All posts by Dafne Salvatori

Mercedes Clever Creative?

Ethan Fowler analyses the latest ad by Mercedes-Benz, and asks is this the creative Mercedes solution we would expect?


This is a recent print ad that was created for Mercedes-Benz.

The ad offers what we expect from the premium car brand:

– slick and smooth design
– a clever visual idea in modern look and feel
– corporate designed typography and copy

The clarity and conciseness of this ad ties in with the straightforward and direct style that Mercedes has become well known for in its advertising.

It is assumed that the target audience is people of both genders 30 – 45 years of age who have a well paid job. But the depiction of a man in this demographic may suggest the primary market is male.

The use of a clever key visual that shows a man looking forward and sideways at the same time a creative way of showing what mercedes is all about: intelligence, simplicity, elegance and a clear advantage over its competitors.

The ad recognises that most cars have blind spots, but Mercedes creates so many rear-viewing options, that the driver barely needs to turn their head because the side mirrors are so effective.

Another trump in Mercedes deck.

I am looking forward to their next stylish, clever and innovative campaign.

Champagne, red carpet and rubbing shoulders with the ad industry’s best

Surrounded by the biggest names in the Australian advertising industry, Ashleigh Hogan tells of her experience at the AdNews, Agency of the Year Awards.

It has come down to this, the AdNews Agency of the Year Awards 2014 (held in 2015 but acknowledging the 2014 campaigns…I know-confusing). The AdNews awards are seen as one of the biggest awards that an agency can achieve as the nominees are recognised by the amount of minor awards achieved throughout the year. Luckily, some of Macleay’s11034258_489595944512344_1795563846160227612_n students were invited to dine with these high recognised agencies as we witnessed their successes.

Being one of the students that was fortunate to go, I thought it was one of the best experiences of my life so far. I got to dance and meet some of the people who I would some day be. The moment I arrived at the Dockside Pavilion, I felt like I was already apart of the industry; treated equally to all the people in the room and speaking to some of the most genuine yet successful people, the thought of being a student went right out the door and the thought of being in their shoes one day became a possibility.1484526_10205818345808636_3796115332436180595_n

Where we were seated in the room surrounded us with winners which was quite exciting. Tabled to our right was Saatchi & Saatchi and they won three AdNews awards in total for The Game Changer Awards, The Ad of the Year and the Digital Campaign of the Year whilst to our left was SOAP Creative who scored an AdNews Award for the Digital Agency of the Year. I even got a photo with the award!

The room was buzzing but when it came to The Hall of Fame Award, everyone went silent. If I had to say what was one of my highlights of the night was, it would have to be The Hall of Fame Award. The 2014 AdNews Hall of Fame awards went to Scott Whybin. What moved me about this award was that Scott Whybin achieved so much in his career, is respected by so many that he received a standing ovation as he walked up the to that stage. He could have easily boasted about himself in his moment under the stage lights but instead, he spoke about the passionate youth. He spoke about being the 20 year old Newcastle boy, passionate about the advertising industry and was given a shot to be someone. Saying that, he also said he 10690_10205818386449652_6554945664722670255_nhopes the industry we have now is still the same one that he was introduced to and the young people full of passion like he was, were given the same chance he was given. I then realised he was talking about us; one day being like him and maybe 30 years from now, being on the Hall of Fame.

I’m not going to lie, but I didn’t know who Scott Whybin was but Googling him after the awards night astonished me. He founded WHYBIN/TBWA in 1994 which is a growing agency that has three offices in three cities and is worth over $500 million (imagine selling that out in 5c coins- MIND BLOWING)10471134_10205421059422409_2522958393585930947_n

As we got towards the end of the night, the most important award was left till last. This was the Agency of the Year Award. The nominees for this award was not given at the start of the night, but they were chosen according to their 10441382_10205818560814011_7525827703931020521_nachievements during the presentation. It was said to be a tight competition between Cumins & Partners, Mnet, SOAP Creative, and Leo Burnett but in the end there could only be one winner. As a drum roll filled the room, the AdNews Agency of the Year Wward for 2014 was given to Leo Burnett.

