a face-off of first works for ANZ, Neds and Life-Space

Brand: ANZ

Campaign: Financial Wellbeings 

Agency: Special Group

The verdict: A strong message, but creative falls flat.



Lani Cush, head of strategy and research at Think HQ, gives it 8/10, saying:

The use of humour in this ad humanises the brand – not something easily achieved by banks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the big four, but this feels like a positive shift for ANZ and reinforces the brand purpose to drive a world where people and communities thrive by putting their customers’ wellbeing first.

The strategy for ANZ is to improve the financial wellbeing and sustainability of customers. The consistency of language both internally and externally is important here, often overlooked by some brands. It’s apparent that they’ve put a lot of effort into executing the strategy internally, to make it part of the bank’s DNA before talking about it and feeding it directly into the execution externally.

By making people feel part of something ‘become a financial wellbeing’, they’re tapping into social proofing in a big way – simply by being an ANZ customer, you’re being smarter with your money. But you’re doing it with a whole load of other Aussies.

Roy Leibowitz, creative director at Clemenger BBDO Sydney , gives it 5/10, saying:

This is a tough one. On the one hand – I don’t mind the idea. It’s not a corker, but considering the sector it’s got something to it. It makes sense strategically and it’s big enough to encompass the myriad of messages a large financial institution like ANZ is going to need to convey. The idea of being a ‘financial wellbeing’ could also have made for some pretty fun executions.

But that’s where I think the ball has been dropped.

The OOH isn’t doing much for me. I have sympathy for the creatives here, it was never going to be easy in this category. But still. This isn’t exactly going to stop you in your tracks.

The film feels like a missed opportunity too. Generally, if you need to go to great lengths to explain your idea, it’s an issue. Weirdly, I don’t think this campaign needed that but for some reason (I imagine bureaucratic) it got it.

What we’re left with is part rallying cry, part manifesto, disguised as a joke. And on top of that it has a rug pull in the dying moments, which is a bit of a cop out.

The sad part is, I feel like there were probably decks of excellent simple executions that got presented here, but this route was picked because it ticked ALL the boxes, instead of just the important ones.

Hopefully this happens less as more trust builds between agency and client, because you had an excellent agency, world class creatives, and a next level director team on the case – plus what I imagine was a decent budget, yet this work comes out feeling confused and flat.

For me, it’s just a pass. 5/10.

The flip side of this is that I’ve seen what Special Group has done with big clients before. They’ll build on this and push the work as they go. So I’ve no doubt that in time, I’ll be more into the work ANZ and Special put together.

Brand: Neds

Campaign: Take it to Neds level

Agency: The Monkeys

The verdict: Delightfully stupid, if a little indulgent.


Lani gives it 7.5/10, saying:

A classic awareness and brand building campaign, this ad aims to drive memorability through its overly dramatic approach – a good pun always helps too! In a cluttered category, they’re trying to differentiate NEDs by quite literally elevating it from its competition.

Whilst it’s one thing to nudge at the fact that it’s superior to other sport betting apps however, the campaign doesn’t talk to the product benefits in more detail than simply saying it’s better or you can take betting to the next level. By showing its benefits without losing the core idea, it perhaps could’ve been more impactful, though for a campaign like this, proof points can often be presented further along the journey if the media budget can withstand it.

Whist a 60 sec ad feels a little indulgent for this execution, it makes sense for cinema and to be shown in sporting ad breaks, adding to its impact. It felt like it dragged on a bit, but perhaps because I’m not the target market. The inclusion of a token woman watching sports was a little off-putting too, but they certainly do know their audience.

Roy gives it 7.5/10, saying:

Look, for me, this is a really stupid campaign. Which is another way of saying I like it. A person’s punt sends them crashing head first through layers of concrete, and not only do they manage to avoid massive head trauma but they also somehow gain the superpowers to become an actual advertising endframe? Great stuff. Stupid stuff. But great stuff.

Stupid is easy to understand. Reading the line or watching this spot leaves me with no doubts as to what the campaign is about, what the product is, and what it does. Tonally it hits the zone, and as a viewer, I’m getting something in return for my time. It was cool to watch.

Now, back to the line. I’m into it. I’ve always heard puns are the lowest form of wit, which seems like a compliment to me. I know The Monkeys inherited this one but they’ve also executed it with brilliant craft, a sense of humor, and a knowingness around the brand and their audience.

For the film. Sure, the whole smashing through things has been done before. But that’s OK if you do it well, to a banger of a track. The pacing, production value, writing, and art direction have all come together here. Plus, they’ve landed the more humorous beats well.

So with all that in mind, for a new partnership – this seems to be going swimmingly. I’m giving this one a 7.5/10.

Together, the Monkeys and Neds have taken ‘Take it to the Neds level’, to the Neds level. See what I did there? It’s the lowest form of wit.

Brand: Life-Space

Campaign: Life-Space Probiotics ‘ecosystem’

Agency: Wunderman Thompson

The verdict: Great visually, but the message is unclear.


Lani gives it 7/10, saying:

The execution of this ad is beautiful. They’ve been clever with the use of materials to create a ‘microbiome ecosystem’ visually, because let’s face it, no one really wants to see what their actual microbiome looks like.

Having said that, I think it misses the mark a little and I personally find this ad difficult to relate to. The connection between the ocean and my gut health is not an obvious one for my brain – it’s an interesting metaphor but felt odd. It is exciting that they’ve partnered with the Great Barrier Reef as an extension of the campaign, so therefore the metaphor is not completely lost on me.

The ad attempts to pack too much into the voiceover and left me wondering what the difference or benefit of Lifespace is over any other probiotic because evidence of any differentiation was lacking. As a pure brand building exercise, I feel that it works, I just don’t know if it would make me want to try it over any other brand and I question the ability for the ad to build brand salience.

Roy gives it 2/10, saying:

Let’s just start by saying there’s something cool about a product that works on your ecosystem, partnering on research into the ecosystem that is the Great Barrier Reef.

So strategically we start in a good place. But after that this campaign gets messy fast .

‘Your body is an ecosystem’ is still an idea you need to unpack, and I don’t think they’ve managed to do that. While the film is visually arresting to start, that soon turns to confusion. It reminds me of the mock AVEDA ad in Zoolander. Mer-man! But this isn’t a joke. The monotonous VO doesn’t help keep the interest levels up either.

I actually had to read the press release to get an idea as to what this was all about. Not many viewers are going to go there willingly.

I feel like this campaign could have done with a lot more due diligence – starting with figuring out what they’re really trying to say. Because I’m still not sure what it is.

I’m not going to go too deep into this one, except to say I really think it’s missed the mark. It feels rushed and ill thought out. 2/10

As told to Kalila Welch. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email

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