The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


The Rant Is Back …
December 14, 2006, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Comment

Can’t be arsed to write something with focus today [yes, I know you may be surprised I kid myself that I do at all other times, ha!] so I thought I’d do what I do best and just rant about a bunch of pics I found in my Flickr account that I’ve done nothing with.

First up, a US Tic Tac ad …

You just know that in research groups, people said that when they eat Tic Tac’s, they role them around their tongue or something … so within the blink of an eye, it becomes a selling point for the brand. 

God help me!  Tic Tac’s are no more playful than Thumbvertising is ‘feelgood’.  Infact, apart from pouring a pack into my mouth then spitting them like a mint-machine gun at passers-by, I can’t see any fun in this brand at all.

Now I do appreciate how hard it would be for a planner to come up with something unique for Tic-Tac … but I am of the firm belief that when this sort-of situation occurs [acknowledging you really have investigated the relevant options available] the biggest insight is there isn’t one [or not one worth hanging your hat on] so you have the right to do something wild, imaginative and if necessary, category [rather than brand] specific. 

Years ago when I was just starting out, I was given a brief from Colgate who had come to us to ‘test our approach’

Now while they had tons of research saying people really were interested in their choice of toothpaste, our research showed [1] that’s not so true and [2] the only people who showed any real element of interest were Mums – and that was more because they wanted their kids to have nice teeth, rather than themselves.

Sooooooo … my strategy was to make kids give a shit about brushing their teeth [given Mum’s were being targeted by pretty much every competitor] and so when we investigated what 15 year old kids were most interested in and they said ‘having sex’, it led to my proposed strategy of ‘People With Ugly Mouths Don’t Get Laid’.

It made sense … we tested it and unsurprisingly it got enormous scores … however, because Colgate don’t live in the Real World, I was asked off the account and the agency project was taken away from us. 

And so while you can say ‘what’s the point of doing it if you don’t get it through’ … my answer is, ‘what’s the point of doing something if it means nothing to no one’.

Right … next up, Australian make-up brand, Australis. 

This has to be written by a male team doesn’t it.  I mean, I haven’t seen such a phalically-posed ad since the Cadbury’s Flake one’s of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. It’s like feminism never happened.

HEADLINE: Some Girls Leave A Lasting Impression

BODY COPY: Some Girls Have It. Everyone Wants It. Now You Can Have It.

For fucks sake … crass, cheap and totally puerile … abit like Australis then eh!

Why didn’t they just go the whole hog and run the ad in a blokes mag and use the headline … ‘Get Your Woman Using Australis Make-Up And Get Great Head’.

Sex can work in advertising … but without subtlety, the brand comes across as cheap, nasty and unpleasant – the best attributes for a brand selling ‘beauty’.

Right, what’s next …

God help me! 

OK … OK … I know medical brand advertising is very, very tough.  Apart from having to follow strict guidelines, the clients tend to be the epitome of conservatism … however this just feels like little thought has gone into it, they’ve gone for quick and easy ’shock value’ rather than something with relevance.

Some friends of mine once did an ad for a medical company who were launching a ‘Fat Reduction’ product. 

Rather than fall into the cliché-ridden trap of ‘look better thin’, they came up with a campaign called, ‘Email Makes You Fat’ and explained that technology is making us less physically mobile which is affecting our natural metabolism rates and causing us to put on more weight.

Genius insight … beautifully expressed and quite rightly very successful [both in sales and ad awards].  We need more of that sort of thing than this ‘cheap thrill’ … and if I see another Pharmaceutical brand use a ‘character’ for their communication, I think I’ll scream.

Keeping on the medical topic …

MediBank in Australia have launched one of the World’s crappest ads.  Well done Medibank.

People playing ‘Twister’ to flog dental, massage and optical benefits … what planet are they on???

Given their competitor, MBF, did the quite wonderful ‘BE POSITIVE’ campaign [a moment where M&C really deserved their plaudits] they were always going to be seen as an older, less pragmatic health company but this ad hardly does them any favours in trying to attract a more ‘youthful’ customer.

Cliché-ridden ‘lifestyle’ advertising …  about as true to life as Reality TV is. Grow up advertisers … this is not aspirational, it’s embarrassing!

So in Singapore there’s a new consumer electronics company called DIXEL that has started out. 

