Woolworths Fresh Food People new ad – “Welcome to Australia’s Fresh Food People”.

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After much anticipation (in ad circles at least) Woolworths aired the new campaign from Droga in last nights high rating spots. Here is the corporate line:

“Today we embark on a new journey for our company. We have a proud history at Woolworths of bringing Australians outstanding fresh food and value. We are building on this and our new campaign marks the start of a new promise to our customers as ‘Australia’s Fresh Food People’.
“A new ad campaign, which commences tonight, features nine real Woolworths Fresh Food people. Our renewed focus on our people is testament to the faith we have that Woolworths’ people are our greatest asset.

“Coupled with that is our new theme song, which highlights the rhythm of the seasons and celebrates that every day, every week, every month of the year, Woolies people open the doors to our stores and bake the freshest bread, serve the freshest fruit and veg and the best quality Australian meat and seafood.

Interestingly the music, written by Frankie Carle‘s “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I Love You” has been used previously by Walmart. The track was re-recorded by Gossling (Helen Croome) in keeping with the original recording by Kitty Kallen with Lawrence Welk & His Champagne Orchestra and made famous by Betty Driver

In a nice twist, Woolworth’s have given you the chance to download for free on their website

The ad is about Woolies people and continues to push the “Fresh Food” promise via these people. I really like the simple, but effective introduction of the word “Australia’s”. Home grown provenance is a big motivator (…if at the right price!)

Many analysts were expecting a bigger leap forward from the new agency, but this is a mega-brand making it’s move and nothing is done without careful consideration. The tone of these ads brings a freshness that has been lacking and does differentiate from Coles celeb advocacy approach.

People are important, but product and prices are dominating the supermarket wars at present, which Coles are perceived as winning through delivery of this message with strong personalities in the Curtis and Dawn ad that resonates well with the viewer.

This ad delivers “year round” love of Woolies by Woolies fresh food people. It demonstrates what we assume are real employees and suppliers who love Woolies. But why should we love Woolies?

It is an expensive looking and beautifully produced piece of work. Watchability is right up there and I actually believe that these people are who they claim to be, which is important in advocate advertising. But is it effective advertising in building loyalty?

The question as to why consumers would love Woolies remains. Seeing people at work in farms, fields and stores might not be enough to give people reasons why Woolies is really the “freshest” in the cut throat world of battling Coles.

Fresh Food People needs qualification since Coles came into the argument. The ad is relevant, certainly interesting, but the motivation for a consumer to believe the Fresh Food promise and why this if different to Coles is the key deliverable.

Assuming people will click into the website for more answers is a big assumption – on-line is the domain of range and pricing (as shown in the great Woolies app). Without this step, there is no qualification to the promise?

Here is an example of what people see when they click – Malcolm the farmer talking about running and potatoes. There is actually some motivating news in there, but should this be the main ad (apparently 12 ads will run so it might well be)? :

Hopefully the campaign develops with rational product and price proof points, still delivered in this strong emotive style to entice the shoppers – perhaps less sexy advertising, but potentially more motivating in today’s climate.

A couple of other interesting points to note are the subtle re-brand (Woolworths moves from red to green). And as reported in Mumbrella, Woolworths will remove walls to behind-the-scenes areas of its stores so that customers will be able to see bakers and butchers in action. The brand will also refit stores with better lighting and address checkout queues. (My local Woolies did this 3 weeks ago by moving the stacked special offers from in front of the tills –  and it is still talked about in hushed tones down the aisles…!)

Great advertising engages and entertains, but ultimately needs to sell to us by delivering reasons to believe in the brand promise and motivate us to buy and remain loyal.

Hopefully this campaign will deliver the rational reasons, as well as the feel-good fresh food people.

Lynx “Clean your balls” with Sophie Monk.

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I used to think that Lynx prided themselves in clever advertising.

Lynx have built a brand around the promise to pre-pubescent boys that using Lynx makes you irresistible to the opposite sex.

This has been done with wit, irreverence and a clever tongue in cheek sense of humour to the most part.

This latest work featuring Sophie Monk (a red flag in itself) was directly, scene for scene, copied from an existing AXE ad in the US? Surely just looking at the US effort would force you to question the merits of this campaign, not encourage you to repeat the mistake?

The online ad exploits the hilarious double entendre of the phrase ‘clean your balls’ as Sophie Monk demonstrates the grime-removal strength of Lynx gel on “hairy balls” (tennis balls), “saggy balls” (deflated medicine balls) and an African American man’s “big ball sack” (a netted bag of soccer balls).

3 minutes of the same puerile joke.

No sitting on the fence, no excuses, it is an absolute shocker.

