The Best I’ve Ever ‘Ad with Brett Armstrong, TikTok ANZ

A Q&A with Brett Armstrong, General Manager, Global Business Solutions, TikTok ANZ

Q: Which ad do you remember most from your childhood? What made it so memorable?

My favourite ad from my younger years without a doubt would have to be the 1992 Coke ‘SkySurfer‘ commercial. The extreme-sports nature of the commercial – having a man jump out of the sky because he so desperately wanted a coke – appealed to my sense of adventure as a kid.

The impressive stunt, coupled with the distinctly early 90s feel, tremendous fashion and unmistakable Aussie location made this ad unforgettable.

At the time, this ad worked as not only was it innovative and had a notable backing tune, it was also a film-making feat. The viewer tracks both the surfer and the numerous brand references throughout, clearly showing that it was a Coca-Cola commercial, and the end goal for these Sky Surfers. It’s still a winner for me nearly 30 years later.

Q: What is your all time favourite ad (or ad campaign) and why?

I am passionate about the local advertising industry and am proud to say my all-time favourite ad is from a homegrown iconic Aussie brand, Qantas.

‘I Still Call Australia Home’ from the airline company quickly became synonymous with our country after it was screened during the opening of the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and used during the 1999 Super Bowl.

At the time, it was also one of the most expensive advertisements ever made (US$3 million) and brought attention to our local industry from around the world. Its use of both global and local locations to show that Qantas was a global travel company was a fantastic idea. And coupling this with the memorable music means many Australians still remember it to this day.

Another reason this ad was my favourite is that I’m someone who is passionate about music. Its use of the beloved Australian song – and how it transformed Qantas and gave it new life – was incredible.

Q: Which individual ad has brought you to tears, or had the biggest emotional impact on you, and why?

A more recent campaign that had an impact on me emotionally was ‘Love Leads to Good’ by P&G. This fresh campaign launched in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and shows how the Games is more than just celebrating athleticism.

They are also about showing respect, extending kindness and compassion, and doing the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. As a father, the traits that were depicted in the campaign are ones that I want my children to embody.

The ad was also memorable for its focus on diversity and how it highlighted that these innate basic human emotions are felt across the world. It showed that it’s incredibly important that we share a range of stories in the media. The combining of these two elements tugged on the heartstrings and has had a clear emotional impact on me since I saw it just a few months ago.

Q: What’s the funniest ad you’ve ever seen?

I’ve always been a big fan of “Not Happy Jan”, the Yellow Pages ad. In Australia, we are known for our funny ads, however, iconic B2B ads are few and far between, and with this ingenious ad the marketers created some enduring love, as it demonstrated the need to be using the Yellow Pages at the time.

It also played into a feeling that so many of us have had – forgetting to do something at work. On top of this, between the boss yelling out the window and Jan’s running down the stairs, it has many funny moments.

By playing on humour throughout, this ad has continued to resonate with Australians. It did what all marketers want their ads to do – create a conversation and have a lasting impact – with many Australians still saying that iconic line today.

Q: And the cleverest ad you’ve seen?

A campaign that’s close to my heart is the recent Nissan “Juke” campaign. Nissan was one of our first local advertisers and launched this campaign to increase awareness for the brand new Nissan JUKE.

Initially, Nissan leveraged the user-generated content features of TikTok’s flagship Branded Hashtag Challenge and worked with creators to develop and post their videos on TikTok using the #improvisewithJUKE hashtag and music.

The campaign took the form of a competition, where the best user submissions had a chance to be featured as voiceovers in the JUKE TV commercial. What was so clever about this activity, was that it was an interactive TikTok-led campaign developed to harness the creativity and participation of the TikTok community. Nissan then used a strategic combination of ad products to set a viral trend in motion across multiple channels.

Q: And while we are talking advertising, tell us what you are most looking forward to about Advertising Week APAC in 2021?

For the advertising industry, 2020 was all about surviving. This year with many agencies and businesses having a notable bounce back, it is all about imagining the future and what’s next.

There is a sense of positivity in the industry that’s infectious, and as much of last year was done virtually, I’m looking forward to being back in person with the industry talking about what’s next for advertising.

We are also excited to talk about how TikTok is giving brands and businesses exciting and valuable ways to reimagine their storytelling and connect with consumers.

It’s a year where we can build deeper brand experiences by thinking about how brands are seen, heard and felt within entertainment and culture. I’m excited for marketers to stretch their creative limits and become part of the new and rising forms of entertainment.