Smell of victory mixes with smell of deodorant as Rexona wins February Ad Impact Award

Youtube VideoThe All Blacks are everywhere these days, flogging houses, beer, Coke Zero, undies, national airlines, deodorant, sporting gear and a massive range of other products. And after the consumer votes were tallied by Colmar Brunton for February’s round of the Ad Impact Award, Rexona’s All Black-laden ‘Rituals’ ad by Naked Communications Sydney and Curious Film’s Lance Kelleher has taken out the top spot.

Jacquline Ireland, Colmar Brunton’s managing director, says the well-branded and very engaging ad stood out as a real crowd pleaser and drew consumers in with its striking voiceover, moody music and beautiful cinematography.

“Anything with the All Blacks in 2011 is likely to have strong appeal, but this execution stands out because it’s a distinctive and clever take on the essence of our national team, and the pre-match rituals that define them as individuals. It’s strong, real and confident, reflecting the ethos that surrounds the All Blacks and makes them our heroes.”

It may seem slightly sacreligious for an Aussie agency to make an ad filled with All Blacks, but much of Unilever’s Kiwi operation is now run out of Sydney and Naked Communications’ creative director Sesh Moodley says it was invited to pitch for the work along with a couple of other New Zealand shops.

Rexona has been pumping its ‘it won’t let you down’ slogan for years and Moodley says there was a nice link between this and some of the more emotive aspects of the players’ pre-match rituals.

“It’s a marriage between that slogan and what the players do to give themselves that little bit of extra confidence,” he says. “And what’s so beautiful about it is that you see a side of the All Blacks you don’t see too often. Usually you see them cracking us up, or being hardcore warriors… Lance [Kelleher] really brought that [emotional side of things]to life.”

Rexona is only a fourth tier sponsor of the All Blacks, and the NZRU is notoriously strict when it comes to the use of All Blacks in ads. Moodley says the NZRU was over the whole thing and contractual obligations meant there were time restrictions imposed, so a shoot that should have taken two days had to be done in eight hours, with 38 shots filmed on two cameras.

As part of the contract, no special treatment can be given to any one player, although Rexona has a separate sponsorship deal with Dan Carter, so he was able to be “hero-ed” and was the obvious contender for “the spray shot”.

Youtube VideoVersions with and without the voiceover were created and, interestingly, he says the client is so in love with the spot they also want to air it in Australia, possibly before the Rugby World Cup.

As for the other top performers, Ireland made special mention of the Lynx ‘Premature Perspiration’ ad, which struck a chord with consumers.

“They either love it or hate it. Some find it quite unpleasant and even a bit disturbing, but others think it’s brilliant. It’s a brave move to go with something that’s a bit risky, but we think it’s very funny and the younger target audience love the quirky, slightly twisted humour too.”

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