It was done in conjunction with ZOO magazine and is described as

“provocative, tongue-fully-planted-in-cheek campaign”.

Really?

I think they got it very wrong.

Even more amazing when you also consider that the ‘Clean your balls’ campaign follows Lynx’s controversial ‘Rules of rugby’ campaign which was removed at the behest of the Advertising Standards Bureau last year after complaints that it objectified women.

Collective Shout, a lobby group that campaigns against the sexualisation of advertising, has put in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Tankard Reist, co-founder of Collective Shout said that:

“objectifying women” in these “hyper-sexualised scenes” is actually harmful, adding: “They contribute to an ongoing second-class status of women.”

There is a big difference between “sexy advertising” or irreverent tongue in cheek humour and bad taste and there is no excuse for suggesting that this is what the target responds to. A few people have used this generalisation in support of the work. It actually suggests a level of disregard for the target’s ability to comprehend a clever piece of advertising and justifies cheap work that throws the industry back 10 years.

Previous Lynx work (ref Angels or Anarchy House or Snow Angles ) is far superior to this effort, generating a much more aspirational and positive brand image and Unilever should prepare themselves for a trade (if not consumer) backlash.

As Mumbrella said:

One hundred and eighty seconds around one double innuendo. Somebody had to come home from work knowing that they made this”. 

Dee Madigan, the respected creative director of Madigan Communications and a panellist on ABC1’s The Gruen Transfer, said the Lynx ”cleans your balls” advertisement was suited to its target audience.

”Young males like to go against the grain,” she said. ”Doing something sexist and offensive, that’s kind of the strategy.”

I couldn’t disagree more. This is confusing irreverence with irrevocable bad taste and poor advertising, defended by a lack of insight on the target. Industry figures should strive for a smarter, aspirational solution otherwise the industry will continue to be derided by on-lookers.

Not what the brand or industry needs and surely Sophie Monk isn’t that desperate to get work?

And as a postscript, the advert has (finally!) been censured after a slew of complaints to the ad watchdog.

Bizarrely, the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) decided that the ad was not derogatory to women, but said

“with the exception of the depiction of the older man, the depictions were not offensive or demeaning to any person or section of society”.

Not so sure myself!

The Board noted the concerns that the advertisement is offensive and discriminates against elderly men in particular as it refers to their “old saggy balls not being played with for years”.

The Board considered that the older man is depicted in a negative manner with the inference in the advertisement being that the older man does not receive any attention due to his age. The Board considered that this is a negative depiction of an older person and that this depiction does amount to discrimination against older men.”

In response to the findings Unilever said:

“The men who appear in the commercial are representative of a wide range of age groups, from young to old, and all of them are portrayed in a humorous and good-natured way. It was never the intention of the commercial to discriminate against  elderly people”

The elderly man is an object of ridicule. Unilever should not try to defend the indefensible.

A classic case of misinterpreting “irreverence” and “tongue in cheek” and stereotyping men and women – not clever work at all.

But if Unilever are repentant it is interesting to see them respond to the censure of the ‘clean your balls’ ad with a new online video featuring a mock press conference loaded with more dirty ball references

This is a desperate brand attempt to be funny and a further replication of the US mistake. For such an occasionally great brand it is a massive error of judgement.
And not funny. Perhaps the ASB will agree.

Commonwealth Bank “Can” and “Can’t” Campaign with Toni Collette – “An Ode to Can” and the latest TV ad

After being teased with “can’t” we now see the “can” campaign in full from Commonwealth Bank.

Much has been written about the merits of the teaser campaign, about those that ambushed it and if it was effective against the target, assuming that we know who it is targeted at and what effect “teasing” has on a target inundated with advertising messages? I think “teasing” is a figment of the agencies imagination and the consumer rarely notices the message, despite a massive amount of expensive media.

This campaign has plenty of polish. M&C Saatchi work their magic in film and their creative team wrote a very nicely crafted poem as well (see the bottom of the post for the words), delivered impeccably by Toni Collette, who is surprisingly appropriate for the tone of the ad.

You are invited into the prospect of a great big brand reveal in the ad. Nike? A charity? Perhaps a vocational career? Saving the world or rain forests?

And then it’s a bank?

Some more cynical consumers might say that banks are the antithesis of “can”. They could pass on the interest rate cuts in full, but “can’t” due to the bottom line, economy, shareholders etc. Banks certainly suffer in a financial crisis and are often and sometimes wrongly (who helped me buy the house again…?), portrayed as the pariah of the masses. They are arguably no longer a badge of honor for employees – all post GFC issues that are very real if you are trying to attract and retain customers and the best staff.