As the awards were all given out and the formalities were over, the real party began and people swarm to the dance floor. There was a D.J hitting tunes all night (in a VW Kombi! How sick is that?!), a bar that kept the booze flowing and an Instagram booth to capture the fun. Overall, it was the best night that I have had so far. It was such a great introduction to the party life that comes with being apart of this industry. If I had to take away a lesson from this, it would have to be “work hard to party hard.” By the end of the night, my legs were KILLING but it was all very worth it.

A huge word of appreciation goes to Jeremy Taylor-Riley who arranged to co-sponsor the participation of the advertising students.

“Ad Agency” – What Does That Even Mean?

Amanda Florence writes about Macleay’s first AdSpeaks for 2015 with Andy Wright, one of the founders of ‘For The People‘. Andy posed the question, “What would an agency model look like if you could start from scratch?”


Specialising in start-ups, recently launched branding and strategy agency, For The People, didn’t run with the typical ad agency model of hierarchy, structure and processes. They didn’t bother looking side-to-side at their competitors. Instead, they kept the focus on the consumer experience. Andy Wright points out, “The art of communication has been lost along the way and many agencies spend their energy asking ‘What are the competitors doing?'”


Advertising is often perceived as being romantically creative but it also gives the opportunity to create work that is “blockbusting, humorous, famous, award winning and contextually magical.” At best, it should produce a campaign that incorporates its surrounding environment and makes the viewer smile, laugh or act!


Traditionally, medium to large agencies followed old-school hierarchy and workflow processes to get the job done. Does this infrastructure nurture creative ideas?

It can aid in understanding how to do things but it can also make you feel like a autonomous robot. How do you avoid feeling this way? Try to always keep the end goal (a tangible result in the hands of the consumer) in mind and avoid ticking the boxes for the sake of ticking boxes.


Increasingly, the agency structure is beginning to flatline and we can’t expect it to keep going. This is a reflection of start-up culture, where there are no traditional business models. Think of them more as tribes or families. If they dream it, they build it and without the instructions. Passionate, crazy people usually helm these start-ups and they are solely focussed on whom they are delivering their product or service to – the consumer. Their aim is to create amazing consumer experiences, without regard for rules or boundaries. Their path isn’t traditional, these entrepreneurs dive down the “rabbit holes” and their business grows exponentially.

IMG_2772In turn, they require agencies that can match their need for speed, agility, parallel partnership and flexibility. They want content released frequently, more so in the digital world, instead of unveiling one expensive full campaign every few months.


For The People, addresses this trend in start-up culture and looks to disrupting the agency model for the sake of speed and creativity. It could be an exciting future for those willing to follow their lead.

For more info about Andy Wright and “For The People” click here.

Brand creates ‘unskippable’ ad viewers can’t help but watch

Here’s a great article we found on written by Cristina Finn. Geico creates a TVC you can’t skip!

“YOU CAN’T SKIP this Geico Insurance ad, because it’s already over.”

These are the lines of the genius advert that makes you fight the urge to press that skip button.

Dubbed the “unskippable” ad, viewers have called it weird, wonderful and just down-right strange. (It’s the freaked out eyes that makes it, and the dog, of course).

However, the brand succeeds in its goal. You’re going to watch until the end:
Source: GEICO Insurance/YouTube

This is not the first of its kind. Geico also made this one:
Source: GEICO Insurance/YouTube

Stefan Sagmeister talks Design and Happiness

After winning a design competition in her Digital Design class, Samantha Harley was given free tickets to an evening with graphic design legend Stefan Sagmeister’s talk on Design and Happiness.

Last Wednesday I went to the AGDA Stefan Sagmeister talk regarding Design and Happiness at the Powerhouse Museum.

The night began with Jason, Ian and I meeting Stefan briefly before the talk and getting a photo with the abnormally tall designer. You could tell by his presence that anything he said would become words to live by. As the crowds packed in it became clear that we were about to head into the designer version of a One Direction concert, and I was getting excited to hear what Stefan had to say.

