In 2015, Shine and Hyundai earned the ignominy of winning New Zealand’s worst ad of the year, with a spot widely condemned for being too overbearing (by fun-hating complainers without a heart).
But the brand and the agency have bounced back this year, claiming Fair Go’s Ad of the Year Award—and, quite remarkably, they’ve done it with virtually the same ad so widely abhorred last year.
So how does an ad go from being the worst to the best in the course of a year?
Upon awkwardly receiving the worst ad gong last year, Hyundai's Andy Sinclair and Shine's James Hall admitted the original ad was too shouty and that it needed to be toned down in the edit suite.
The volume was turned down, the number of screaming scenes were reduced and some of the lines in the script were changed.
“They weren’t massive changes, but I think they were paramount to the viewers’ enjoyment,” said a much more chipper Hall in his interview this year.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes in the new version of the ad was the decision to change the line at the end of the ad from ‘Get lost, dad’ to ‘Let’s get lost, dad’.
Some Kiwis found the former phrasing to be disrespectful to the father, which led to a significant level of criticism on social media.
Despite this consistent stream of negative feedback, many viewers loved the sentiment and the panache of the young star, so they stuck with the idea, albeit with a few tweaks here and there.
It’s also worth noting that creative ideas do sometimes have a negative impact on viewers when they first appear.
In fact, FCB chief strategist David Thomason previously told StopPress that studies from the IPA and AdMark say that under six months (ish), creative, award-winning campaigns are actually less effective and over six months they’re more effective.
“That’s a fucking huge issue, because increasingly a lot of the campaigns we’re doing and winning awards for don’t even run for six months,” Thomason said.
“It’s got to be a major generalisation, and there has to be some stuff that gets more attention in the short term because it’s cool and creative, but for real brand building stuff, that’s a correlation.”
The point here is that true effectiveness of an advertising campaign cannot be measured in the short-term. To really understand the effectiveness of a creative campaign, it must be left to stew for a bit longer.
On the topic of longer-term thinking, this is certainly something that Lotto has applied to its marketing strategy over a number of years through its regular investment in quality storytelling.
This has continued this year with the organisation releasing 'Mum’s Wish', a follow-on to the hugely popular ‘Pop’s Gift’ spot (both by DDB).
While the spot didn’t follow in the footsteps of its predecessor by winning the Ad of the Year Award, it was listed as a finalist and extensively profiled in a dedicated segment on Fair Go.
The other finalists for best ad this year included Special Group's Holden ad, featuring a towtruck driver being towed, and Clemenger BBDO’s Nova Energy spot.
However, it wasn’t all good news for Clemenger BBDO, with the agency taking out the slightly less desirable title of Fair Go’s worst ad of the year for the NZ Post ad, featuring Parris Goebel.
Although no creative wants their ad to be declared the worst of the year, it certainly beats being ignored.
As presenter Pippa Wetzel said during the broadcast: “Winning worst ad is not necessarily a bad thing because it means you’re getting cut-through.”
If this statement is to be trusted, then Hyundai definitely got the best of both worlds by making it into both the best and worst ads shortlists. It seemed to strike that perfect balance between being hated and loved, but never ignored.
Also falling into the worst ad category was the spot featuring Tower's kleptomaniac Penguin.
And while there were a few surprises in this year’s edition of the Fair Go Awards, some things never change, with perennial favourite Cigna again making an appearance in the worst ad category.
And on that note, we look forward to another year of marvelling at the bad ads, cringeing at the good ones and ignoring the ones that fall somewhere in between.