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

Humble Pie Made Of Fresh Campbell’s …
September 8, 2009, 6:46 am
Filed under: Comment

Sorry Dru Baby!

Morning. How are you all?

Hope you had a good weekend and are feeling relaxed, healthy and happy.

Don’t worry, I haven’t become ‘nice’, I am just making sure you are in the right frame of mind before I subject you to something so horrific, you might require hospital treatment.

Before I get to that, I need to say something.

Sorry TBWA.

Yep … I’m apologising.

What for?

Well we’ll get to that in a minute.

The thing is, I’ve always been a fan of TBWA.

Sure they seem to now spend more time talking about ‘disruption’ than doing it … but when its led to them creating such brilliant campaigns for ADIDAS, PlayStation and Apple, you know it’s something that still lives throughout the company.

[And that’s just the ‘glory brands’, they’ve done consistently awesome work – if not as well known – for a whole host of companies, with their NZ, SA & Amsterdam offices being especially prolific]

Anyway, the reason I owe them an apology is because I have given them a bit of a hard time as of late.

Singapore Airlines … Pepsi … Visa … they’ve all copped a certain amount of my shit.

To be fair to me, I did say at the time that I felt the [bad] quality of the work was more to do with client interference than the agency themselves … however that still doesn’t excuse the fact their work for Visa is about as appropriate as inviting Gary Glitter to a children’s birthday party … their ‘Goodbye Michael’ Pepsi ad had all the taste of a 50 year old Russian Oil Billionaire’s wife and their SIA everything is one of the biggest disasters the airline industry has ever seen.

Or is it?

Well, in the case of the VISA and Pepsi debacles, I think the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ … however as much as I [1] don’t think the SIA work does any credit to the truly magnificent experience you get when you fly SIA [2] the campaign makes the brand look totally and utterly ‘beige’ and [3] it offers no reason to choose SIA over another airline … I have had something brought to my attention that shows that as bad as it is, it’s still not as bad as some of the stuff they used to churn out.

Before I show it, I should point out that I know the ad from a very long time ago, however there’s 2 things that don’t let that get used as a decent excuse …

1/ SIA’s international reputation was built – genuinely built – on great advertising, so it’s not like they weren’t used to doing good stuff.

2/ My Mum is quite old and she has managed to be consistently brilliant and relevant throughout the years.

Jesus, how bad is that eh? And why do SIA girls only take one outfit with them? Are they thick or just badly paid? Boom Tish. [Copyright Media Mag]

In all seriousness, that’s really terrible isn’t it.

And they can’t even use the excuse that it was ‘a reflection of the time’ because as I mentioned earlier, they’d already done some great, timeless work prior to this abomination.

For a brand that pioneered so much … from using their hostesses to symbolise ‘service’ [something every airline has tried to copy since – even though interms of ‘real experience’, only a few can claim to be anywhere close] through to identifying the potential in being the first to order and operate the absolutelyfuckinghuge A380 … it’s tragic that where their communication was concerned, they allowed the Singaporean trait of ‘conservatism’ to erode the vision, drive, bravery and genius that had been so instrumental in helping them build such an airline superpower in the first place.

In other words, while SIA may not of been the sort of brand people expected to come from as small a country as Singapore … their advertising most definitely was.

Sadly, instead of going back to making the sort of great communication that had helped them build such a strong emotional connection with so many people, they succumbed to the clichéd and aspirationally bland ad style of so many Asian brands … and when, for all intents and purposes, SIA basically represents their country of origin to the wider World [especially to Western audiences, who otherwise only know the island by such clichés as ‘no chewing gum, no drugs, capital punishment and disturbingly clean streets’] I can’t help but feel continuing this approach has the potential to undermine both the airline and the country as a whole.

SIA is one of those rare brands where the product is way, way, way better than the ads … and putting aside the fact their communication is similar to all the other twaddle put out by the airline industry [which is especially outrageous when the actual flying experience is so far ahead of most of them] I can’t help but feel that if someone who doesn’t know Singapore sees the campaign, it almost reinforces all the preconceived conceptions of the country and that is both unfair and unjust because it really is a wonderful place.

So taking all this into account, I want to formally apologise to TBWA for the piss I took out of their ads.

As I said previously, in my heart-of-hearts I knew they were pretty much innocent in all of this – not just because I knew they had Freddie pushing like a demon for them to embrace the right path again – but because TBWA are pretty bloody good, especially for a massive network … so I leave this post with the simple hope that SIA go back to the times where they wanted to change the skies forever, because the attitude of ‘flying with the best’ isn’t the same as the one that got them where they now reside: to be the best.

A great brand experience deserves great brand advertising … please SIA, aim higher.

