Creative Choice: Subaru's dogs, Aldi's gorilla and Heineken

By Rachael Micallef and Lindsay Bennett | 12 April 2016

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

Archibald/Williams ECD Matt Gilmour and Deepend Group general manager/head of strategy Dan Robathan take on the challenge for this week's Creative Choice, putting their creative eye to work from Subaru, Heineken, Audi, Aldi, Origin Energy and NIB.

First up - a few words from the creatives themselves:

Matt Gilmour

While the Australian market is smaller and less important than the big shiny European and American ones, we punch above our weight. These back that up and I feel some of this foreign work should’ve stayed home.

Dan Robathan

Teamwork, dogs, gorillas, tech and dads are all used to flog other things. The main take-out for me is remembering TVCs exist to sell something. If the product and its benefit aren’t clear it doesn’t matter how cool your content is, your ad has still failed.

1. Do More of the Good Stuff - Subaru by Disciple

MG: The car-buying public will love this ad. And not one but three singing dogs, means dogs will love it too. It’s a nice simple message that has the product as the hero, but as a new brand positioning I’m not sure why the Forrester model is called out rather than leaving it as a pure brand message. I like all the social films that go along with this campaign too.

DR: I like Lou Reed, I like dogs, and it turns out I like dogs singing Lou Reed songs. The commitment to diversity and equal opportunity afforded to the four different canine breeds in one ad is to be applauded too. What car? Oh yeah, they did get to the beach in a car. Dogs love the beach. Cute content for YouTube perhaps, but as a standalone TVC it doesn’t work for me. The inconsistent shots including children make them seem like afterthoughts – assuming this car is targeting the family market rather than young couples with dogs, this isn’t well portrayed.

2. Can Heineken Rugby Club Bring Rival Fans Together? - Heineken by Rothco

MG: I usually love Heineken commercials, so when I sat down to watch this I thought I would be entertained, but I wasn’t. It felt forced. The forced tension of the beer running out followed by the forced performance of the ‘aw shucks’ barman. The forced intrigue of the microphones dropping from the ceiling. The forced rugby legends forced in as part of some bad agreement they were forced to sign. The forced camera positions jumping from the confusingly forced CCTV shots, to the forced ‘within the crowd’ shots to help it feel ‘real’. The forced marching band is as forced into the rugby world as this commercial itself. I didn’t like it.

DR: The beer has run out (it hasn’t though – there’s shitloads of bottles right behind the bar) and the only way to make the beer come back is to force English and Irish rugby fans to sing a Tom Jones number ‘together’ in a contrived public activation. The concept is clear, but as rivalry is the lifeblood of sport, I’m not sure why Heineken would want to celebrate being partisan.

3. Intelligence is the New Rock and Roll - Audi by Venables, Bells & Partners

MG: Audi obviously has some cash to throw around and it’s throwing it in the direction of the hip, young, cool, tech-nerd kids. It’s a smart strategy; BMW and Mercedes couldn’t pull this kind of attitude off and are left looking like their brands are for these guys’ parents or even their grandparents based on the age of some of this Converse-wearing cast. This commercial will work well in the massive US market but I’m not sure how many A4s will be sold to our smaller group of hip, young, cool, tech-nerd kids.

DR: “Intelligence is the new rock and roll. The new Audi A4 is your power chord.” It’s like SXSW threw up into a TVC and got a car brand to try and make it look pretty (it didn’t). It doesn’t even tell me where I’m meant to plug in… the USB port, the cigarette lighter? I understand why Audi has pushed to escape the clichéd norm of car advertising and tap into a generation that celebrates smart design and technology. But, the spliced shots of the car and the technologies one assumed inspired the design are crammed in and unclear.

4. Easter Gorilla - Aldi by McCann Manchester

MG: I imagine the original idea for this spoof was to sell Aldi’s version of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars but someone thought, Lindt bunnies are close enough aren’t they, eh? Let’s just whack them in and it’ll totally work for Easter. It didn’t really do it for me. Although I have to say the post is pretty great.

DR: Aldi has splashed out big time recruiting Cadbury’s drumming gorilla to show us how much cheaper its chocolate bunnies are than Lindt’s. It’s a clever dig at two rivals simultaneously and plays well to the cult following the gorilla originally garnered, tapping into existing audience knowledge and positive associations. And it left me wanting chocolate so that’s good.

5. Predictable Plan - Origin Energy by Whybin\TBWA

MG: This idea is funny, not strategically very deep, but dad’s performance makes me like it. They (even the annoying girl at the end) clearly sell me on the benefit of Origin and I now want to switch my services over. In fact, I’m going to do it right now. So, I’m on the Origin website, I see the dad from the TVC so I know I’m in the right place, good, but as I’m trying to sign up I see the Origin Predictable Plans are only available to Origin customers who’ve been with them for over three months. What? Why advertise these awesome plans on TV? Why make potential new customers like me get the shits? It’s a better message and product to target and retain the customers they already have. Now I feel bad that I ever thought of leaving my continually unpredictable AGL.

DR: Annoying dad type irritates family by guessing how much the electricity bill will be each month ($125.60 by the way), but he’s always right because it’s always the same. This ad does a splendid job of getting the message across and all within the space of 30 seconds.

6. Do It For Them - NIB by Saatchi & Saatchi

MG: This commercial has nice production values and quality, but I’m left confused as to what it’s trying to tell me. ‘NIB. Do it for them’ is the new end line and it’s ambiguous at best. Do it for who? Do what for who? I want to like it, but I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to someone.

DR: I love the thought and although the joke gets a bit laboured I reckon the fear of upsetting your mum is a damn sight more compelling to blokes under 30 than a list of what comes with the insurance. The shorter pre-rolls in the same series work really well. Getting clever insights to stick quickly in the audience’s mind will be an ongoing challenge for the whole industry as people’s attention spans shrink.

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