Bust out the Beanz – Heinz Baked Beanz TV ad

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Here is a truly iconic brand that has consistently been in shopping baskets since first sold in Fortnum & Mason in 1901.

Most of us still associate it with the famous 1967 “Beanz Meanz Heinz” slogan created by advertising executive Maurice Drake.

In other words it is a true perennial that is still in most households.

I love this ad because it shows some proper insight on the shopper. It relies on the fact that most of us have a can, but many of us have lapsed with our usage if not love of the beleaguered bean.

The message immediately resonates with the viewer. It reminds us of a neglected friend hidden away that deserves better!

Tom Ward, head of strategy and insights at GPY&R, said:

“The problem is that all too often that is where they stay, to the point that people will sometimes end up with two or three cans tucked away.”

This sort of genuine shopper insight is great to see. Hopefully the campaign will grow as we see how people have rekindled their love affair and bust out the beautiful bean…

U by Kotex leakage freakage

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Kimberley Clark are going out of their way to push the problem.

It might be “leakage” or it could be the risk of attracting dogs by virtue of an unclean bum (ref Kleenex Cottonelle).

This latest effort is confronting women with what we are told is a common problem. The solution is U by Kotex.

In both cases the company tackles the problem with clear product solutions.

Both approaches and that of Carefree raise an interesting question. Do consumers respond better to direct, descriptive advertising and what level of directness is more effective? The word “vagina” has recently been a subject of many complaints regarding the advertising campaign for Carefree Actifresh.

It’s interesting to ask if this approach researches well with all women / consumers? The industry likes to trumpet from on high and say we MUST change the consumer – “better out than in!” and remove ourselves from these suppressed notions of discrete advertising…? A vocal minority applaud the use of language that can make mums and dads cringe into their sofa. “It’s a vaginal discharge so lets herald it from on high!”. I’m not so sure.

There is a subtle balance between being direct and being overtly confronting to women and families in their own living rooms. U, which is firmly youth targeted, gets it right. We aren’t shocked into awareness of the problem and efficacy of the solution, we don’t hear language that is too confronting and we are indirectly very aware of the problem without being told that it is a “vaginal discharge”…territory other brands would prefer to own.

At the end of the day it is about understanding the audience not just the user and when it is the mass medium of TV the family audience matters. This is why it is an interesting topic for discussion when used in mass market media (rather than more directly targeted communication).

Without being overly conservative I sincerely hope that brands don’t continue to reach for stand-out notoriety by the use of the lowest creative common denominators in overtly describing what many real people consider to be discrete categories.

The true creative challenge is to communicate the problem and benefit / solution without the reliance on the literal descriptions and language.

I come from a Land Down Under – Telstra TV ad

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The ad, created by DDB Sydney, features Men At Work’s Colin Hay and a cast of Ozzies in London. An unbranded version of the ad was played to the whole Olympic team just after Australia’s flag bearer was announced. This immediately shows that it is hitting the right note with real people.

I like it for its honest simplicity and emotional effectiveness, versus other efforts to convince us of Ozzie roots / provenance or general “Ozzieness”. This spot seems to strike the right “C’mon Ozzie” chord with the locals versus metaphorical skyward gazing from Qantas or too much deep and meaningful from CommBank with Toni Collette.

A few people have referenced this ad in preference to the Qantas effort and I can understand why. Both use music to bring you the brand, but Telstra hit a better note with the locals.

And we might even assume that it is relevant as these Ozzies will all be phoning home!?

A good tune with the right emotional pull can make even a modest ad, with few rational reasons to believe, a memorable and magical effort. At the end of the day and as Hegarty once said:

“If you can’t say it, sing it…”

Carefree Actifresh – The “Vagina” Word TV ad

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Much of my recent postings have been around the subject of “taste”.

This is taste in terms of what advertising should and shouldn’t say and suggest around traditionally taboo subjects. As well as examples of poor taste propped up by the excuse of irreverence and tongue in cheek (Lynx being a shocker)

Some would argue that taste is a subjective measure of what we as individuals deem appropriate as advertising.

I think that the question of taste or advertising standards is more than that. We need to arbitrate in these matters on behalf of the mass market majority who are exposed to the advertising – particularly when it is on TV. Rather than crushing creativity, this should actually prompt more ingenious, imaginative solutions to communication.

The creative community can argue that we should break these taboos – use the word vagina when discussing feminine hygiene. Show explicit imagery to demonstrate problems (accidents / disease etc). Many might suggest that we are lessening the creative impact by embargoing these words and images.

At the risk of sounding conservative on creativity, I don’t agree.

I think that this ad is a beautifully produced ad. It captures the attention and the dialogue is relevant and motivating to the target. The last thing it needed was the seemingly gratuitous inclusion of the word vagina. I don’t think this inclusion adds anything to comprehension or awareness of the message. It just shocks the casual viewer, as in “did they just say that”?

