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

Proof Good Production [Not To Mention Script & Actors] Make All The Difference …
May 15, 2013, 6:12 am
Filed under: Comment

Compare this ad for 7-11 in Australia …

… with this for Four n’ 20 pies, also in Australia …

They’re basically saying the same thing to the same audience except one doesn’t make you feel you’re watching a car crash unfold in front of your eyes.

I know making ads can be horrifically expensive … I know a lot of them are nothing more than pretentious and egotistical style over zero or bland substance … I even know a lot of agencies make most of their money from doing television shoots, but when you see the horror of a commercial that’s been made – and developed – on the uber cheap, you realize that maybe adland actually knows what they’re talking about and instead of trying to rip you off, they’re actually trying to help you stand a chance of prospering.

And don’t give me any of that, “but the 7-11 ad is so bad, it’s good and memorable” shit, because ‘disruptive’ doesn’t always mean commercially attractive – just ask TBWA and some of their Singapore Airways ads.

33 Comments so far
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The barista in the 7-11 ad deserves an oscar. So subtle, so graceful, so believable.

Comment by DH

Did you notice how I used the technical term for coffee shop monkey?

Comment by DH

That’s because you used to spend all your time at that place opposite the Gansevoort rather than in the bloody office. If you didn’t know the ‘professional name’ for them after that, there was no hope for anyone.

Comment by Rob

ive seen more believable shit on jersey fucking shore.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’ve watched Jersey Shore? Campbell’s influence I presume.

Comment by DH

i would rather eat my own cock than watch that shit. i saw a trailer, that was more than enough. ill change my statement. ive seen more believable planning decks. does that satisfy dave the fucking critic?

Comment by andy@cynic

You need to watch Geordie Shore Andy, it’s utterly stupendous. Well, the first 2 series are, after that it all gets a bit same-same.

Mind you, that hasn’t stopped me loving every season of every version of ‘Real Housewives of ________’

Comment by Rob

the true fucking test of the ads is i now want a fucking pie but would rather drink my own piss than have a fucking coffee.

this is almost a defense of adland here campbell. dont let it happen again. youll be saying planners are useful next.

Comment by andy@cynic

You want a pie? I want a bucket.

Comment by DH

This isn’t just a demonstration of bad/good production values, but also bad/better script writing. That 7/11 ad is terrible. Are you sure it’s not a student film. It would be bad for that but as a piece of commercial communication, it’s a horror film.

Comment by Pete

Apparently 7-11’s PR company did it. Hopefully it’s their old PR company. Maybe if they gave it a reason for being so cheap [ie: the quality of this ad only represents the cheapness of our prices, not the quality of our coffee] I’d be a little bit harsh on them … [a little bit] … but no, they’ve gone out thinking this is Oscar winning.

What were they – and the client – thinking!?

Comment by Rob

they werent. thats how you end up with shit like this.

Comment by andy@cynic

When did Australians get television?

Comment by Billy Whizz

They stole them off the Brits.

Comment by Rob

Hey, what you saying there?? … greetings from Oz

Comment by Jimi Bostock

I think it’s clever how 7-11 showed how cheap their coffee costs by making an ad for exactly the same price.

Comment by George

Oh, I didn’t see you said this and I’ve just written a comment saying basically the same thing. Damn you George.

Comment by Rob

Not sure I like either of them. The first tells me I can get coffee at 7-11 “without attitude” but I just don’t believe it’ll be good coffee. Oh it’ll be cheap – but people who want cheap would never have been in the high-end coffee shop to begin with. (And the low production budget is totally appropriate for a low price brand like 7-11.)

The second compares apples with oranges. The business types in the restaurant (drinking – which is always good) can grab a pie later. But the guys in the truck won’t be in the restaurant. It’s a sociological observation that may keep pie eaters eating pie…but won’t grow the business.

They are both examples, in my mind, of the latest plague hitting adland: creative work being written by oiks too young to have lived.

Comment by Dave

Rob once took the head of nike out for lunch and bought him kebab and chips. True story.

Comment by DH

Yes I did. To be fair, I took him to a Greek restaurant to which he announced he hated greek food. When I told him I didn’t like it much either, he said “well, while we’re here, we might as well have the one thing that is half acceptable” which – to my utter delight – was kebab and chips.

