'Maybe a missed opportunity' - Creative Hits & Misses of the Week

Lewis Durkin, account director and consumer creative at Brands2Life, casts his critical eye over this week's creative releases.

'Maybe a missed opportunity' - Creative Hits & Misses of the Week

It’s a busy period for brands trying to cut through. Everyone wants to find a seasonal spin, leaving PRs elbow-to-elbow, jostling to land coverage before the Christmas OOO reply becomes the most frequent response.

But sometimes the news agenda throws up things you just can’t plan for. It’s not uncommon for the ramblings of Boris Johnson to pinch headlines, but I doubt anyone expected Peppa Pig to be the one wrapped in blanket coverage this week.

While Johnson’s communication tactics might have left a lot to be desired, others managed to more successfully deliver their message.


University of Melbourne’s Centre for Mental Health, Gotcha4Life & Heiress Films, 'Boys Do Cry'

Every Valentine’s Day, without fail, the Puma Hardchorus’ rendition of Truly, Madly, Deeply will be shared on social. There’s something about the reinvention of a pop-banger that is inherently shareable and that’s why the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Mental Health x Gotcha4Life x Heiress Films’ content hits the sweet spot this week.

Tackling the stigma that men should simply ‘man up’ during difficult periods, the Boys Do Cry project enlists MC Dallas Woods, a Noongar rapper from East Kimberley, which has one of the highest rates of suicide per capita in the world.

It’s a stereotype, but the generation who bopped to The Cure back in the day is arguably one of the hardest to reach when it comes to matters of mental health. Pulling this from the 80s and planting it firmly in 2021 – with an unmistakable message – will prick the ears of any hardened individual and generate conversation.

Pancreatic Cancer UK, 'Lost Voices'

Half of the people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within three months. That is a shocking statistic that needs to be told to reach the mainstream conversation, but by whom?

The key insight here is that there is no army of celebrity pancreatic cancer survivors to raise awareness of the cause. While prostate cancer and breast cancer charities have a host of household-name ambassadors, which is brilliant that they have been able to live and tell their tale... it’s difficult to immediately name someone raising awareness for PCUK.

Lost Voices taps into this brilliantly. Each celebrity featured, from Roger Lloyd-Pack to Steve Jobs, Aretha Franklin to Patrick Swayze, touched millions of lives through their talents – so it seems fitting that they’re involved in something so creative long after they’ve passed.

Posten, 'When Harry met Santa'

‘Take something and flip it’ is an age-old PR method, but few have done it as well as the Norwegian postal service, Posten, recently.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Norway, the ad pulls no punches in promoting the business’ ethos and propels itself firmly into the public eye. Christmas ads in the UK increasingly celebrate causes or tackle issues, but they’re yet to be this brave.

There’s also a subtle reference to 2020’s campaign, where Santa was angry at Posten for stealing his business. This year he’s more than happy for them to share the load.


Gymshark, 'Jim Shark'

Gymshark kicked off the week by getting ‘Jim Shark’ trending on Twitter after tricking a selection of celebrities into wishing the fictional character – with a moniker very similar to the fitness brand’s name – happy birthday via Cameo. The catch is, it’s not Jim Shark/Gymshark’s birthday.

This is where it feels a little confusing to those outside of the core Gymshark base. The idea is designed to cut through the noise of Black Friday – without referencing Black Friday – but feels it would have been better suited to a) Gymshark’s actual birthday or b) a wider ‘fake’ ambassador campaign. Cameo’s undoubtedly a medium that brands could consider using more, but creating shareable content that can’t get a message across outside of owned channels is maybe a missed opportunity.

I’m torn. If the aim was to just raise any awareness – any at all – of Jim Shark/Gymshark, then it has found a way of achieving that. It just feels like it could have been tweaked to deliver a stronger message.

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