Are we to imagine that the target didn’t get the message and needed to be alerted to it through hearing vagina in the monologue?

In the words of Johnson & Johnson:

“We have decided to take a bold approach in this campaign with the aim to tackle a subject which has always been taboo.”

I don’t think the language is going to make this a bold ad on a taboo subject.

There is a lot of debate on it at present. Daye Moffitt, brand strategy director at creative agency Moon, offered a female perspective.

“Personally, it makes me cringe, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I do think it is a good strategy. The shock tactic helps with getting young women to listen up – it gets their attention in a very loud marketplace.  It’s an effective and memorable ad, certainly.”

With the greatest respect to Daye, I think that cringe is the issue – imagine how parents with teenage boys respond when they hear it.

As anticipated the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau has received over 30 complaints since the ad first screened on Sunday evening. A spokesperson for the ASB said:

 “Most of the complaints are about the terminology that’s used and the nakedness of the woman,”

Interesting that the nudity got so much attention, suggesting how conservative our viewers really are.

The creative challenge reaches beyond the use of explicit or provocative language. And “vagina” can be considered as explicit language to many in the mass market living rooms.

Creativity needs to find new ways of reaching into the consciousness of viewers. Ways that don’t rely on gimmicks, tricks and controversy.

The ad is good, not great, and the inclusion of the word vagina merely serves to draw attention to the word not the problem or brand. Probably at the cringing discomfort of many women who would rather not shout it loud and proud from the living room floor.

These women are after all the target market and discretion in communication is perhaps more relevant and motivating than the vagina monologue.

Woolworths Supervisor Jillian Arnold and Truckie Harold Haigh

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Having seen the launch campaign, many anticipated a more functional follow-up to the campaign in these individual character spots.

How many trucks does it take to get it there fresh?

How quickly do onions get from the soil to the store?

In fact the curious potato farmer delivers some of this in terms of a truth about how the potatoes are cleaned.

The aim is to provide detailed backstories with the aim of personalising the quality and quantity of Australian produce and local sustainability promoted by Woolworths.

The issue is how many potential shoppers feel that an engaging character alone can convince them of the Fresh Food People claim? Particularly in the absence of any product info. about quality?

They are beautifully produced, but do they change hearts and minds when it comes to the store and the claim “Fresh Food People”? I’m not so sure.

The best ad from Cannes – Guardian open journalism: “Three Little Pigs” TV ad – the Guardian

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Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper in the UK has a long history of great advertising.

The classic Points of View TV ad is one of the best.

This ad (even at 2 minutes) is my choice from Cannes, although it didn’t bring home the bacon in terms of awards…

It communicates a complicated message of the breadth of Guardian coverage through a brilliantly constructed creative examination of a story we all know. Entertaining, interesting, relevant and motivating by underpinning the credentials of a great paper that is still innovating in the digital world.

A very different perspective and very much what the Guardian brand stands for.

McCann Melbourne creative director Annie Price.

Price has urged Aussie marketers and agencies against treating people like “idiots”, and has held up the highly regarded ‘The Little Pigs’ campaign by BBH as an example of the type of advertising the local industry should be striving for.

She told AdNews: “There’s not much Australian advertising can’t learn from this stunning commercial.

“It’s intelligent. It’s entertaining. It’s beautifully produced and so gripping, it has you coming back for more and more. It really is storytelling at its finest. There’s no doubt who it’s for and you’re left feeling compelled to go and buy a paper.

“It’s the intelligence of the Guardian commercial that most impressed me.

“No denying we make some great ads in Oz.

“But sadly, Australian TV screens are still full of a disproportional amount of commercials that treat people like idiots. Ads that assume that we are sitting there on the edge of our seats, just waiting to be informed about toilet cleaner, muesli bars or moisturiser by a moronic presenter. It’s 1950s advertising without the lovely retro outfits and atomic burst laminate.

“Clients and agencies alike would do well to remember that consumers are getting their information from so many sources nowadays, TV is not king. For us to truly impact on someone’s life via TV, and make a real connection, we’d better be smart about it and we’d better not insult his or her intelligence.”

Hyundai New Generation i30 “Free Yourself” – “I want to break free” with Queen TV ad

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Here’s something that doesn’t demand too much thought.

Hyundai are pitching freedom.

Maybe not that unique when it comes to cars, but nice to see a more creative execution rather than the happy family / cafe couple that we usually get bored by.

Innocean creative director Scott Lambert  said that the ad represented a departure from Hyundai’s traditionally “sophisticated, clean style of commercial for a more emotive feel”, with more colour and tone than the brand usually employs.

The rights to the music cost “around $200,000″ – so we might be seeing more of this…and at least at that cost the music is central to the creative idea. The supercut editing is nicely done and you get a look at the car and features – the sun-roof, radio etc. All done in a way that entertains and communicates.

A bit more real and a lot more noticeable.