Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Droga5 fires up Aussie adland

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since advertising guru Dave Droga launched his agency in his native Australia 19 months ago, but this week the often-maligned creative outfit made the local ad industry sit up and take notice as it unveiled two huge campaigns.

Dave Droga, a former ECD of Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore who has gone on to worldwide fame and fortune, started Droga5 in Sydney on 1 January 2008 and straight away the new agency made waves. It brought in a number of industry heavy-hitters, like Marianne Bess, David Nobay and Sudeep Gohil from Saatchis, and picked up one Australia’s top brands in VB, which had been with George Patterson Y&R Melbourne for more than 40 years. For those who don’t know, marketing for VB in recent times has been extremely successful and won many advertising awards. Droga5 Sydney also won V Australia, a low-budget international airline owned by Virgin, and is working on Puma down under after a global win.

Consistent with Australia’s tall-poppy syndrome (Aussies love to criticize the high and mighty) Droga5 has copped a lot of flak, particularly for its work for the VB sub-brand VB Gold ( a mid-strength beer). See the work on YouTube here and then check out comments about a similar piece of work here (on this one Droga5 publicly acknowledge that it collaborated with the writer of the Manstrokewoman sketch).

However this week Droga5 has hit back in big way. Firstly, it launched an ambitious campaign for V Australia. This great idea, which echoes Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job in the World” campaign in some ways, uses Twitter and social media in a very smart way. How effective will it be? Its early days, so only time will tell.

Also this week Droga5 Sydney unveiled its highly anticipated work for VB, which is one of the largest beer commercials ever produced in Australia with a cast of more than 2000 people and a crew of 150.

The massive campaign, which includes this site and the usual suspects – print, radio, outdoor, in-store etc – also ties in with the current Ashes series between Australia and England. Foster’s, VB’s owner, is a big sponsor of the Aussie cricket team. It includes different executions of the TVC and features Aussie celebrities and sports stars.

The ad harks back to some of Foster’s best ever beer ads, like “The Big Ad”:

And “Flashbeer”:

Will it reach the same heights as those? Again, its too early to say but it will certainly give them a shake. No matter what happens Droga5 Sydney has definitely answered its critics in the best way possible and let its work do the talking.

1 comment:

TK said...

I have to say I think this is pretty ordinary as far as Aussie beer work goes and I can say that cause I'm an Aussie and I do like beer. It just seems this style of self deprecating boof-head stuff is getting a bit tired and same same. I'm glad you put Big Ad in there too to compare because it genuinely was an inventive idea and just plain good fun in a very poke fun at anything high and mighty and pretentious way that Aussies love. The VB stuff just feels like a bunch of other beer ad ideas rolled into one. It's also a very localised ad - as some of the references are very in-joke Aussie. Additionally did anyone else think they were playing the sound of one YouTube clip while watching the vision on another? The voiceover seems out of kilter and grating. It sounds a bit like Sam Kekovich from the Lamb ads and again that voice over style is pretty over exposed. Am I being unkind or have I just been away from Australia too long?