IMG_6332Looking at his work, he is quite provocative and his ideas are often thought provoking. His recent partnership with Jessica Walsh has had a vibrant effect on what they produce as well. Knowing this I wasn’t too surprised when I walked in to see a somewhat graphic presentation slide of an Opera House made up of questionable body parts. After some debate they later were revealed to be tongues (I hope I can add therapy to my tax return this year).

The talk was opened by Jason Little, founder of For the People and was one of the people that had organised Stefan’s visit. He seemed like a kid in a candy shop while talking about Stefan; his admiration clearly showing through. Next was the moment of truth, the man that promised happiness; Stefan Sagmeister.

Armed with videos and amusing slides Stefan definitely controlled the room. In the beginning he gauged how people were feeling, with the tone being somewhat positive. He then talked about his exhibitions of Happiness. We were shown an amazingly shot video involving Stefan, Jessica and a third employee with water balloons exploding over and under them in slow motion. Each balloon contained a message which in this video formed “If you don’t ask you don’t get”. It was a great motto, and it’s true; really the worst that can happen if you ask is you get a ‘no.’ But even with that ‘no’ comes the respect you gain from others and yourself for being bold enough to try.

Stefan continued to talk about his exhibition specifically the show in Philadelphia. When he first proposed the idea of a ‘happiness’ exhibition I can’t imagine they ever envisioned what he would do.
Expanding outside the original space, he was given Stefan took use of negative space in the gallery such as stairwells and elevators theming happiness as different types and positions of sex. Not exactly family friendly but mixed with a strong yellow colour palette the exhibition was sure to make you smile one way or the other.

Before entering the exhibition, patrons would choose a piece of bubblegum that linked to a number of how happy they felt from 1-10. At the end of each week they were able to see a visual representation of how happy the general population was which I found quite interesting.

Stefan then talked about the idea of Negative Bias also known as the negativity effect where things of a negative nature have a greater impact on one’s psychological state and processes. He used the example of the news network that aired only positive news and shut down after two days because nobody wanted to hear ‘only’ good news. Psychologically the negative impact of watching the bad things around you can actually make you feel better when things aren’t going your way, i.e., you get fired, but a plane crashed in Asia, so the perspective becomes ‘My life’s not so bad.’

We were shown some of the other videos that were created for the happiness exhibition both with footage and motion graphics that were true art. Stefan then began speaking about his film based on happiness. He has so far devoted 6 years of his life to the project researching the ins and outs of happiness, speaking with experts and trying everything himself to access what does and doesn’t make him happy. From exercise to ‘prescription’ drugs and singing, Stefan gave us his insight into some of the things that have and haven’t worked for him.

About halfway through the talk, we all joined in as a group choir to sing a song as loud as we could (I will admit it was fun). Next Stefan ran us though his methods of six years work, one year play.

In every seven years, Stefan takes a year to himself closing his studio and persuing travel, personal projects or anything else he wants to do. I loved hearing about his freedom to do what he loves and being so in demand that he can choose to work only on the best projects and then use that money to fund his own work. He has a carefree lifestyle but at the same time devotes himself to everything whole-heartedly.

Interestingly this is the first time his design studio will remain open while he is on sabbatical with Jessica running a select amount of projects.

Stefan’s Tips to Happiness:

  • Start your day with 20 minutes of exercise such as a run outside.
    Stefan uses this time to think and comes back home to have a 30-minute brainstorming session before going to the office.
  • Progress through your day with the hardest things first.
    This way when you get to the end of your day, you have a light workload and can focus on relaxing.
  • Do something different.
    Something different is something you couldn’t do yesterday, and you can’t do tomorrow like go to a Stefan Sagmeister talk. Repetitive events dull the mind and create a sense of unhappiness.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
    Failing isn’t a bad thing; it means that you’ve tried. Not learning from those mistakes that made you fail will make you lose confidence in yourself and will become an endless cycle of misery.

