Creative Choice: MLA, Tough Mudder, Pandora and more

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 1 March 2016

This first appeared in the AdNews print magazine. You can read it all below but if you want it as soon as it goes to press, you better subscribe here.

It's all about the work and Creative Choice is where we send in the pros to critique the latest offerings from ad land.

M&C Saatchi LIDA's Paula Keamy and Millipede's Wil Monte take on the challenge for this week's Creative Choice, putting their creative eye to work from Weight Watchers, Ancestry, Pandora, Tough Mudder, Meat and Livestock Australia and OTEN.

First up - a few little words from the creatives themselves:

Wil Monte: Diverse range of work with some incredible production quality and polish. A few areas that disappointed me could have been remedied by considered thinking; others reminded me why I love our line of work.

Paula Keamy: When your non-ad friends share an ad before your ad friends, you know something’s up. The MLA Operation Boomerang seems loved by everyone except vegans. The campaign kept getting better and is the stand out.

1. Lose Weight Your Way - Weight Watchers by BMF

Wil Monte: This ad was nicely shot, edited and cast a reasonable range of body types and age groups, but fell way short on ethnic diversity. That aside, this line hit me like a sledgehammer: “Discover how good you’re meant to feel.” Turns out there’s a way I’m meant to be feeling and I’m currently not doing it. I re-watched the ad, viewing the activities from the perspective of ‘here’s what you are actually meant to be doing’. Seems a little counter-productive to make people feel like shit then tell them they’re meant to be feeling good.

Paula Keamy: Wobbly bits, big bums and no make-up. It was refreshing and encouraging to see some real men and women in this ad. By showing all of the experiences you gain by losing weight instead of being a perfect model, this ad stood out amongst the new year clutter. While everyone else is screaming lose! lose! lose!, it says “gain” and “live bigger”. It’s a smart strategic insight and shows how well the agency and client know their target market.

2. Come Find Me Drover - Ancestry by VCCP

WM: This took me a few views to figure out (a) what Jim was saying, and (b) what Jim’s relevance was to me and Once I finally had the ‘ah ha’ moment (I’m not that sharp – Jim and I would get along really well), I thought maybe Jim’s story didn’t deliver the most compelling reason for me to jump on and check out my ancestry.

PK: An endlessly campaignable idea that will endlessly engage Australians. Each ancestor tells their story then invites you to come and find them in a nice blend of brand and call to action. This drover version isn’t the best in the series – the ads seem to work better when there’s more of a contrast between the past and the present

3. Women at Valentine's - Pandora

WM: How are these stupid gender stereotype ads still getting approved, let alone the thought that they are funny? I like to think that we as creatives have an opportunity to help the world in some way. This ad is not moving us forward, as a society nor as an industry.

PK: So, girl sends this ad to boy, then boy gets friend to help him choose something for St Valentine’s Day? Since women leave “nothing to chance” I guess that’s the strategy – it sounds like it’s written for him, but it’s really for her? I’m not sure how many women would like someone else choosing their present, but if they would this ad is definitely cute enough for her to broach the subject or share it with him, and then perhaps he’ll recognise himself as the bumbling boy in the ad. It’ll be interesting to see if this works, and credit to them for trying a different sales tactic.

4. We Are Tough Mudder - Tough Mudder by Rokkan

WM: I really enjoyed this new approach from Tough Mudder. Perfectly voiced and compiled. Formally they played on the ‘So, you think you’re tough? Prove it!’ rhetoric, which clearly worked – 20,000 to 30,000 people show up to these events – complete with free mohawk and mullet haircutting and commemorative tattoos for finishing. This superficial ‘toughness measuring’ has a very limited lifespan. Whereas reminding us about when life was naively fun, without boundaries, responsibilities, and flaunting a loving relationship with risk is timeless. When I say ‘tough’, you say ‘mudder’.

PK: A great call to arms that would hit home. Inspired by muddy childhoods comes #ItsAllBeenTraining – that your whole life has been preparing you to sign up and complete Tough Mudder in 2016. It even does a good job of roping in your mates with “you got tough together”. Never was there someone less likely to do Tough Mudder, yet the ad made me want to get out and do something.

5. Australia Day Lamb - Meat and Livestock Australia by The Monkeys

WM: Holy shit. I had no idea lamb was as profitable as this ad affords and I can totally see how it has divided the audience. While a brilliant concept, incredibly well produced and freaking hilarious (I laughed very loudly at the vegan scene … get over it), I’m very much from the ethical treatment of animals’ school and I can’t see how encouraging this undiscerning smashing of lamb meat can be anything but bad. Amazing work by The Monkeys, but I’m not an MLA subscriber.

PK: “Gary, get out of the pool. Sorry Mitch, no one retires from backyard cricket”. There are a few pearlers from this delightful ad that’ll no doubt get repeated on Australia Day itself. It looks like they had a laugh making this and it shows. It got record complaints, but I reckon annoying the vegans was always part of the brief. The cameos of Australian favourites and use of Sam Kekovich was smart, and the choice of Lee Lee Chin was inspired. Altogether, it seems like one of only a few recent ads that was genuinely designed to be shared.

6. One Woman's Universe National - OTEN by VCCP

WM: Beautiful art style and an excellent insight. The ‘life led according to the script’ was captured wonderfully throughout. Once the universe is perfect, where to from here? Stay-at-home mums are highly susceptible to mental health issues due to many factors including isolation and lack of stimulation, however change is hard. Routine is safe – even when it becomes detrimental. This is a great campaign with a very worthwhile message.

PK: Another call to arms, for a completely different battle. This ad captures the world of a stay-athome mum and challenges her to enrol for an online degree and ‘disturb her universe’. The script and images take you quickly into her life and the story builds well to the moment she clicks to apply. Animation was an interesting choice that helps it stand out.

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