So I’m not totally to blame … which is a shame, because that would make a better story.

Mind you, I once took people from Vogue to Harry’s Cafe de Wheels [the best pie shop in Oz] and they spilt meat all over their expensive clothes. That was quite a good day …

Comment by Rob

yeah campbell, its all your fucking clients fault isnt it.

Comment by andy@cynic

They’re very parochial … and I appreciate your point about the 4 and 20 pie ad … but it was for Australia, where they eat that shit up and all love pies, so maybe it wasn’t as closed off as you might first think.

Comment by Rob

Love the point about production.
That’s what bugs me about clients’ approach to social, they think it means cheap and easy, when the key is actually better and more interesting.
Anyway, all this anti-disruption talk is giving me a semi.

Comment by northern

Don’t set me off on clients who think ‘social’ is free advertising. Oh my god, have they no respect for their audience, let alone their brand.

Comment by Rob

And I’,m typing this looking at a pair of Birkenstocks wondering what I have done.
I’ll be down to Army Surplus next

Comment by northern

If you need some shirts, I have 3,582 I can give you.

Comment by Rob

Worryingly I’ve just realised I’m wearing a very army looking shirt.
Christ, I’m turning into you, but without the talent or money

Comment by northern

get a fucking room you pair of twats.

and a piece of shit has more talent than campbell so stop fishing for fucking compliments groper. but youre right about the money. he has shitloads of it because the fucker stole it from me.

Comment by andy@cynic

You misundertand, he’s talented at conning people out of money. He’s bloody Paul Newman in The Sting.

Comment by northern

I was going to say 7 11 would need to sell a lot of $1 coffee to pay for that ad, but with hindsight, I think they would only need to sell 2 cups.

Comment by Lee Hill

terrific ads and simply love d’em:)

Comment by vishalbheeroo

Interesting discussion. A mate sent me a llink to this. I wrote that Four’n Twenty ad as well as the first one.

Just to give you a bit of background, the director was Ray Lawrence and we couldn’t have picked a better person. Ray is a minimalist and works by constatntly taking away things until the focus of the communication is so sharp, it’s perfect. So yes, get a great director and production team.

Casting was also a strength of his. He found great talent and gave them latitude to act. The two guys in the restaurant played the role of utter wankers so well, we actually had letters from people defending them (also wankers, of course) and saying that they were offended by the way the guy swished the wine around.

The two guys in the truck were the genuine article and couldn’t believe they were actually getting paid to eat as many pies as they wanted. Their tune changed after about twenty pies, but early in the day, they were living the dream.

In terms of the script, it was something of an autobiographical piece, so I had a real connection to the tone and manner of the workers, having spent plenty of time with guys like that. By that stage of my career, I had finally learned to underwrite a script for TV and radio. So thirty seconds of airtime means 15 seconds of dialogue. Then there is room for the actors to act, time to have silences and pauses for effect. The pace can be balanced and the sense of space that gives the viewer stands out from the cram-it-all-in style. Less is more.

From the client’s point of view, they get more bang for their buck as well. There’s time to show a sense of appetite apeal, make the product look amazing and the pack shot has room to breathe.

Did the ads work? Yup. They focus tested them for about five years and every time, the groups would come back with: “We love them. No need to change anything, just show them more often.” Sales spiked whenever they ran as well.

The 7-11 ad might have been OK. With a leaner script focussed on one or two key moments, some quirky talent and decent lighting and camera work, who knows?

Marcus ‘Doc’ Johnson

Comment by Marcus Johnson

Hi Marcus, thank you very much for writing and giving such a good background to the story. God knows who sent you the link, but I hope you don’t hate them for it.

As I said, I like the Four n’ Twenty Pie ad for all the reasons I’ve mentioned in the post. The 7-11 just doesn’t work for me – again, for all the reasons I’ve said in the post – but I do appreciate that if the script had been tighter and more $’s spent on production, I may have been picking on the latest ‘LOWES’ ad than this.

I hope you took my comments in the manner they were meant. As for everyone else’s point of view, that’s their issue, not mine. Ha.

Comment by Rob

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