Oct. 31, 2012, 4:36 p.m. by LBBOnline
Your Shot: Westpac Start AskingDDB NZ’s Andy Fackrell on a spot that isn’t afraid to ask the big questions
Advertising in New Zealand is often characterised by quirky humour and offbeat perspectives, but this new campaign for Westpac Bank is an altogether more profound affair. Tackling some fairly meaty questions, it raises the idea that despite being a country of progressives and pioneers who were never afraid to raise tough questions, New Zealand has a cultural aversion to asking about money. We spoke with DDB New Zealand’s ECD Andy Fackrell to find out more about this inquiring ad.
LBB>The copy is pretty powerful. It respects the audience's intelligence and allows them to join up the dots themselves. Why did you decide that this was the best approach?
AF> The secret of engaging with an audience is normally to reach them through the heart first, but in this spot we felt we had to operate equally on the head and the heart. Using just the first two words of a question. We let the audience finish it in their own minds, allowing them to also come to their own moral conclusion.
LBB> In terms of the narrative, the spot weaves together a contemporary family's story with vintage footage and the voices of the past - why was it important to build something that touched upon many different eras in this way?
AF> It felt like we were asking a lot about New Zealand’s history. The narrative projects it as a progressive country of ‘firsts’ – first to climb Everest, first to give women the right to vote - but at the same time it seemed that there was reluctance to talk about money that is ingrained into generations of Kiwi families.
LBB> In terms of the structure of the spot, how did you ensure that there was a good balance between the contemporary story and the historic elements?
AF> We wanted light and shade. We didn’t want it to be moralistic all the way through, and it needed to have moments where we can laugh. That is the way that Kiwis deal with serious issues - in one breathe we can be very sincere, and in the next self-effacing. So for instance, we had a question about whether we would have the guts to attempt Everest, like Hillary did, and married that against a shot of a woman choosing whether to go in the opposite direction, by jumping out of a plane.
LBB> Conceptually the spot touches on some pretty meaty questions and heavy issues - was that something the creative team enjoyed getting stuck into and how did they get into that 'life, the universe and everything' mind-set?
AF> We had some more controversial issues, yet the ones we used were those that we wrote into the mix pretty early. Everyone in the team had their special interest. It came out pretty easily to be honest.
Gay marriage was a topic very much in the news the week we presented. A New Zealand soldier was tragically killed in Afghanistan that week as well and it had been announced that Dallas was being remade. There are plenty of things to ask questions about, but it had to be both profound and irreverent. As I said, that’s a very New Zealand trait.
LBB> Why was Noah Marshall at the Sweet Shop the right director for the job and what did he bring to it?
AF> Noah is a Kiwi, which helped. We actually recreated a lot of the historic footage in the spot, such as the Suffragettes scene. We had to get it right by understanding how they would have shot these scenes in the early 20th century. He also brought the warmth to many of the shots, and gave a filmic realism to others, for example, the hospital and tattoo scenes. The fact he embraced the multimedia nature of the idea without trying too hard to pull it all together stylistically got him our nod.
LBB> What was the biggest challenge involved in creating this campaign?
AF> Getting the touchy subjects across the line. The client was very trusting, but also a bit nervous, as you’d have to expect. New Zealand advertising tends to be quirky and we don’t tend to tap into emotions as easily as, say, Americans can and do. Westpac are very happy at the response so far - nothing but positives.
Agency: DDB Group New Zealand
Executive Creative Director: Andy Fackrell
Copywriter /Art Director: Jonathan McMahon
Art Director/copywriter: Lisa Fedyszyn
Executive Producer: Judy Thompson
Agency Producer: Rosie Grayson
Rob Limb: Managing Director
Paul Pritchard: Digital Services Director
Aaron Goldring: Creative Director
Ian Hulme: Digital Planner
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Noah Marshall
Producer: Tony Whyman
DOP: John Toon
Editor: Tim Mauger
Grade: Pete Ritchie @ Toybox
Sound Production Co: Franklin Rd
Audio Engineer: Jon Cooper
Music: ‘Dirty Paws’ Monsters and Men
Group Business Director: Zoe Alden
Account Director: Jenny Travers
Account Manager: Oliver Gould
Head of Planning: Lucinda Sherborne
Planning Director: Rupert Price
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