Less animals as Optus repositions with launch of new brand campaign via M&C Saatchi, Sydney

OPTUS-Girl & yellow cube.jpgOPTUS-Girl on bike.jpgOptus has repositioned its brand in a major campaign via M&C Saatchi, Sydney that debuted last night with a 60 second TVC using breakthrough camera technology.
The campaign is aimed at driving customers to take another look at Optus by connecting with them on a more emotional level.
Says M&C Saatchi executive creative director Ben Welsh: "The commercial's narrative is 'boy meets girl' but with a magical digital twist to help push reappraisal of Optus."
Optus Head of Segment Marketing Gavin Williams said the campaign's message is simple: "We share in what matters most to you. From connecting you with the people you love, to getting the hottest phone before anyone else, it's possible with Optus."

OPTUS-Boy & Girl.jpgOPTUS-Data girl.jpgIn the TVC a yellow cube - which features throughout the campaign - acts as an enabler that transports the girl from Shanghai to her lover in an Australian country town.

Using a bespoke technique, the team at Fuel VFX visually rendered the girl as if she was data being transported across the world.
The viewer travels with the digitised girl in a space that morphs seamlessly from downtown Shanghai to country Australia.
The unique effect was achieved using specialised cameras that captured depth and  colour, scanning technology and proprietary software to pull it all together for seamless transition from virtual to real life.
"Exploring a traditional image in a 3D way was enticing and fascinating because it worked with the idea nicely," says Goodoil director Michael Wong.

Client: Optus
Agency: M&C Saatchi, Sydney
Executive Creative Director: Ben Welsh
Creative Director: Andy Flemming
Creative Director: Shane Gibson
Head of Strategy: Colin Jowell
Senior Producer: Loren August
Managing Partner: Christine Gardner
Account director: James Rendel

Production Company: Goodoil Films

Director: Michael Wong
Executive Producer: Juliet Bishop
Post Production: Fuel VFX
VFX Supervisor: Steve Anderson
VFX Producer: Erica Ford
Art Director: Brendan Savage

OPTUS-Window.jpgAbout the pioneering camera technology

To express the connectivity of the couple who are continents apart, Director Michael Wong gave Fuel VFX a brief that centered on a unique visual representation of the girl being transported to her lover as if she were data.

Fuel drew on the Kinect technology, Microsoft's motion-sensing software used for its Xbox 360 interactive games. The Kinect camera captures the depth in a scene and with its low-resolution, 'noisy' visual output, was perfect for helping to achieve a digital look of the girl and her environment.
On location in Shanghai, two Kinect cameras were rigged on to an Arri Alexa digital camera, the Kinect capturing depth and the Alexa capturing colour. Lidar scans were taken of the entire streetscapes, which give long-range, detailed 3D outputs in high resolution. Further, hundreds of photogrammetry stills were also taken to support the Lidar and to give it colour information later in the process.
The visual effects team developed proprietary software that allowed for a streamlining of data acquisition from the Kinect camera to enable the production team to review the footage while on location. For production, this saved time, money and negated the need for a studio shoot.
Back at Fuel's Newtown studio, artists used a suite of technologies to combine the elements from the Kinect data, the Alexa footage, the Lidar scans and photogrammetry to re-build a complete CG representation of the environment and the action within it, followed by the transitions from virtual to real life.


TC said:

Nice to see a telco do something unique. Well done.

ranter #4236 said:

All I see is a girl in negligee. And an obtruse rhino.

This is like some weird arthouse shit and tells me very little about what should make me choose Optus over any other telco that can do anything "From connecting you with the people you love, to getting the hottest phone before anyone else"

wallpaper. and a whole lot of meh.

The Horn said:

WTF? Is this a bottom drawer Moccona script rehashed for Optus??? The inclusion of the Rhino outside the pub was very subtle.

Why? said:

It's shit.

The Rhino Said said:

Nice idea and pretty faultless execution. Good job M&C

Monkeyboy said:

Wow, stunning.

Pass the tissues said:

I'm moved, in a good way. Some pretty serious production going on here.

Translator said:

"The internet. Brought to you by Optus."

ted dibiase said:

Thanks M&C, I needed a laugh on this grey day, and the rhino delivered. Comedy gold.

