Jean-Claude Van Damme wants Aussies to stop hoarding DVDs

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Nov 8 2010

Apparently, DVD hoarding is a big problem in Australia. Who knew? To clear out people's old DVD collections, and make way for new ones, Sony Pictures enlisted none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme to make the case for "DVD Amnesty"—a program that offers $5 off new DVDs for each old DVD donated. "I'm Jean-Claude Van Damme, and I bust my balls in my movie career," Van Damme says, "and it's painful to hear that some Australians are treating their DVDs like stockpiling plastic." For me, this campaign is bittersweet: While it's sad to hear of Australia's DVD problem, it's heartening to know that Van Damme still has something to do.

Tourism Australia, Qantas benefit from Oprah's latest brand love

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Sep 14 2010

Oprah Winfrey has always been a good brand shepherd on her wildly popular afternoon chat show. Remember all those Pontiacs she gave away a few years back? Well, on Monday, she threw a little international travel into her shilling repertoire, surprising her audience of 300 fans each with an eight-day vacation to Australia. Collective meltdown ensued. Really, it was Bieber-sized fandemonium. (Check out the video.) Winfrey linked with Tourism Australia and Qantas Airlines to make this happen for the uber-fans she invited to the opening show of her final syndicated season. John Travolta played his part by showing up in his Qantas "ambassador at large" gear (including a replica plane on the set). Apparently he'll be flying the group to Australia himself, or at least that's the promise. The plan is to tour the country in December and film several episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show at the Sydney Opera House, boosting the region's profile with the Oprah faithful and maybe selling some travel packages to folks in the U.S. This isn't the first time Oprah's gone gaga for Australia. Before, it was the Baz Luhrmann movie Australia, and she spent an entire hour with stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman talking about how many Oscars they'd win for the romantic epic. Oh well, maybe this will work out better.

Australia attempts to pack its entire country inside a Honda Jazz

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Aug 9 2010

Honda, you had me at ninjas. On the heels of Toyota's Swagger Wagon and Kia's rapping hamsters, Honda has created its own time-wasting video snippets meant to show off the roominess and cheekiness of its Jazz model. Made in Australia, the videos present a new twist on how many clowns can fit in a car, or how many non-claustrophobic folks can squeeze into a phone booth. The campaign stuffs ninjas (right), hipsters, rappers and bodybuilders into a Jazz. The ninjas fold themselves into the compact car so quickly, you might miss it if you blink. It's no mean feat for marketers to create spots that go viral—even though they may describe their campaigns as such before a single person passes a link along—but this one seems to be catching on. So far, they've been played more than 400,000 times, with the hipster spot by far the most popular. Bet they couldn't get a pirate in their trunk. Go ninjas!

Honda Jazz is great for hauling around millions of virtual blocks

Posted on Wed Dec 9 2009

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to experience your Honda on acid, this Australian ad for the Honda Jazz is for you. 303 Advertising in Perth worked with Animal Logic, a digital animation firm, to create 1.5 million virtual Mega Bloks, which shift form and shape from giant blocks to a globe to dragon/cat-looking thing to a wave and surfboard and then into octopus tentacles, which spring out of the car's side windows. From there, they morph into a tree and then a rainbow and then into the letters JAZZ. All the while, a funky tune that sounds like a missing track off Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Going On plays. It's pretty trippy stuff, but it also shows how much room there is inside a Jazz, which is known around these parts as the Fit.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

This guy will need specially fitted front seat if he wants a Toyota

Posted on Wed Nov 18 2009

There are lots of ways, I suppose, to illustrate how a hybrid engine works, but few get the point across like this Toyota ad from Saatchi & Saatchi Australia. Here's the setup: A guy is reading the paper (headline: "G20 must not forget the developing world"), and then you notice he has an extra pair of hands, which lets him grab a cup of coffee without putting the paper down and put Vegemite on his toast while continuing to read and sip his joe. Meanwhile, a charming a capella tune plays that reminds me of Petra Haden's version of The Who Sell Out. This is one of those ads that make you wonder what's going on for the first 95 percent or so. Is it to raise awareness for Siamese twins? Is it a gay thing? Ah, it's a metaphor for "petrol and electric in perfect harmony." OK. But wouldn't it have been better to have shown the guy working the whole time instead of eating?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Australian border patrol only let Toyotas into their 'hard' country

