Despite being here for a little over three years, I still feel like a guest in this country, one who feels privileged to live in such a great city. In New Zealand, we have a tendency to be overly harsh when reviewing our local work. Does this help fuel our creative industry? Perhaps. But, in doing so, we sometimes forget how precious good ideas are and how challenging it can be to get them to market. So, with that in mind, I’m going to focus on the positives and try not to outstay my welcome.
It’s easy to highlight a problem, but it’s harder to offer a solution. What works well here is Barnardo’s (2) "Believe in me" does both. It doesn’t shy away from the environment and challenges that these kids have had to endure. But it also shows them not as victims but as strong individuals deserving of our support. This positivity is supported by a great soundtrack too, with Lorde covering an old classic… but then I would say that.
Haig Club Clubman (1). I’m not the target market for these print ads – you’re either a whisky drinker or you’re not. And I’m not, which makes me feel like an outsider from this exclusive club. They’re playing safe within the category, and perhaps that’s the point. But it’s hard not to think of Bill Murray getting lost in Suntory time, or other brands using David Beckham in a more interesting way.
Purpose has become a powerful marketing tool and it’s important for a brand to talk about what it stands for, rather than what it does. Natwest’s (4) "We are what we do" has much to admire but somehow falls short. The decision to shoot in black and white is lost on me – it feels darker than it needs to and the sudden appearance of a staff member is clunky at best. But, despite this, there is a bold message behind it and I’m looking forward to seeing how this campaign develops.
It was inevitable that we’d see the (ex) Top Gear team endorsing Amazon (3) products. But while the humour in "The delivery" is decent, just like Chris Evans’ shot at car banter it falls short of the original. Yes, there is a look when the BBC is mentioned but, for a man who’s known for being honest, he’s disappointingly restrained.
Perhaps he’d eaten. It feels like a missed opportunity to have a bit of fun, so hopefully the new show will be better. I loathe karaoke, so I was particularly worried when I saw that YOPA (5) was using Village People in its latest TV campaign. However, I shouldn’t have been. These spots pleasantly surprise and there were some charming moments that made me smile. They have a simple strategy – ingrain Yopa in the consumers’ mind – and manage to do it without leaving an annoying song in my head. It also left me pondering how they still look so young. Cue the music…