Category Archives: Thought Starters

These posts got us thinking.

3 great ads I had nothing to do with!

In the tradition of the popular Thinkbox series of shorts that explore some of the greatest TV advertisements in the company of leading Creatives ‘who know a thing or two about making them’, I’ve decided to put forward my own three choices of great advertisements that I had nothing to do with. Now, I’m no Chief Creative Officer of a huge agency, but I feel like I still know a good ad from a bad one. So here goes.

In the age of digital television recorders, advertisement skipping, product placement, overlay ads, Google and pretty much the internet in general, making a TVC stand out above the rest has become tough. Attention spans have shortened, and the point now is to make a TVC that instantly grabs attention and is genuinely engaging. I’ve selected three TVCs that have recently inspired me in my journey through studying advertising; brilliant commercials, old and new, that I admire. (Oh and by the way, if you’ve never heard of it, check out advert.ge on Facebook – absolutely brilliant page constantly posting great TVC’s from around the globe.)

Ad #1: It’s now or never.

As the rest of the world runs for their lives and civilization crumbles around them, the bar-goers enjoy their last moments together and make the most of theirs. The bartender pours shots of Cuervo, a man plays Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” on the jukebox and couples tango while destruction around them ensues, because as for these brave souls; ‘tomorrow is overrated’.

The coolness factor is stratospheric here. CP+B’s campaign, directed by Ringan Ledwidge, features stunning visuals and uses an end-of-days scenario in charming fashion as a metaphor for living in the moment. The Elvis ballad, which was the second best-selling single of his career, is conceptually perfect and cuts right through the mayhem. The end tagline, “Tomorrow Is Overrated,” is a fun way to highlight tequila’s reputation as a liquor that can lead to unparalleled nights of abandon – and a way to emphasize the primacy of now in times of uncertainty.

Ad #2: Only time.

Who would have thought that more than 85 million people would watch the Muscles from Brussels doing his signature split with two Volvo trucks moving in reverse on a highway, backed by Enya’s “Only Time”? Volvo knew.

Directed by Andreas Nilsson, Volvo filmed the short on a runway in Spain in one take after three days of rehearsals. The short was, at the time, the latest in a series of videos Volvo used to promote how easy it was, and is, to steer its new high-tech big rigs – others have featured a woman walking a tightrope between to moving trucks heading toward a tunnel and a hamster steering one up the edge of a cliff.

The series, and the Jean-Claude Van Damme video in particular, are an insanely clever way to get attention to a type of vehicle most consumers usually don’t care or even think about while proving to other brands that they can use short clips to generate a Super Bowl-sized audience for little money when upping the creativity level of their campaigns.

Ad #3: Satisfaction.

While they sleep, a man’s tongue crawls completely out of his mouth and embarks on a journey to a house party down the road, bringing back home a cold Tooheys Extra Dry.

Yes, another alcohol ad. But prove to me that this isn’t one of the greatest Australian ads ever. I distinctively remember always rushing to the TV whenever I could hear Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” playing. “The tongue beer ad is on!”, I would say. I was 12.

This Tooheys TVC, created by BMF in Sydney, drew dozens of complaints but ranks as one of the best television commercials in the world. The Advertising Standards Board rejected a deluge of complaints about the ad, while Tooheys claims it reinvigorated Australian beer advertising. The advertisement is deliberately distinctive to reflect the diverse and growing consumer appetite for the brand, with a particular focus on younger consumers. At the core of the ad, the tongue is a simple yet strategic device to highlight the importance of taste.

The overall theme of my three advertisements, it seems, is that they all effectively make use of one huge feature amongst the impact of the visuals; that of music. Each advertisement conveys a strong message, but through the added characteristic of music, and specifically popularised music, the ad becomes something else. It becomes engaging.

Rowan James Slade

It’s all about the Idea!

You could have the greatest production team, the best global agency, and an amazing client. But just remember this does not mean anything with a bad idea.

Let me give you an example of a simple idea that was a pure genius. Do you remember the power cut during the third quarter of Super Bowl 2013, which caused the lights to go out for 34 minutes? The sandwich cookies brand, Oreo was quick to think in this situation and posted on social media ‘‘Power out? No problem. You can always dunk in the dark’.