So back to the bank ad, it positively glows with warmth and radiates assured positive vibes…the choice of Toni and the strategy to read a nice poem about the “possible” entertains and entices beautifully. It is a very slick, simple piece of work that you enjoy viewing.

But what is it aiming to achieve?

I wonder if a large part of the client “buying” the campaign is to do with internal communications? If all Commbank staff adopted a “can do” mentality, the customers might be happier which equals more money and happier staff, which equals happier customers and more money (over simplified I accept).

I am less certain about the relevance of “can” to the bank’s consumers when delivered so conceptually via a TV ad. Are people likely to be left feeling inspired, perhaps taking up that hobby after all, but left confused about what it means to their banking?

The consumer might be doubting the message given their experience.

They might be thinking where is “can” when they ask if they can lower their interest rate on the mortgage, or when they ask if Commbank can better a competitors rate? The “can do” concept is contrary to the current perceived truth and I am left wondering what facts back up this “can do” claim? If there are new products and services in this regard, the campaign could be a golden opportunity to make this known? If this is a precursor to all the answers about what Commbank “can do” then it could develop nicely. Perhaps if you go in and ask you just might get a deal (…a bit like Bing Lee)?

But this particular ad is all about emotional not rational values. And perhaps this is where it misses an opportunity to “sell” in the minutes worth of poetic action. Why not do both?

Advertising should close the deal. It should engage you emotionally and entertain you, whilst convincing you rationally of the product or services it wants you to buy. It is a sales tool (sorry, but it really is). It gives you reasons to believe and then act. With a significant media spend on TV, I feel both emotional and rational messages should be in the ad to drive engagement and “sales”.

This is arguably a very unfashionable and even old-fashioned view of the art of advertising. One held by the likes of John Hegarty, Dave Trott and the like (try DT’s blog for more).

Consumers should be credited with the capacity to look at advertising and discern the sales message amongst the shine of a polished ad. This is what great advertising does – engage and sell.

I may be doing a disservice to the Commbankers who will certainly have a clever “can” direct mail out there, giving some rational reasons as to what Commbank “can do” tout de suite! This could be the entrée to a campaign about all the proof points as to why Commbank can? But such a good ad would be a great ad if it delivered a reason “why” or “how” Commbank “can” in these 60 seconds.

The current reality is that the press is full of contradictory stories on the problems in the sector and Commbank has taken a fair share of criticism over job cuts and mortgage rates, leaving consumers with a different perception of the product to that presented in the ad. and testing the credibility of the “can” promise with consumers. Consumers are suspicious of banking institutions and are lacking confidence in their motives.

This ad is wonderfully produced, full of emotional engagement, but what is it hoping to achieve without some rational reasons to believe in the bank’s products and act? Maybe the next bit of the campaign is the hard sell?

Commbank doesn’t need to build awareness, it doesn’t need to change the colour of the logo, it needs to change negative attitudes based on what consumers perceive the banks to be and give skeptical people rational reasons to move from their bank to Commbank. The hardest bit is done – it captures the attention in a positive manner, but what am I motivated to do?

I don’t think that the current mortgage rate and GFC driven negative perceptions to banking / individual banks can be altered by just the warmth of a positive, well presented, but ultimately generic “feel good” statement. This is a luxury most advertisers can’t afford and most CFO’s won’t support. Customers treat this category seriously and need compelling reasons to break up with their bank and get a better deal elsewhere. This isn’t selling cosmetics it’s selling control and care of your cash.

The excellent NAB ads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDbvAEcP_2k took the decision to be “on your side” and “break up” with those other bad banks. BUT it also had one of the lowest mortgage rates of the high street banks. Clever, creative and insightful advertising backed up by a strong product proposition.

ING got it right with a simple, well branded ad that showed the interest rate. Less likely to win awards, but more likely to win customers for who it is relevant (I want to save money), interesting (orange apes?) and motivating (the best rates).

The Saatchi and Commbank marketing team are all top players in the game. As noted, this could be the opener to a campaign full of answers for the rational side of the pitch of new products and services, all predicated with what Commbank “can” and will do for you.

They have a new set of TV ads out here…New Commbank Campaign so judge for yourself. I think the best rational support is delivered in the press ads posted later here: CommBank Press Campaign. The most recent work takes yet another direction with James Magnussen.

Ultimately I still believe that this TV creative could have been a much more effective ad if it had the rational “what we can do for you” sales message incorporated, complementing the engaging entertainment. A much bigger creative challenge, but with much greater rewards.

But hang on…What about BT?