Posted on Mon Sep 28 2009

Take a look at a map of Australia. The first thing you'll notice is that it's an island—a really big one—and it's got no borders to speak of. So, that's your first clue that this Toyota ad featuring Australia's Border Patrol is a bit off. The second is the cheeky slogan: "Nothing soft gets in." By "soft," these Ozzies mean things like tofu, little poofy dogs and sweaters that are tied around the neck. And don't even think of coming into the country if you shave your chest. These border cops are pretty good at what they do, though. They can even spot someone who puts a Toyota grill on his truck to appear less soft. Says one cop: "This is a hard country, and we want to keep it that way." As Jacko would say: "Oy!"

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Australian retailer's stop-motion spot might just put you to sleep

Posted on Fri Aug 7 2009

Bed bugs have never looked so good. In this new spot by the Campaign Palace in Melbourne, Australian retailer Target (which operates completely separately from the Target chain in the U.S.) tries its hand at stop-motion. A woman lies down on bed sheets in various positions as other cloth items serve as props. In one scene, she swims on a dull, dark-blue background with fish made of what look like socks and shirts. Every other random little chapter is equally bland, and the major offense of this ad is that the company took an interesting art medium and did nothing remarkable with it. Many YouTubers are also crying foul, saying that it rips off a video called "Animated in Bed" by Oren Lavie. The videos are awfully similar in style and setup, but Lavie's is clearly the more original and charming.

—Posted by Elana Glowatz

Coke is forced to admit it might make you fat and rot your teeth

Posted on Fri Apr 3 2009


Coca-Cola has been the center of many myths throughout the years. For example, I had a teacher in junior high school who said you could use it to get the rust off your car. Anyway, one of the most prevalent myths deals with putting a tooth or nail into a glass of Coke and having it disappear overnight, like the cola is some sort of hungry organism from outer space. Well, Coke set out to settle some of the "myths" about its product in a series of Australian ads—including the notions that it makes you fat, rots your teeth and is packed with caffeine, according to a recent AP report. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a release yesterday that labeled the ads as misleading. As a result, the soft-drink maker must run new ads setting the record straight about calories and moderation this weekend or else it will run afoul of the law. An ACCC rep called the myths ads "totally unacceptable." Sort of like my junior high school education.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

H2O bottled water more than happy to help quench koala's thirst

Posted on Thu Feb 12 2009

Talk about hero placement. A volunteer firefighter saving an adorable, injured koala during devastating brush fires in southern Australia pulls out a bottle of H2O brand water and feeds it to the parched animal. And he even gives the brand a little plug as the exhausted koala downs bottle after bottle. "H2O. Pure natural spring water," says rescuer David Tree. "He just can't get enough of it."
  Turns out he's a she, now named Sam and recovering at a wildlife shelter from burns on her paws. The exchange between the sweet-faced bear and her savior were captured on video and in photographs being distributed worldwide. If Sam and Tree aren't the new faces of H20, let's just say that's a missed opportunity.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

The marketing downturn is slow to reach the Great Barrier Reef

Posted on Mon Jan 26 2009


They're calling it "the best job in the world," and who are we to argue? It's definitely a plum marketing job, especially in this economy: An organization called The Caretaker of the Islands of the Barrier Reef in Australia is looking for someone to relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months and promote the island by blogging about the experience. Pay: US$100,000.
  The group says its site has been flooded with more than 1 million entries, including one from a Greek woman who promised to do all of Australia's laundry and pick up after the kangaroos. The deluge caused the site to crash and forced the group to buy nine new servers, according to the Associated Press.
  If you are undaunted by the competition, you still have until Feb. 22 to apply for this dream job, which starts July 1. Good luck. We'll throw an extra shrimp on the barbie for you.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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