 It revealed a simple picture of an Oreo cookie in a dark room. You could argue how Oreo was a great success compared to the other brands that paid for a spot in the memorable, global game. However I disagree with this theory as great ideas also went into all of those other commercials even If they didn’t think of it in 10 minutes. For example the Budweiser commercial- brotherhood, it worked because of the idea behind it. It was a surprising advertisement away from the typical alcohol ad. It told a warm, hearing story between a man and his horse that were separated, yet three years later they were reunited. It engaged the audience from the start as we questioned what the advertisement was for as it had a cinematic feel to it.

According to SJ Insights the number of ads that adults are now exposed to across all five media (TV, radio, Internet, newspapers and magazines) is about 360 per day; of these, only 150-155 are even noted, and far fewer make a strong enough impact to be recalled, make an impression, and ultimately, make a sale. It is vital that there is a strong idea behind any campaign; if your ad is noticed out of those 360 per day then you are on your way to success. One campaign that has stood our for me this week as my bus goes past it everyday is a campaign that was advertising Mardi Gras. It was the simplicity that made me love the outdoor advertisement. Instead of using a billboard outside Westfield in Bondi Junction they have simply made a mural to advertise Mardi Gras using a colourful set of wings, which, people can stand next to and take photos. This always grabs my attention, as the advertisement looks different every time I look at it with different people laughing and smiling, whilst taking photos with the wings. It is memorable as it made me feel happy. You could spend fortunes on a TV commercial or a print ad but if the idea is not relatable or doesn’t make your audience feel an emotion then it gets lost in the world of advertising.

Just remember the greatest ideas are the simplest.

Chloe Alexandra Geggus

Ad Students to develop Snapchat campaign ideas for RUOK?

As part of Macleay College’s commitment to project based learning, it was an honour to have Katherine Newton and Anastasia Symons, campaign manager and social media coordinator from the mental health organisation RUOK? on campus to brief the advertising & media students from the SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY class on developing some campaign ideas using Snapchat.

The project briefing was conducted as part of a guest lecture and podcast from the digital media strategist Dan Wilkinson from HotnDelicious: Rocks the Planet. Check out Dan’s website to listen to the podcast.

And watch this space to see what lecture Jeremy Taylor-Riley and his students come up with by the end of the trimester.

The SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY unit is run as part of the Diploma and Bachelor courses in Advertising & Media, and Digital Media at Macleay College campus’ in both Sydney and Melbourne.

 

Digital Design Goes “Hands On” with Positive Education

Macleay College is the only Australian Higher Education institution running a Positive Education program. As well as teaching our students industry based skills and practical theory, we also address their personal development and mental health through positive psychology.

This holistic approach in learning, is aimed at enriching the student’s wellbeing and emotional intelligence through tailored individual support and encouragement.

It gives the student a better understanding of themselves, their passions, their strengths and their goals. It helps them to better manage their life, relationships and  future careers through a greater understanding and use of empathy, gratitude and other positive emotions.

In a nutshell, the program aims to increase the student’s confidence, sense of wellbeing and happiness.

As part of the program, Macleay College has installed PosEd Kits in many of the classrooms across our Sydney and Melbourne campuses and students in the Digital Design Unit have been putting them to good use in Term One of the Advertising & Digital Media course.

One of our tasks was to take the free VIA Character Strength Test. This is a short ten minute assessment that takes students through a series of questions to determine their top character strengths. Armed with this list, the students are then asked to step away from their iMacs and use their hands to construct or draw visual representations of their favourite strengths.

The PosEd Kits are full of great stuff to get them started like Play Doh, feathers, buttons, coloured fabric, wood and paper. There are also ample large rolls of paper and Sharpies.

To begin with, the students had a lot of questions and curious looks. As they started to move around the room and choose their materials the noise levels increased and they were off and running.  There were lots of comparing notes on each other’s different strengths with most agreeing that the VIA Test had done a good job.

As I moved around the group, there were some initial awkwardness with speaking about their strengths but they were encouraged to start thinking beyond that and  how their personal brand could be visualised into an abstract object or pictorial form.

There was a sense of enjoy in the room so I popped on some music and spent the next hour watching their creations unfold. The next part of the workshop was to take their physical objects and turn them into a digital piece of artwork. The students could take photos, load them up into Illustrator and use this as a template to create a kind of personal logo.

This was the first time I’ve been involved in a workshop like this so there  is some tweaking I’d still like to do but it was one of the most enjoyable sessions I’ve run. It was  one of those days when you get home, put your feet up and smile!

Jason Gemenis is Macleay’s Digital Ninja
lecturing in Digital Design, Advanced
Digital Design and Visualisation across Macleay’s
Dip Advertising & Media, Dip Digital Media,
BA Advertising & Media & BA Digital Media.