They make hi-def televisions and to be fair, they are pretty bloody good.  Sure, they’re expensive but compared to the models from SONY, Toshiba, LG and Samsung … they represent fantastic value.

They’ve even gone to great lengths to ensure the right ‘brand image’ is conveyed to the status obsessed Singaporeans … by investing a small fortune in a cool looking retail space.

What a shame they have let the other Singaporean trait raise it’s ugly head … that of always looking for a way to make money … because in a shop window of sexy televisions, they are also trying to flog rice cookers, kettles and air purifiers.

In one instant, they’ve gone from Asian Aspiration to Asian Tackiness.  I give them 6 months …

Why did I buy this?  Is it so it takes me back to a time of my youth like the raspberry donuts I had in Thailand?

Is it the colour of Indian [and Asian] food that makes it so bloody tempting and exciting?  Hell, this picture makes me hungry which is more than any Macca’s photo achieves.

Mind you, not all colour makes food better. 

It is widely acknowledged that the colour blue acts as a hunger suppressor – which begs the question why don’t Governments mandate food of a certain high-fat value are coloured blue.  Wouldn’t that have a more powerful affect against obesity than half the measures they’re trying to do now?  Just a thought.

It’s abit old now … but this was an Australian interactive billboard flogging ‘TV services’ direct on your Telstra Mobile Phone.

Why? Are we really that time poor that we need to be able to watch television shows on our mobile? 

You see if time is – as is often described – our greatest commodity, then why is it that productivity levels around the World are actually declining?

And if computers are getting faster and faster, then why is it that we often feel we’re falling more and more behind with our workloads?

I do accept that time is seemingly in short supply … but I feel that it isn’t because we have more to do – but that communication [be it mobile, email, blackberry] is getting to the stage where it’s spinning the World – from an economic standpoint – backwards, rather than forwards.

How many pointless emails do you get copied on?  How many pointless requests do you get asked to do?  How many con calls do you take part in where no decisions are made?

They said technology would set us free … but now it is holding us all back in almost every aspect of life – including development and communication as well as personal and professional growth.

Phew … what a rant … I feel soooooooooooo much better now. Thank you.


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Amen brother!
I gotta say, there is a shitload of crap ads being made in Australia. The more I begin to learn and understand about communication and the aim of relating to particular cultures to evoke consumer reaction, I am continually floored at how flawed a lot of the ads are here.

My personal favourite at the moment is for the new Holden 4×4. It shows a guy somersaulting around a city for some reason and then landing on a rooftop deckchair. Then miraculously, his wife and 2.5 kids fall from the sky and join him. In a completely unrelated twist, the car is revealed on a rooftop at the end! Compared to say, Honda’s Choir commercial, it’s fucking amazing…

Comment by Age

When I first started cynic, I sent a beautiful framed certificate to the head of Holden, congratulating him on the continual production of World class, irrelevent and shit advertising.

Amazingly, he didn’t ignore us but came and had a chat – and while he felt we were totally wrong for his brand [which is hardly surprising given what he thought WAS good advertising] I do give him cred for not taking our cheek lying down.

I got the last word in though … I sent him all the Mini work I did with Crispins and pointed out that despite our car costing the most in its class – and being in one of the most competitive segments – we had helped achieve record sales … which was more than could be said about his business.

This time, I didn’t hear anything back, ha!

Comment by Robert

like batman and superman before him, rob campbell is back and he has reminded me just why he is so good. never go back.

Comment by andy @ cynic

God Andy … are you gay, on drugs or pissed?

Hmmmmn, probably all 3 …

Anyway, just put rant this down to me ‘test driving’ our ANGER IS ENERGY strategy – and it does seem to be working doesn’t it, ha!

Comment by Rob

suddenly i have a deep love of strategy. and ill ignore your childish taunts on the grounds your anger makes me happy. fuck, your anger makes me go soft. its a crazy, mixed up world.

Comment by andy @ cynic

Its not that it’s a crazy, mixed up world … it’s that you’re a crazy, mixed up individual!

Comment by Rob

The uk Tic Tac ads (Shake Your Tic Tacs!) werent that bad. They werent great, but they at least put some energy and fun into the brand.

That Twister ad is diabolical…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

[…] perfect example was when we worked on a Colgate project […]

Pingback by The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

current oz tic tac ads (domino-styles) are kind of cute at the moment and i always liked the the ‘tic tacs are my tac-tics’ slogan.

Comment by lauren




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