Bank advertising that does and doesn’t work

I’ve been working in finance since 2015, and I’ve seen some great finance advertising (the Compare the Market meerkats are a good example) and some truly dreadful advertising.

So today I’ll give you a very quick rundown on how to advertise – and what not to do – as a bank.

Continue reading

Food-related advertising that does and doesn’t work | WW, OzHarvest

The worst rebrand I’ve ever seen happened years ago, in 2018, but I only saw it last year, and this post sat in my drafts for 6 months. Let’s talk about what happened when Weight Watchers decided they needed to make themselves cool again!

Why the Weight Watchers rebrand just doesn’t work

Weight Watchers reckons their new brand, WW, stands for ‘Wellness that Works’.

Umm, sure.

The new Weight Watchers packaging for one of their frozen meals, a mushroom & pumpkin risotto, features a big "WW"
The new Weight Watchers packaging for one of their frozen meals, a mushroom & pumpkin risotto, features a big “WW”.

Nobody is fooled — their product is still diet food.

And while the packaging looks fine, the concept is flawed.

Say it out loud with me.


“Double you, double you.”


I laughed sooo hard looking at their new packaging, and realising what they’d done.

A diet food company that’s brand literally says it will double you?

What genius thought that was a good idea?

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate diet culture already…

The latest round of OzHarvest ads I saw in the Brisbane CBD in 2021 were amazing. They were eye-catching and thought-provoking.

2021 ad for OzHarvest shows a cauliflower and cloud of greenhouse gases, along with the slogan "wasting food is worse than flying".
The 2021 ads for OzHarvest featured the slogan “wasting food is worse than flying”.

The ad I’ve highlighted here is OzHarvest’s 2021 ad, which I used to walk past every day on my way home from work (when we were — oh so briefly — allowed back into the office). It shows a cauliflower and cloud of greenhouse gases, along with the slogan “wasting food is worse than flying”.

The eye-catching bright yellow colour, combined with the thought-provoking message, really caught my attention, and I saw other passers-by staring at the sign for a long time, as well.

It works for multiple reasons.

It’s the cognitive dissonance of thinking, “Me throwing out that rotten zucchini that I forgot was in the vegetable drawer of my fridge … that was worse than flying overseas? Really? But I pride myself on my eco-conscious behaviours!”

It’s memorable, mainly because it’s so hard to believe. I will never forget this ad that said wasting food causes more greenhouse gases than an airplane flight.

And although I didn’t immediately remember which brand had posted the ad (the #1 test for any advertising in my opinion – brand recall), I was able to look it up so easily on Google using the slogan, which was unforgettable.

Any more thoughts about why this advertising works? Let me know in the comments!

(C) TJ Withers-Ryan 2022. Credit me when sharing.

Weird and Wonderful Advertising: Closed for Maintenance

Here’s a beauuuuutiful example of a brand doing “closed for maintenance” right, by defusing any anger people might be feeling about it: Urban Utilities water mains upgrades in the Brisbane CBD this week.

Urban Utilities ad in Brisbane CBD November 2020: These water pipes have been in business for almost 100 years. Please excuse us while we replace them.
Photo credit: TJ Withers-Ryan. Advertising: Urban Utilities, November 2020, Brisbane CBD.

That’s a great way to say, yes sorry we’re doing maintenance, but you can’t be too mad – these poor pipes have been serving you well for years and they deserve a break!

This is especially important because water mains outages are very inconvenient and a lot of people would be mad about it.

Urban Utilities logo on advertising seen in Brisbane CBD in November 2020.
Photo credit: TJ Withers-Ryan. Advertising: Urban Utilities, November 2020, Brisbane CBD.

I love this advertising. Makes me feel good about maintenance works for the first time in my life, so well done, Urban Utilities.

Well done.

(C) TJ Withers-Ryan 2020.

Weird and Wonderful Advertising: Church Edition

This morning, I spotted not one but TWO churches who had the same indecipherable Bible verse on their billboard.

In a second, I’ll tell you what verse they chose and why it just. Doesn’t. Work.

But first, let’s look at why some churches have billboards outside their worship centre (why advertise), and what they’re hoping to achieve (the advertising goal).

Let me say at the outset – I’ve been to a lot of churches, and they’re not all great expressions of God’s love – but some are! I have attended a few great churches.

Churches where the people show God’s love in practical ways to the world and to each other during the week.

Where the people show genuine affection for each other when they hang out.

Where the people show love for God in how they worship on a Sunday.

And I love God. 100%. I wish more people knew how awesome his love is.

Why churches advertise

Churches typically have three interrelated goals when advertising:

  1. Invite the reader to seek God. This is the core aim of reaching out to the world (in church speak, evangelism).
  2. Invite the reader to join their community of faith (fellowship).
  3. Invite the reader to learn more about their set of beliefs (doctrine).

And these are the goals that all outward-facing, publicly-visible materials should be judged against, if that church is indeed trying to reach out to the communities around it.

That’s why things like your church’s website, Facebook page, Google maps entry, billboard, and social events calendars, are all vitally important, and must be working towards those three “advertising” goals.

Continue reading

Weird and Wonderful Advertising: Humour Done Right

Last time, I showed you how advertising that uses ill-advised humour destroys the trust of your customer.

So I promised that this time I’d show you how you can use humour for good effect, to make you memorable, while still keeping the trust your customer places in your brand or your industry.

Oscar Wylee advertising

Today’s case study is the optometrist Oscar Wylee, whose advertising I walked past in the Myer Centre (Brisbane) in July 2020.

“Get tested: book a bulk billed eye exam today.” Oscar Wylee in person advertisement
Continue reading