Friday 5: the revival…

I’m all for lateral out-of-the-box* creative thinking. But where’s the point in being so damned clever that no-one can understand you?

5FM. It’s supposed to be edgy, urban, boundary-pushing radio and that’s the image they want to portray to the consumer.

“We are very excited about our new campaign, which was almost entirely created with the talents of over 25 of our country’s top young animators. This world-class production effectively illustrates the effect 5FM has on the lifestyles of our national youth audience: we are here to amplify your world and provide the soundtrack to the revolution that is 21st century lifestyle beyond.” 5FM**


This whole campaign is a self-pleasuring session of the Nth degree. I can’t relate to the ads. Hell, I can’t even find a link between them and the station.

Exhibit A: “Walk the dog”. One (not 5) 50ft woman strolling through the city centre with a 30ft tarantula on a leash. Here you go:

Exhibit B: “DJ”. An octopus (that has 8 arms, not 5) spins discs and mixes audio.

Exhibit C: “Kiss” Two (still not 5) prepubescent emo-brats get over themselves long enough to swap spit and the city explodes.

Exhibit D: “Clubbing”. 4 (again not 5) rejects from a Tokyo Drift casting session arrive at a meat-warehouse nightclub (a la Blade) and then morph into wolves ready to snack on sheep.

Don’t get me wrong. Visually, the spots are eye-catching and definitely something new. And yes, the allegories in the last 2 are slightly more obvious than the first couple. But the problem remains that there’s no link between them and the brand. None.

Usually I wouldn’t blame 5FM, but after reading that quote above, it seems everyone just went into a board meeting, crunched down some crazy pills and then took turns fellating each other. It’s Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome: where no-one in the creative meeting undestood what the hell was going on, but the key decision-maker (who didn’t want to look like a doos) signed off on it and everyone wanted to keep their paycheques so they just went along with it.

In stark contrast (and just to prove my point) was the latest offering from Metro FM (no, I don’t work for them). A simple, understated spot playing music from the station with visuals illustrating the bond that listeners over the course of generations have felt with Metro FM. No fancy CGI, no cooler-than-thou edginess…just a clear simple message of what the station stands for and what you can expect as a listener.

So why did 5FM run the campaign? I think it was just to give hormone-riddled middle-class teenage bastards yet another opportunity to spout off about how they’re so hard-done by.

[SCENE: Dad and son sitting in the lounge watching TV. One of 5FM’s ads flights on the screen. After it’s done, there’s a pause.]

DAD: What the hell was that?

SON: That’s exactly it! You don’t understand me Dad! You never have! It’s not about “what it is”, but “how it makes you feel”. But you don’t care about that. You don’t care about how I feel. You never care about my needs dad. I asked for Nintendo Wii and you got me a PS3. A PS3! I can’t play Dynamite Racing Bitches 4 on a PS3 dad! And you still haven’t replaced the plasma LCD in my room. I asked for a 120 inch plasma. Not a 118 inch plasma! So my friends don’t come around to visit anymore. I’m too ashamed to Facebook because my MacBook is last month’s model. I’m not earning any money dad! I can’t afford these shiny things. Between school and parties and my tik habit and getting drunk at the mall on the sly and having unprotected sex in the toilets, I don’t have the time to get a job! But you don’t understand at all! You just judge me because you don’t understand my music or my friends or the fact that I wear black all the time and cut myself for no real reason other than to get attention. I want to go to therapy like the other kids, dad. I want prozac and lithium and ritalin. I want…

[Dad leans over and gently but forcefully snaps his son’s neck. He whips out a set of cutlery and hums as he slices the kid into bite-size pieces]

DAD: [mouth is full] You just got owned, bitch.


Thanks to Roy Blumenthal for reminding about this post. I wrote it when the campaign first launched. Nice to see that the opinions are still shared.

*Hate that term. It’s up there with the incorrect use of “synergy” and “whereby”.



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