Understanding The Touristic Worldview: Tourism Australia’s ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’
Agency: DDB Sydney
Client: Tourism Australia
What exactly is tourism? And more to the point, how does one articulate its desires through representation?
Tourism is an odd conjunction of ambitions, projections of future subjectivity (“I’ll be a different person on the Mongolian Steppe” etc), social cachet and quite simply, wanting to have fun. In light of the consternation currently being expressed about the inaccuracy of some of the scenes in Tourism Australia’s new ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ TVC, it’s necessary to point out the difference between the representation of Australia, its people and its culture, and the representation of the touristic imaginary that focuses on Australia.
Ethically, they should coincide to a large degree: misrepresentation and negative stereotyping is reprehensible. However, seeing the world as a tourist necessarily mediates your experience through your hopes, and need to project yourself into a different place and time.
From this perspective, DDB’s ad is understandable and acceptable. The cinematic panning shots signify luxury and quite plainly portray what is a truly spectacular landscape. However, the tagline flags an unfortunate paradox: it’s a truism that there’s no place like Australia, much like there is no place like so many other places. Australia, rendered in such competent High Definition, remains undifferentiated from elsewhere.
See the spot here.
Twee under Tattoos - Hungry Jack’s ‘There’s Nothing Naughty About It’
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Sydney
Client: Hungry Jack’s
There’s a memorable transformation at the centre of this TVC from Clemenger BBDO Sydney: a Glam-Goth rocker chick eats a burger, and in the process her tattoos and cultivated appearance fade until she looks thoroughly suburban, middle-class and unpierced. Critically, she sees herself in the mirror and is horrified by the change.
The first reason her shocked reaction is important is that it cements the extraordinariness of what is an inversion of the standard depiction of change; change usually moves from normal to not-normal, and not the other way round.
The second reason it’s important is her terror completes the message “you’ll be surprised”, which creates the connection to the ‘There’s Nothing Naughty About It’ tagline. Without the narrative driven message, the visual representation - a tattooed rocker woman - provides only weak connection to the tagline. This certainly isn’t an indentificatory ad.
Overall, the ad conveys a twee message to ‘calorie conscious women’ that Hungry Jack’s is off the ‘naughty list’, which is either mildly charming or slightly insulting. Nevertheless, this ad is efficacious because it hides its conservative, simple message in a distracting veneer.
See the spot.
Outside, then outta there. Converse’s ‘Let’s Take This Outside’
Agency: Not known (to be updated)
Client: Converse Australia
There are free shoes out there: all you have to do is find them. Converse’s new campaign places shoes in different locations across major cities in Australia, encouraging participants to find them and take home a free pair. Converse gives visual clues to the locations of the shoes on Facebook by providing photos of distinct but tightly cropped architectural details with Cons logo stencilled onto them.
This isn’t a product giveaway campaign. There is little chance that anyone would actually find the shoes, and if they did, they would probably be the wrong size. However, this campaign is effective precisely because the possibility of free shoes exists. The images suggest a neat serendipity of free shoes in an iconographically strong container.
While there is nothing particularly clever about this campaign, its virtue lies in its speed and concision. You see the promo image, you check facebook, you see the clues, you glance at the Cons range (hey, they have nicer shoes than I thought), and voila! the exercise is complete.
Nice ideas hidden behind a bad product: ‘Bing is for doing’
Agency: BMF Sydney
BMF’s Bing campaign is a clear example of a good approach hamstrung by a inadequate, ineffectual product.
Research tells me that BMF conducted a multiplatform campaign across tv, YouTube, Xbox, a particularly innovative video content viewer named Slider, and the locus of the campaign: the campaign headline titled bingisfordoing.com.
I easily browsed the TV spots on the site (which, in an ominous portent, looks like a lot-res version of google) and found them to be clear and worthwhile. The strong, succinct tagline ‘Bing is for doing’ is well presented through the documentaries about young filmmakers, who themselves are a metaphor for generation y’s ‘doing’ attitude, or at least Bing’s representation of it.
However, my desire to see Slider in action - and depart from the Bing interface - led me to search Bing for the campaign and technology… an unamusing and ironic failure.
When your major competitor is a verb, life, it seems, is going to be tough for a long time.
International: Sir Richard’s ‘Vagina Rules’
Client: Sir Richard’s
‘What won’t you put in your vagina?’ asks TDA_Boulder’s new ad campaign for condom maker Sir Richard. An excellent question, in fact, that foregrounds two very important issues: women’s sexual health and consent.
Interviewees in the TV spot respond to the question bemusedly, mainly citing certain types of men (investment bankers and bakers etc). This pragmatic, personable levity works extremely well to not only remove some reticence to discuss what comes into contact with a vagina in sex, but shifts condom advertising to directly target women.
I honestly can’t remember ever having seen a condom campaign for women (perhaps that’s my male eyes speaking).
The humour of the TVC unfortunately overpowers the commercial message; Sir Richard’s condoms may be free of additives, but that seems a secondary concern. I find myself fascinated by the overall message of the campaign, but forgetful of the product itself, a fact not helped by the ambivalent branding of the campaign and the product.
Sir Richard’s may have made an impression, but I feel it may need significant reinforcement before it becomes the dominant condom choice for women, a place to which it should aspire.
See the TVC
Arnott’s ‘Truly Madly Tim Tam’
Agency: DDB Sydney
Everybody loves Tim Tams; the chocolate biscuits are smothered with love almost to the point of genericide. Nevertheless, re-articulating the extent goodwill toward Tim Tams into advertising is a good strategy, and one successfully undertaken in this campaign.
Starting with the headline ‘Truly Madly Tim Tam’ and asking facebook fans to respond, DDB took the comment ‘I wish Tim Tams grew on trees’ and created an experiential installation in Sydney’s Martin Place. The physical manifestation of that user comment - trees covered in Tim Tams - is playful and funny, a little astonishing and appealing to a very broad audience, as the TVC makes clear.
Where the concept goes awry is the link between the overall campaign headline and the ‘Tim Tams on trees’ experiential. The link from ‘Truly Madly Tim Tam’ to a request for fan comments is clear, and the link between the user comment and the Tim Tam trees is clever. However, when shown in the TVC, the middle step is elided, and the connection from ‘Truly Madly Tim Tam’ to the Martin Place installation seems weak.
This connection, however, may be acceptable in the long run if the Truly Madly Tim Tam campaign continues. In the meantime, it weakens an otherwise strong campaign that effectively carries its core concept across channels.
Red Bull Tweets to Beats
Agency: TBWA Tequila
Client: Red Bull Australia
From maniacs in wing suits to promo girls in Red Bull can Mini Coopers, the Red Bull marketing juggernaut marauds into the music world.
Part of the Red Bull beat suite site, which also promotes Red Bull sponsored gigs, the Tweets to Beats
page gives the user a simple interface where text and hashtags can be converted into a music track.
The track is basic and boring. Who exactly this site appeals to is uncertain. Anybody into the music promoted by Red Bull (ie. Aloe Blacc) or the accompanying visual designers (ENESS), will a) not be bothered or b) not impressed. And the kids, well, the kids have already downloaded Ableton.
However, the simple layout and a straight forward premise make the site quite engaging. The muted primary colour palette continues the site’s overall de-tuned feel to a pleasant effect: the design is not blaringly Red Bull, but a muted, cooler version.
What the site does well is add Red Bull branded user produced content into the twitter and fb timelines of friends; peer distributed content that’ll fill the gap until we all start giving out branded biometrics (à la Nike Fuel).