An interestng post script to this high-profile campaign are the reports in Mumbrella and AdNews of plagiarism, even if it is from the same agencies earlier work in 1999 for BT in the UK. The similarities are striking – the original BT work was pitched as follows:

“Focusing on the idea that chief executives hate the word ’can’t’, poster sites on major routes into London will initially carry a teaser campaign reading simply ’Can’t’.

“After a few days, the teaser will be transformed into ’Can’ with paint, eggs and graffiti, above the line, ’BT. You Can.”

An interesting conversation between agency and client no doubt as it potentially takes the polish off this one, but then how many ideas are truly original and who but a few of us actually remember 1999?

Ode to Can.

There’s a four lettered word
As offensive as any
It holds back the few
Puts a stop to the many.

You can’t climb that mountain
You can’t cross the sea
You can’t become anything you want to be.
He can’t hit a century
They can’t find a cure.
She can’t think about leaving or searching for more.
Because Can’t is a word with a habit of stopping
The ebb and the flow of ideas
It keeps dropping
itself where we know in our hearts it’s not needed
And saying “don’t go” when we could have succeeded.

But those four little letters
That end with a T
They can change in an instant
When shortened to three.
We can take off the T
We can do it today
We can move forward not back
We can find our own way.

We can build we can run
We can follow the sun
We can push we can pull
We can say I’m someone
Who refuses to believe
That life can’t be better
With the removal of one
Insignificant letter.

Any good and fair work done by CommBank (plagiarism aside) has been potentially ruined by their on-line attempt at humour – a joke set in London featuring a back-pack bomb hoax. Now removed by CommBank, but widely reported. Interesting proof if it were needed of the reach and impact of some viral on-line efforts.

High Profile = High Parody

As a more lighthearted close, here is a Sportsbet parody of this more than earnest effort by Toni. Sportsbet have offered a ‘can can’ dance off to see who would host each others ad for 24 hours and donate $50,000 to charity – CBA declined on the basis that they don’t gamble with charity donations (…and this is more NAB territory!). Perhaps they might have chosen a more human answer and capitalised on this PR opportunity?

And Finally…Gloss vs Gold?

So after all is said and first posted, what is the final (final!) take on the campaign?

Fundamentally I think that this is a big idea. Nice to see.

An idea that relies on a big voice and a lot of support in all areas of the business. Also being executed well in terms of spend and ‘touch points’

It started in a esoteric, ethos sort of way, which lost it for me – a bit too much emotion without the support. It subsequently (and as of Sept) has reverted to much more traditional ‘proof point’ rational advertising. Saying exactly what Commbank can do. Not award winning, but useful delivery of attitude changing info with the emotional engagement of a can do attitude:

This is an idea with many, many facets to the campaign.

I still believe that the campaign would have been more effective in changing hearts and minds if the campaign that melded the emotional and rational messages from the start. It is always a lot to assume that people follow every twist and turn of a big campaign. However loud it shouts.

A lot of money was spent saying ‘can’ and teasing the consumer into being  interested. Despite the new sexy image of banking, I still don’t think finance is just about the gloss (the poem opener) when people are counting their gold (i.e. what is the best rate for me?).

Perhaps more might have been devoted to ‘can do what exactly’ from the opener?

And some of the best, most innovative things Commbank have done – make a Kaching payment app in the face of an amazing omission from the new iPhone, and give your iPhone an invaluable tool to look for and buy your new house.

Nice to see something different generating plenty of opinions.

Social Media Revolution

Mumbrella is a great social networking / blog / news site run by Tim Burrows. It features all things media and marketing for Australia and beyond. A recommended read.

Recently it featured the post above. A fact filled, fast moving, byte sized presentation on the strength and growth of social media.

It is clever and has the bells and whistles of a polished presentation. Worth a look.

The interesting thing however was the immediate debate that it provoked on-line at Mumbrella.

A good number of the facts and figures were challenged and subsequently corrected or qualified.

To me this itself was one of the most interesting illustrations of social media and the phenomenon of “peer review” and accuracy. Blogs and social media are rightly criticised for their accuracy and lack of editorial control. Some posts are blatantly biased or woefully wrong. But when the major sites and sources publish, the inaccuracies are invariably pounced on and corrected, when review is enabled.

This peer review is the very principle of Wikipedia with over 17 million pages, but a staggering 327 million edits. As the presentation suggests, Wikipedia is now more accurate and current than the Encyclopedia Britannica. And all as a non-commercial not-for-profit organisation.

Just like the “real world” of printed and broadcast media, trusted sources, with accurate journalism, become trusted sources for the social media consumers. The most trusted sources could well be those which invite the “citizen journalists” themselves to contribute.

An alternative, slightly US centric, but interesting presentation can be found at:

http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan/what-the-fk-is-social-media-one-year-later