Staff Reporters
Jan 13, 2017

Private view: Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange

Leo Zhang and Dani Comar share their thoughts on work from Aldi, Air New Zealand, Sale Stock, Club Mahindra and Bireley.

Private view: Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange

In Private View, we ask two creative leaders to comment on recent work from around the region.

This week's participants:

  • Leo Zhang, ECD, BBH China
  • Dani Comar, regional ECD, Geometry Global Asia Pacific

1. Catwalk Nusantara
Client: Sale Stock
Agency: MullenLowe Indonesia



Zhang: Just another promotional ad? I hope I didn’t miss anything because of language gaps.

Comar: 'Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange’ never goes out of fashion. And this very aesthetically pleasing film has followed the maxim to a T. If I had received it as a present, it would be OK but quickly forgotten. Let’s see if the consumers have been naughty or nice this year judging by the ads they’ve received. Santa’s list: Slightly naughty.


2. Only At Club Mahindra
Client: Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India  
Agency: FCB Interface



Zhang: I am not able to get any feelings of vacationing from this ad. It highlights the insight of “when we take the time to play with our children, they end up becoming our friends”, but the execution looks a bit too realistic. Not so magical.

Comar: The first 10 seconds set up an interesting story. Suddenly the tone changes and becomes cliché. Pity, I recognised myself in the situation and wanted to like it. Beautiful wrapping, yet disappointing when opened. Santa’s list: Naughty.


3. Nothing Beats The Perfect Aussie Christmas
Client: Aldi
Agency: BMF Sydney

Zhang: Way before December, many brands have already devoted themselves to the fierce Christmas ad competition. Aldi plays out easily, a successful attempt at the Chinese saying of “putting old wine in new bottles”. This ad rewrites the lyrics of mainstream Christmas songs while adding Australian elements plus product messages. I enjoy it. Also, I love the detachable Christmas sweaters — when someone else wears it.

Comar: An American family barges into an Aussie household preaching the superiority of a White Christmas; however they quickly give in to the easy-going ways of Down Under. Full of inside jokes; perfect cast and acting. It builds on the brand’s ’Perfect Aussie Christmas’ past campaigns and the more promotional messages don’t feel out of place. It’s a blueprint for how any campaign should work nowadays. Santa’s list: Nice.

4. Summer Wonderland
Client: Air New Zealand
Agency: Host



Zhang: Another Aussie Christmas ad about rewriting lyrics. Actually, I prefer this more than the Aldi ad. It, like a textbook, shows us how to use celebrities properly to your advantage. It pushes its message in a very smart way.

Comar: Curiously based on exactly the same premise: Christmas are not the same in the Southern summer. What works here is that the airline is not trying to sell you anything and unlikely mash up of celebrities. The chemistry between the Irish singer and the young raising Kiwi star is just spot on. The approach to content is generous, giving away lyrics, sheet music and mp3 downloads. Santa’s list: Nice.


5. Just One Sip
Client: Bireley
Agency: J. Walter Thompson Bangkok

Zhang: For me, sometimes, once I finish writing or reviewing a script, I will ask myself how it would be if we choose a Thai director to shoot it. I believe this is a good way to check whether your script is as outstanding as a Thai ad. Is it funny? Besides funny, does it make you think of somebody? Does it make your heart melt and your eyes wet?  This ad is very ‘Thai’, of course, since it’s created by a team in Bangkok.

Comar: Unmistakably Thai humour. You can’t help laughing and remembering the product. Not bad neither among the more iconic ones from this market. Santa’s list: Nice, but you could have been better.

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