Qantas misses ‘Gold’ during Olympics…

Written by

Andrew Millar


August 13, 2012

The flame has been extinguished. The Olympics are over for another 4 years.

Thank God.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the coverage. I enjoyed the unfolding stories. I vicariously took pleasure in the triumphs and felt some of the pain of those who felt they had fallen short of their own, or our imposed expectations. And I’ll watch any sport that is being performed by the best in the world.

What I didn’t like were the commercials.

By the end of the first night I knew I was going to be in trouble.

An industry maxim says that you need to be exposed to a message 3 times to have any hope of it implanting in the common psyche. It became obvious on the first night that 3 times would be achieved within the first hour.

If the ‘3 times’ rule is to be applied, so can the ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’. That states that after 3 times, the more you see an ad, the more the impact is eroded.

All of the sponsors could have saved half their media spend and still have netted the same results. And perhaps put that money into producing a wider variety of material to run.

I think Comm Bank got it right. They presented a number of executions of a core idea. Many and varied… that holds your interest.

And while we talk of content, I want to say to Qantas, “Guys, you got it wrong.”

I am a big fan of Qantas. I love traveling with them. They’ve taken me all over this world to terrific places and brought me home again. I am very reluctant to fly with anyone else. I am a firm believer that we need a good, strong national carrier… but the new ads miss the mark.

The initial campaign, I thought, showed a great deal of promise. 16,000 people downloaded the app. Over 25,000 Australians submitted their photos. Over 20,000 people submitted their names to be put on aircraft on the first day. Good positive, engaging stuff….

But the television commercials failed to take that feeling and make it fly.

I found them melancholic. There is a sad undertone. Perhaps despondent or doleful. Perhaps I just find them dreary. And the version with athletes practising their chosen sports in isolated and lonely venues late at night is a little creepy.

These commercials certainly don’t lift me off the chair like the ‘I still call Australia home’ series did. They made me proud of my country and proud of myself. I realise they are dated and need to be made relevant again. But the current series fall short. Mostly because the Daniel Johns soundtrack fails to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, because ‘You’re the reason we fly’ talks about Qantas, not me.

With this campaign Qantas has become ‘just another airline fighting for my fare.’

Lost opportunity guys. The Olympics was a good backdrop if you wanted to build on national pride. Territory Qantas owns. Or did.

Sorry, a lot of effort, but no gold for the ‘roo.