23 Comments so far
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poor pete. just as he thought he was seeing a more consistently ferocious side of campbell, along comes this pile of shit.

you meant this post to run yesterday didnt you rob, why else would you start this by saying you hoped we all had a good weekend unless youre really fucking slow. oh sorry, its not good to mock the afflicted is it. fuck it, you started it and with the practise youve had, you can take it.

to quote cliched soccer pundits, this is a post of 2 halves. both arent very fucking enthralling but the first half was much fucking worse than the second.

at least you warm up when you get to slagging off singapore airlines with some fair fucking points but the tbwa stuff? fuck me, whats going on there?

theyre a decent bunch and dru is a legend but youre fawning like some 2bit chat show host on regional tv who has managed to bag some z grade star who lives in london. cut it out.

if yesterdays post was a b+ todays is a c- which based on marie fucking claires theory is a downward trend so buck the fuck up.

and that singapore airlines ad is fucking ghastly, even the trolley dolly looks like she works for ba or something.

Comment by andy@cynic

What Andy said.

Comment by John

It’s not that bad, but I do admit there is a worrying downward trend in the quality of blog posts, even if this one did have a rousing and passionate finale. 🙂

On the positive side you’ll be on Mr Disruptions Christmas card list. LOL.

Comment by Pete

still trying to get in my pants i see doddsy.

youre only human. supposedly.

Comment by andy@cynic

OK … OK … I accept this is a bit of a ‘bluster’ post, but its not the worst it is?

I’m positive I’ve written far worse stuff over the last couple of years and putting the TBWA bit aside, it’s got some relevance hasn’t it.


Comment by Rob

I of course have never seen a piece of communication from TBWA where Disruption or Media Arts have not created memorable pieces of work that rewrite the advertising lexicon.

Comment by northern

I think NP deserves to win TBWA’s employee of the decade for that comment.

Oh hang on, did I say ’employee of the decade’ … sorry I meant ‘corporate toady of the year; but with Daddyhood beckoning for him any day now, it’s the sort of smart thinking you expect from our man in pigeonland.

PS: “work that rewrites the advertising lexicon” is the sort of phrase I dream about saying. With a straight face that is … 🙂

Comment by Rob

I hope don’t suspect any insincerity in the above comment. I love making the world fit into the twin prisms of Disruption and Media Arts, both truly original ways of building brands.

Comment by northern

Insincerity? Me? I thought you knew me well NP.

Comment by Rob

I can confirm that you have written worse posts than this and will do so again.

Comment by John

I love how they struggle to find an end for the song… horrible.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hah, genius comment NP.

Disruption feels (from my outside view) like the sort of thing that is brilliant with great planners and creatives, and dangerous with bad ones… good job they have NP and Freddie among them!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

They don’t have Freddie anymore – he went to BBH.

And John, as a man who continually finds new ways to reach new depths, I sadly accept your observation – and I think it’s fair to say that tomorrow, I’ll be another 3 feet lower than today.

Comment by Rob

I’m having a cup of tea right now.

Comment by Marcus

Comments like that make me very happy Marcus.

It’s all been a bit serious as of late around here and knowing you’re having a cup of tea just makes this blog better.

What sort of tea and what shade is it?

Maybe NP will have a perspective on what you’re shoving down your throat … I hope so, it’ll be like the good ol’ days when this blog was errrrrrm, not good – but maybe a bit more interesting.

Comment by Rob

Oh yeah…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

*waves to Marcus*

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Thank you Mr M … 🙂

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

Here’s the deal: Haddock.

Comment by Marcus

Dear Sir,

as the director of the Nigerian national fisheries association I am duty bound to approach about this matter of immense urgency. Sadly, Mr. Sergeant Umganja chief cod offer and long serving member of the fishery association has passed away. Happily you are his only heir! Joy!

It has been disposed upon my good self to ensure that you receive the 20 Tonnes of Haddock, 50 Tonnes of Cod and 152.4 Tonnes of Nigerian Eels within due time. The fish are dead but looking lovely.

In order to receive this princely sum of fish you simply need to transfer the sum of 5.000.000. U.S. Dollars to the Nigerian national fisheries association (this covers the legal costs and fish tax for the overall Tonnage of fish).

Mr. Segeant Umganja II Jnr.

Comment by Mr. Segeant Umganja II Jnr.

reckon billys last girlfriend would have described him as a dead fish so ill see if the fucker fancies taking you up on your offer and be reunited with the rest of his sexual inadequate family and if the tattooed love god says no, ill send you campbells details because hed use them as his fucking deodorant.

good call mr umganja. think i know your soft drink baron brother, mr umbongo. does he still live in the congo and produce shit ads?

Comment by andy@cynic

Hahahaha… genius Andy.

I love the ad though.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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