Social Media Strategy and Brand Influencers

 

What a thrill for Macleay College’s Advertising & Digital Media students to be delivered a guest lecture on social media strategy and brand influencers from two of the best: HotnDelicious strategist Dan Wilkinson (https://hotndelicious.com/) and model & fashion blogger Lauren Vickers (http://www.laurenvickers.com) – all as a live podcast in Macleay College’s multi-media studio.

Programmatics – WTF?

Programmatic ads have changed the game in online advertising, but there’s still heaps of confusion around what it actually is and how it all works. So let’s break it down. Programmatic buying refers to any ad space bought automatically on a web page these can be bought by 1. Bidding for one space or two. Buying it directly. These spaces are bid on its called programmatic real-time bidding (RTB) this is what serves internet users with display advertising on the web.

But where do they do all this buying and bidding? Well, all the interesting stuff happens on Ad exchange.  Ad exchange will auction off the space to the highest bidder, then the add will appear when the page is done loading. So basically as a page loads, if it has ad space on it that’s available to be bid on, info about the web page and who’s viewing it is passed on to an ad exchange and an auction will be held. The prices of the ad spaces completely depend’s on how much buyers are willing to pay.

You’ve probably confused, how could there be an auction in a matter of seconds that it takes to load a page?! But that’s exactly how long an auction on ad exchange will take. It happens so quickly because advertisers use a fully automated software demand side platform (DSP) to help them decide which ad space to purchase and to bid on ads for them. This does remove the need for human sales people, negotiation skills and a huge amount of time as these decisions are made immediately and simply the highest bidder wins.

The Use of RTB means advertisers no longer have to purchase ad space for a set amount of money for a set amount of time on websites they assume will bring them traffic instead ads can be specifically targeted to relevant audiences across a wide range of sites and prices and can all be managed in real time!

Programmatic advertising has taken a lot of stress off agency’s when buying ads as the process of buying has become much more efficient and cheap. Agencies no longer have to research the best ad space to place an ad, rely on an admin heavy process and manually place the ad before the ad is even running. Now thanks to programmatic advertising’s marketers can now have faster access to ad inventory, complete pricing control and immediate and seamless delivery.

Sophie Robertson

Sell Me Content… ‘A New Word To Help Sell An Old Concept!’

Content marketing is a strategic way of attracting and engaging a defined targeted audience. Brands distribute valuable or relevant information to ‘pull in’ consumers, rather than using traditional advertising, which focuses on ‘pushing’ out a message.

Content is designed not to interrupt, but to interact.

From simply uploading an image or news article to Facebook, to putting peoples names on coke bottles or Jack Daniel’s sponsoring a YouTube video that shows ‘behind the scenes’ of a music producer, content marketing is on the rise. Boosted by the growth of social media, its effective and getting more and more creative and innovative.

I don’t believe people are ‘fooled’ by it. They know that its marketing based, but it doesn’t matter, if they like it, they will engage and interact.

However, Content is not a new concept. It is simply indirect information or entertainment targeted to a consumer segment market. Brands have been doing this forever…
Whether it’s a Magazine article in “Women’s Weekly,” informing you on how to get the cleanest clothes from your washing machine (brought to you by Cold Power) or MTV interviewing a popular rock band.

Content is not a new concept.It’s just a new word. And we have a shiny new potential lathered platform to use it.

It’s a word advertisers like to throw around to sound smarter. To add a little ‘pizzazz’ to what they’re talking about.

The idea hasn’t changed. It’s been around since the beginning…

How do we advertise without annoying the consumer with the same repetitive message over and over?

Lets give them something they’re interested in, and throw our logo in there somewhere or good measure. BOOM. Content.
But you still need a great idea, and how do you sell an idea? What can you use to help sell something that has yet to be proven to work?

You use jargon.

An internally constructed ad language that makes you sound like a wanker, but a wanker that knows what his talking about. Words like programmatic, channels, platforms, integrated, traffic, ideation and organic reach.
You use it to make old concepts sound new again.

Advertisers have the ideas, but they need to sell them to clients. They need to sound fresh, on top of it and impressive. They need to have a bit of the dodgy car salesman approach, or they might lose the account. All agencies have good ideas. But it’s a hard fought fight to see who can sell theirs the best.

Smother the client in so much jargon that they can’t understand what you’re saying, but they think you’re a genius… a wanker, but a genius as well.

Daniel Fitzsimmons