Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Point of no return

Why are SingTel and StarHub getting into this petty little thing where each produces ads with red and green warring characters and expect people to believe they are not taking cheap shots at each other?

StarHub started this first with its Fat Green Pipe concept. For the uninitiated, the recent TVC shows a green fish-like creature named Flash Green racing against Olaf The Red (a prawn?) and of course Flash wins because he’s racing in a fat green pipe – which refers to StarHub’s wide bandwidth for internet access.

I thought it was brilliant considering the treatment of the cartoon characters DDB used was unique – the look and feel was very different from previous StarHub ads which typically showed happy families.

That was until SingTel recently launched its version, with the red character named SuperWhiz and the green one called Big G and SuperWhiz knocks out his overweight opponent in a boxing match. Then I realised StarHub’s campaign wasn’t all that hot, it just employed one of the oldest techniques in the book – putting down your competitors to make yourself look better (pardon the paraphrasing).

It is obvious that both telcos are taking swipes at each other and while it may seem funny to some, I ask, what’s the point of all this? Who’s supposed to come out looking better?

A wise advertising guru told me today that companies such as SingTel and StarHub are amongst the most visible in our advertising landscape. To put it simply, the ads they put out help shape our culture.

Such ads are not art, they’re strictly commercial. And these are our leading, flag bearing brands no less. Shouldn’t they be focusing on real creative work and finding their own point of differentiation and building brand value that can stand alone even in the face of new competition?

Earlier today at the Beyond 2006 summit, Neil French said agencies shouldn’t be fired if something goes wrong, because the clients are wrong too and they are wrong together.

‘Nuff said.

*Images contained in this blog entry are not the actual TVCs but screengrabs from the individual websites. Can someone teach me how to attach YouTube videos to my posts?


missybrowneyes said...

Hey Debbie,

To post youtube videos, simply copy the assigned html codes (which is available at the right side of the video) to your post (under the 'edit html' tab).

Have fun!

Debbie said...

thanks missybrowneyes!!!!

Teo Chee Huat said...

Hi Debbie,

Your post got me wondering:

"Such ads are not art, they’re strictly commercial..."

Is advertising an art? Can it be art? Should advertising be art? Commercial art? The Art of advertising?

So if they see my ad and they don't 'gaddit', can I get away with playing the misunderstood artist and rant, "Philistines!"?

"Shouldn’t they be focusing on real creative work..."

When does work become REALLY creative and NOT REALLY creative? And if it becomes really creative, to the point where only a small number of people can appreciate the 'artistry' (of the art direction, visual, copy, concept, execution, delivery, media placement, whatever!), does it then become art?

Sorry. Must be the post traumatic syndrome of being a Philosophy major.

Imaginary said...

I do think advertising is an art, to bring out the brand that is diff from the rest... what makes it stands out fm the rest... its trot creating an ad( a message for the public)we need a creative flare for that. From logo to getting the right message across.