Stefan said, “Making a film on happiness has made me completely miserable.” It’s understandable, spending that long on a project when you aren’t sure if it will work or what it will become can become daunting and when you are used to fast projects you can be ready to move on and be left with the feeling of being held back.

Although it has taken Stefan 6 gruelling years to make his film on happiness, every second both good and bad would be worth it.

Knowing definitively what you need to do in life to be happy is great gift, one that I am thrilled to have spent the night hearing about.
Stefan is all about being positive; whether it’s starting your day with positivity or in a brainstorming session “Negative ideas are not allowed in brainstorming sessions. A shitty idea can be built on while a shot down idea cannot”.

The night was truly incredible, and I look forward to seeing him speak again in the future. Stefan will be back in Sydney for the Vivid Festival so keep an eye out.

I’ll leave you with an exercise from Stefan: Write down three things that worked for you that day, before you go to bed each night. This will leave you with positive thoughts to help you sleep and allow you to start your next morning with thoughts of positivity. 

Ten career secrets for young creatives

Kate Magee, writing for Campaign Live,  shares 10 secrets for young creatives. We loved the 8th one!

There may not be a formula to becoming a creative director but there are certain attitudes and behaviours that make it easier. Four top female creatives shared the secrets to their success at last week’s SheSays event. Kate Magee sums up their most powerful advice.

618The speakers comprised (l-r): Eloise Smith, the executive creative director of Lowe Profero; Vicki Maguire, a deputy ECD of Grey London; Caroline Pay, the deputy ECD at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; and Chaka Sobhani, a creative director at Mother.
The speakers comprised (l-r): Eloise Smith, the executive creative director of Lowe Profero; Vicki Maguire, a deputy ECD of Grey London; Caroline Pay, the deputy ECD at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; and Chaka Sobhani, a creative director at Mother.

1) Fear is a good thing
All the speakers had a healthy attitude to risk and had left comfortable jobs to develop their skills elsewhere. For example, Sobhani was happy at ITV but left when she noticed she no longer felt stressed at being asked to contribute to big meetings. “I like feeling sick, feeling nervous about something. If you don’t have that, I think it’s a dangerous place to be,” she said.

2) Work out your strengths and use them
It can be easy to overlook your strengths while you are focusing on where you fall short. You don’t have to be good at everything. Work out where you excel and stick to it. “I spent years trying to be an art director but I’m a copywriter,” Smith said. “The more you know about what you’re good at, the more you can be of value. I always make sure I work with someone who is good at what I’m not.”

3) Be honest with yourself
Smith said she gets a real buzz from being an executive creative director – “it’s creativity on speed” – but it’s not a job for everyone. It comes with conflict and management responsibilities. Assess whether you will actually enjoy being a creative director. Don’t chase the role just because it’s the next rung on a ladder. “We work in a pressured, adrenaline-filled world with constant threat of public failure and embarrassment. Work out if you want that,” Smith said.

4) Have a plan – but don’t ice it on cupcakes
Once you have worked out what you want, be strategic about getting there. Smith was embarrassed to reveal that when she was younger she made a five-year plan, iced it on to cupcakes and presented it to her boss. “That was pretty weird; you don’t need to do that. But you do have to make a plan, especially if you want to have a family,” she said. Once you have your plan, everything you do should help you reach that goal.

5) Don’t make a plan B
You will be less driven if you have an alternative option. Maguire only had one plan: to be a fashion designer. She was sacked from Next, French Connection, Nicole Farhi and Paul Smith. She was finally fired by Vivienne Westwood when she tried to cut the thread out of a white dress with her teeth while wearing red lipstick. She then turned to advertising. “Have a plan A and spank it until you know it’s right for you or not. If not, find a new plan A,” Maguire said.

6) Choose a good environment over a trendy agency
It might be exciting to work for a trendy agency but the most important thing is whether you enjoy your environment. “Some of the agencies I’ve enjoyed the most haven’t been the trendiest. They may not be the agencies that Campaign is writing about,” Maguire said. “But if you’re happy and having a good time, then that’s more important than how cool they are.” Smith agreed: “You cannot change people but you can change your place of work. Put yourself in an environment where you will succeed.”

