Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Police ads – good and bad

The New Zealand Police have tried a lot of different types of advertising over the years, and these days they try to make them friendly and accessible. But as any advertiser can confirm, even the best intentions don’t always create good ads. The police have two running on NZ television at the moment, one is good and one is, well, less so.

The video above is the “long cut” of the “New Cops” recruitment ad that began running late last year. The current shorter version is different from the shorter version they ran last year, but both are probably better than the long version because they’re sharper and more focused. The ad is similar in style and approach to one I shared early last year.

The ad works mostly because of the use of humour to present basic facts, and, like that ad I shared last year, it includes plenty of Kiwi-isms. New Zealand still needs more police, obviously, and it’s trying to diversify its ranks to be more representative of the community. This ad reflects much of what they’re trying to do. Whether it’s showing the cops being friendly and approachable, respectful of differences, or using Te Reo Māori, the ad reflects what the police want to be, and that’s a good thing.

The other ad (below) promotes new non-emergency police phone number, 105 (said as “ten five”). It was launched “at 10:05 am on the 10th of the 5th [month]”. The ad definitely doesn’t work as well as the one up top, even though it uses the same basic approach as their other ads from recent years. Like the video above, this is the “long cut” from which the actual ad is edited. Part of the reason the current TV ad doesn’t work is that making it shorter makes the humour too disjointed, which was less of a problem with the ad up top which has more distinct scenes, where the ad below has several that overlap.

A problem that’s unique to the ad below is that the sound is terrible. The opening vocal is way too soft and weak, so much so that I still can’t make out most of what she’s singing, and I’ve seen the ad several times. The same problem pops up several times in the video and ad. I also think this ad takes the approach used in other police ads and makes a bit of a mess of it—it’s a little too disjointed. On the other hand, it is catchy and will probably achieve the goal—getting Kiwis to remember 105 as the number to call for non-emergencies. Hopefully they’ll also get enough out of the ad to also know when something isn’t an emergency. If they can hear it.

The ad below shows that, as any advertiser can confirm, even the best intentions don’t always create good ads. This ad could have been so much better and stronger than it ended up being. At least the one up top is good.


rogerogreen said...

I must say I HATE 10-5 as a device. There's no 10. They've discovered - seriously -that kids had difficulty with 911 when they said "nine eleven", as opposed to nine-one-one.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I'm not sure that's true here. The new number was announced, as I quoted in the post, "the 10th of the 5th [month]". In common speech, New Zealanders would sat that as "the tenth of the fifth" or "10 May 2019". I think it's possible that Kiwi kids, being used to the way dates are described, might not have the same issues. Also, our emergency number is 111, which is read and said as "one one one". I think all of that might matter.