The ad: Amstel Lager ‘The Chef’
Beer brand Amstel recently launched a new ad. The story? The ad tells the story of Simphiwe Nzima, a young man who takes up a job as a dishwasher so he can learn from the chefs around him and, over time, gain the experience he needs to realise his dream of becoming a chef and opening his own restaurant. Red & Yellow School of Magic & Logic student, Robert Neubert and lecturer Anka Joubert give their views.
Take your time
“Take your time.” Ok, the thought is there and it’s a nice sentiment. It also relates back to the brand in that Amstel lager is “slow brewed” and “extra matured”. That being said, I’m still left feeling a little underwhelmed at the end of this advert.
Let’s explore why.
The best part about this commercial has to be the production quality. It’s beautifully shot and edited to perfection. The soundtrack used suits the message being portrayed as well as the uplifting tone of what the brand is trying to communicate. However, I don’t know if this is actually based on a true story and, if so, it wasn’t made clear to me at any point. But it tells a story nonetheless and storytelling is what it’s all about these days, right?
Originality is key to differentiation and, today, where everything is a remake of a remake of a remake of a fairytale, it’s not often that something fresh is brought to the table. Let me parallel this with another entertainment industry, film. So, you go watch Snow White and the Huntsman. It ends up being pretty entertaining but nothing spectacular. Despite the minor alteration in the title, Snow White still wins in the end, manages to fall in love along the way and ultimately proves that true love and goodness conquer all.
“Take your time”, “Good things take time”, “Time flies” and suddenly Allan Gray is selling beer. Not really, but you know what I mean.
To sum it all up, I like the ad. I don’t love it. It’s not going to convert my beer preference from Black Label to Amstel but if I did drink Amstel, I’d feel pretty good about it.
Roy Neubert: After spending three years studying business in Stellenbosch, I realised I was bored. So, I moved to Cape Town and enrolled at Red and Yellow. I started off as a copy writer and changed half way through the year to art direction and graphic design. It’s not that I don’t like words; I just like how they look as well. I’m now in my final year at the school of logic and magic and I’m thinking about going into film. I’m not so bored anymore.”
A lasting memory? Not quite
We all know that advertising is about story-telling so the Chef, the latest Amstel TVC does just that; fairly well. However not all stories are alike. One can’t really compare a JM Coetzee with a Danielle Steel. A true epic cannot really be compared to the latest Vin Diesel blockbuster. You get my point. Yes it’s a good story and rings true to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but really memorable no. Do not get me wrong the actual production is superb, a production that only a few including Greg Gray of Velocity Films can actually achieve, however compelling and thought provoking? No.
We all know the ending once the commercial gets going, it’s as clear as crystal. Where’s the surprise? Where’s the real drama? This story has been told many many times, so a new concept? Over time one can achieve anything and all things get better with time, mmmh it has been done. This surely will not let me drop my ice cold Heineken and rush out to get an Amstel. So I am asking myself who is this ad talking to? Who is their target market and what is the real purpose of this ad? Yes this delivers a feel good and inspirational feeling, yet there are so many of these “underdog-becoming-a-hero” ads around. And somehow it also makes me think of a financial services ad. Great production and excellent cinematography, yes! A lasting memory, not quite.
Anke Joubert: Anka has been in the design & advertising industry since 1994 with experience in Cape Town and London. Her passion is to work in-house as close to her brand as possible and to start in-house design studios. “I have employed many graduates in the past, yet many could not send material to print without huge problems but most of all they were so slow on the Mac and their Adobe skills were below average. So in 2006 I decided it will be my job to change it! And thus my training journey started; ensuring graduates are actually not just conceptual thinkers but actual competent print and front-end web designers, with great speed, thorough repro knowledge and a life-long love for learning new programs, tricks and an obsession with typography!”