7) If not you, then who?
Someone has to do the high-profile job. Maguire said she originally turned down the offer to become a deputy ECD at Grey London. So her boss, the Grey chairman, Nils Leonard, asked her who he should bring in instead. That spurred her to take the role because she was worried about the alternatives. “I’ll never be a Kim [Papworth] or a Tony [Davidson], but I’ll also never be some of the arseholes I’ve worked with,” she said. “That’s what has always driven me: whatever I do, there’s always someone doing it worse than me.”

8) Mistakes don’t make you a failure
The more you fail, the better you get at it. And the better you get at it, the more you realise you cannot fail, Maguire argued. “You can fuck up. You can lose your job, but you can never fail because you’ll always come out of an experience with something else learned. The beauty of advertising is that there are lots of other people failing as well,” she said. As Pay said: “Try, fail, and try again.”

9) Make a family work for you
When Pay was pregnant, she “fantasised that the miracle of childbirth would instantly transform me into a baking-crafting-domestic-goddess-earth-mother. How wrong I was. I realised I needed the banter, buzz and chance to show off that working gives me.” She went back to work, found a better balance and was much happier as a result. Whether you stay at home or come back to work, have the courage to do what is right for you.

10) You can learn a lot from arseholes
Bad managers can be the best teachers. “I’ve learned from every self-serving arsehole I’ve worked with – and there are a lot of them in the industry – but they have got a lot to teach you,” Maguire said. “I’ll never be that creative who spends so much time on a plane the first time they see the work is on TV,” she said. Pay added: “Half the job is the people part of the job – don’t underestimate this. Be friendly. Be generous. Be noticed.”

SuperBowl 2015 Deliver’s The Best (And Most Expensive) Ads on TV

Advertising student, Dion Heal takes a closer look at his five favourite television commercials from Superbowl 2015. Take a look at the amazing work US big name brands produced this year…

February only really means one thing in the world of advertising.


The commercials aired during the game have become as much of a cultural phenomenon as the half-time show or the actual game itself.

With over 100 million people tuning in each year, its expected that companies would take advantage of this tremendous viewership and sell their product to 1/3 of the United States. At a very steep price however. The 2015 cost for a 30 second spot? Almost $4.5 million. That’s $150,000 per second, so companies are going to make sure every cent is worth it.

Some of the most notable ads in television history were produced for SuperBowl broadcast such as Apple’s ‘1984’, and 2015 did not fail to deliver some of the best TVCs. Many which are great sources of inspiration for us as Advertising students.

Esurance – ‘Sorta Pharmacy’
2 years on from the end to Breaking Bad which probably sent its fans into separation anxiety for a few months, esurance owned by Allstate, an American insurance company, brought back Walter White as a ‘sorta’ pharmacist. Basically, stick a beloved character in an ad, and people are going to pay attention.

Reebok – Freak Show – Be More Human

In one word? Inspirational. One of those ad’s that makes you look at the hardworking people onscreen only to realise that you’ve been sitting on the lounge eating chips for the last hour. It makes you look at how you can be “a better human”; to quote the ad, and Reebok is hoping you will choose to buy their products to help you do that. And the Braveheart-esce soundtrack only adds to the desire to want to go outside and do a couple of pushups. Nice work Reebok.

Carl’s Jr. – Charlotte McKinney All-Natural

Well this is America. Football + A very large male viewership. It’s surprising we didn’t see this one coming.

NO MORE’s Official Super Bowl Ad

This is an ad campaigning for an end to domestic violence. This is a very captivating piece of viewing. You find yourself watching wondering what is going, only to realise the seriousness of it, leaving you to contemplate the situation.

Budweiser “Lost Dog”

Budweiser (an American beer company) continued on from last year’s SuperBowl ad called “Puppy Love”, incorporating the synonymous Budweiser Clydesdales in an absolutely heart wrenching video. You’ll be brought to tears only to be shocked and somewhat betrayed when you realise it was selling you alcohol. *cries*

Have you got any SuperBowl ads you loved this year?