Knight Rider theme tune (always a winner). The first work for the brand by Mojo carries the mark of the now departed ECD Micah Walker. Stylishly directed by Tom Kuntz.
Agency: Publicis Mojo Sydney

5. Office of Road Safety WA, ‘Enjoy the ride’
Viewers have probably been tortured enough by wailing families and bloodied bodies flying through windscreens. This drive safety ad was a simple plea to slow down and think about the things we miss in life when we’re in a hurry: “When was the last time we actually took time to breathe? When we slow down, we discover that life has a natural pace. And it’s good.”
Agency: 303Lowe

6. SBS, ‘Immigration Nation’
A promo for SBS’s ‘Immigration Nation’ paints a rosy picture of the Australia of old: “The lucky country… plentiful land… a land built on the dream of a perfectly equal society for all men.” An asterisk appears by the word ‘men’ and a disclaimer reads: “Terms and conditions apply. Equal society was for whites only… the White Australia Policy was designed to keep Australia white.”
Agency: US Sydney

7. John West Tuna, ‘Tuna Tempters’
A fully clothed fisherman takes his chances with sharks, sea lions and dolphins to dive for the pick of the bait ball – and prove that John West endures the worst to bring you the best. Using BBC documentary footage and some CGI wizardy, it’s hard to tell that the ad was shot in a public swimming pool in Auburn, NSW. As good as John West Salmon’s kung-fu fighting bear? Almost.
Agency: Grey Melbourne


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