Lessons learned from 2018's advertising

  • ICG

In 2015 ad contrarian Bob Hoffman declared “TV isn’t dying, it’s just having babies”, and looking back at the best ads of 2018, this year has been an example of that.


If the Year in Reviews posted on StopPress over the holiday period are anything to go by, there’s plenty of support for Lotto’s ‘Armoured Truck’ spot by DDB when industry folk were asked to name their favourite ad.




The ad tells the story of a heartwarming friendship between armoured truck drivers Sateesh and Ray. It watches as they drive out of the city with a truck full of money, much to Sateesh’s frustration as he thinks they will be sent to jail when caught. However, little does he know that he and Ray had actually won Lotto and the money is theirs.


Not only are locals fans of the work, UK strategist Peter Field told StopPress when visiting New Zealand it’s an intriguing and great piece of storytelling that ticks all the boxes.


There’s an emotional payoff after an emotional rollercoaster which is important.”


The pair were then brought back again for Christmas in a reunion that saw the tables turn when Sateesh plays a trick on Ray.




This matching luggage approach to campaigns not only works on TV, it also helps brands extend their reach across multiple platforms.


This year, Mercury did just that with its ‘The Great Escape’ campaign by FCB – a continuation of its ‘Energy Made wonderful’ brand platform.




The campaign saw the introduction of a 57 Ford Fairlane given a new lease of life with an electric motor.


Dubbed ‘Evie’, the electric vehicle was not only the star of the show in a 90-second TVC, it featured in a series of 30-second and six-second online videos, as well as billboards.





And if that wasn’t enough, Evie hit the road and travelled around the country as a moving logo for the brand.


The way Evie’s character was able to feature on a number of platforms as a familiar reference to the campaign is an example of how a TVC can extend beyond the TV and adapt to each platform in the process.


When explaining the idea toStopPress, Field used the example of Cinderella, saying if it was a brand story told in a TVC, an image of mice or a glass slipper could feature in an out-of-home campaign or online video.


“Success is about a multichannel world, not a one channel world and that’s what people need to understand.”


Is TV a must-have?


But what about the brands that can’t afford the budgets of TV?


In October, Professor Karen Nelson-Field, of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Amplified Intelligence, visited New Zealand to present her researchthat strips down each advertising platform to take a look at how each draws attention and results in sales. While TV was found to command the greatest attention and therefore deliver greater sales, Nelson-Field appreciates the cost of TV is not feasible for all.


Her advice to those only using digital is to go for reach and visibility with whichever platform they can afford.


“Now that might not mean TV, that might be cinema, outdoor or magazines depending on the budget. In a video sense, if you can’t afford TV production, the key take out here is to go for reach and visibility with as much as you have.”


Earlier this year, StopPress partnered up with Zavy to create The StopPress + Zavy Social Scoreboard. It’s a real-time ranking of social performance by pulling together brand activity across social and digital media to give an overall score of brand performance.


It looks at Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and performance on each social media channel is based on the engagement and sentiment metrics unique to that channel.


Air New Zealand, McDonald’s and KFC have been dominating it since it launched in June and breaking it down into the types of posts got fans clicking the most, it was product­- and giveaway-themed posts.


In August, Air New Zealand teased fans about the arrival of a new ATR-72 plane by sharing a picture alongside the question “How many countries did it visit on the way to its new home?” The question encouraged engagement as well as likes. https://www.facebook.com/AirNewZealand/photos/a.216147425776/10155691453140777/?type=3


In the same month, McDonald’s drew attention with a ‘Limited Time Offer’. Not only was the deal a crowd-pleaser, adding a time cap on the promotion created excitement and fear of missing out.




However, while there’s an attraction to likes, Zavy says social media markers need to focus on the type of activity and content that creates a greater ROI and grows their brands.


It also adds that equally important is looking outside the brand activity and pages to understand what New Zealanders are talking and care about in their ‘natural’ conversations, not just how they respond to marketing messages.


“This provides a crucial feedback loop in creating content that people find relevant as well as aligning your brand to the appropriate social issues and causes,” says Zavy.


“In turn, this creates brand warmth and we measure this through the positive sentiment a brand receives in social media.”


One conversation this year has been around single-use plastic bags and New World is one of the supermarkets that’s pledged to stop providing plastic bags.


To promote the move, it took to social media and according to Zavy, this boosted its brand positive sentiment by +45 percent.




Pulling at the heartstrings


While Zavy suggests brands tap into ‘natural conversations’ on social media, when it comes to TV, Field and Les Binet, Adam & Eve/DDB head of effectiveness, told StopPress it’s emotion that gives TV its brand building power.


To see that point in action, you only need to look as far back as this year’s collection of Christmas ads from around the world.


Once again, John Lewis delivered a festive spectacle and this year the focus was on Elton John. Called ‘The Boy and The Piano’, the ad looks at John’s relationship with the piano since he was a child by working backwards chronologically through his life until the moment he receives a piano for Christmas.




In its first month online, it saw over 12 million views on YouTube and drew plenty of commentary on Twitter – so much so it came out on top, alongside very.co.uk, in research commissioned by Intermarketing Agency that looks at retailers’ Christmas ad performance on social.


The ads are ranked on consumer engagement and Nickii Gray, managing partner or Intermarketing Agency told The Drum, the John Lewis and very.co.uk ads inspire high feelings of joy and trust among consumers – reactions that are key in terms of brand engagement.


“Understanding the emotional impact of brand messages and advertisements on customers can help brands more successfully engage their target audiences. And it’ll be interesting to see how this emotional connection translates into sales when the figures are announced in January...”


And while the wait is on to see how ‘The Boy and The Piano’ impacted sales, it’s already demonstrated the power of an idea that makes people sit up and pay attention.


Because, it doesn’t matter where the ad is, or how many platforms its across, DDB chief creative officer Damon Stapleton says, being everywhere, averagely, is just another way of saying you are nowhere.


“We have never needed brilliance in our industry more than we do now. For that, you need great ideas. Ideas that blow your mind and demand your attention. Ideas that are exciting, audacious and very unboring. Ideas that have impact. Ideas you won’t forget.”


Contributed by Erin Mckenzie - Editor NZ Marketing Magazine & StopPress

Written by ICG