Claxton: Forever young

In the spirit of past heretics, ranters and agitators, our resident angry outsider Claxton tells you what’s getting his goat about this industry.

‘Choice bro, grab our mint deals on mean-as colostomy bags and walking frames’… There are few things more suspect than a cynical adult masquerading as a child. But lately some New Zealand marketers are yanking a school uniform over their stubble and trying to affect a squeaky voice. Next they noisily regurgitate what passes for New Zealand youth culture into the innocent mouths of our children, like a lukewarm gutful of yesterday’s Carl’s Jnr with onion rings. 

Witness Vodafone’s latest ‘Mint’ and ‘Choice’ plans and their accompanying promotion, Tip Top’s ‘Choc As’ ice cream from a while back, and the otherwise laudable ‘Ghost Chips’ drink drive ad. And sadly the temptation to throw off the last semblance of creativity and just reach for The Bumper Book of Kiwi Slang doesn’t end there. Check TAB’s recent ‘You Beauty’ ads, Mitre 10’s ‘Easy As’ ads and the big boys version of ‘Ghost Chips’, ‘Yeah, Nah’.   

The rare real successes with this approach offer unfortunate encouragement to every agency monkey scrabbling around for tidbits of inspiration to earn them their bananas, while the vast majority of the efforts capture the zeigeist about as well as the Topp Twins’ latest RSA Dubstep and Lapdancing Tour.

You can’t fake culture without looking fake. And in today’s market, where sincerity is everything, forced sincerity is like watching someone sweating over a dump. 

  • This article originally appeared in the Sept/October edition of NZ Marketing. 

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