Sexy undershorts said:

Love it!! Good work everyone.

Mondays... said:

I'm liking. Nice locations, nice VFX!

splashy said:

watched last night with the kids...no one got any of the guff from above but rhino was noted i we thought it was a sony ad til end

Classy said:

It was the best ad on telly by far last night. For a start it was the only one that looked like it wasn't shot on an iphone. I have really missed seeing beautiful production in advertising. At the moment Home and Away is far classier than the ads on during it.

Good things to say said:

Astroturfing 101. Go M&C.

Leo said:

I rewound and re-watched it when it came on last night. Can't think of the last ad that made that me do that, let alone the last telco ad. Lovely job.

Wow said:

At last. Someone's making ads that credit the viewer with a little intelligence rather than spoon feeding them a strategy. Great work. Stunning, stunning visuals m&c.

Thanks Baz said:

Is Baz Luhrmann on the list of credits?


Cindy said:

Would love to know what got the rhino over the line. What about an orangutan hanging from the pub awning. Or a giraffe looking out the office window. What ever happened to some of those other lesser animals? Like wild, african goats and meerkats or even a cute little fawn? There's more to life than polar bears, penguins, chimps and rhinos.

Baconaise said:

A long winded, simpering way of saying you can use your phone and internet abroad.

Loaded with unnecessary visual metaphors - big soft white thing in the street the girl lies on, strange 'golden shower time portal' to transport her to her lover, nod to previous ad with rhino – then someone (client?) insists you still have to show her using the ipad app in the hotel room to bring the 'dream' crashing back to earth.

It's a monster.

captainshiraz said:

Great work Mr Fleming, GoodOil and Fuel VFX.

I see a lead in to the broader services Optus will be offering through the NBN co.

Sandeep Verma said:

Nice work. Loved it!

Sandeep Verma said:

Nice work. Loved it!

Postie said:

A lot of post people have been whispering about this one for a while now. I can see why. Great work M&C, Fuel. Best VFX in Australia for a long time.

Pete said:

Nice idea with a wonderful execution.

I always have a soft spot for well executed stuff that creates an emotional connection.

Gary said:

Nice one Ben, Andy and Shane.

Candice said:

I like. A big, beautifully crafted piece of work. Nice change from cheap telephone cp ads - eg Vodafail, Telstra, Virgin.

Postie said:

A lot of post people have been whispering about this one for a while now. I can see why. Great work M&C, Fuel. Best VFX in Australia for a long time.

Jealous said:

Wish I had that sort of production budget.

Harpo said:

Great music track. Is the composer ex-nylon?

Lee said:

Apparently it's been done to cover all of Asia for Singtel.

Mick said:

Nice. M&C running on a potent mix of high grade Fuel and Goodoil. Onya Andy & Shane.

areyoufarkinserious? said:

fuck off M&C staff, this is a bloated, cheezy turd that resembles some electronics ad from Sth Korea. as for the so called insight, wow who knew that the telephone could keep you in touch with loved ones far away?

Heh said:

The haters are sugared up on their afternoon orange squash. Yeah, it's easy to rip into a multi million dollar campaign isn't it?

How did they do that? said:

Seriously. How did they do that?

Three Year Old said:

It's not bad, but it's hardly a new technique or a fresh visual imagery . . .

Radiohead '08 'House of Cards'


Weknow said:

Radiohead used data scanning. Fuel created their own way of doing it.

Three Year Old said:


Geovideo's 3D video scanner is a motion capture system. The Lidar 3D laser scanner integrated with the Kinect camera is also a motion sensing capture device.

While the proprietary tools are from different sources, they create a remarkably similar image of data noise.

Huffy McGhee said:

The FVO was so miserable, like she was on the verge of tears. Goes completely against the nice, charming music and spot and totally ruined it for me.

Candice said:

I like. A big, beautifully crafted piece of work. Nice change from cheap telephone cp ads - eg Vodafail, Telstra, Virgin.

Buffy said:

Awesome. Beautiful. Expensive. Clever. Standout. What happened? This isn't like us!!

Sorry. said:

It's a 'first cab off the rank' idea polished to within an inch of its life.

PeopleNotProduct said:

Great work M&C.

To all the negative people commenting, here is a quick reminder about the intent of engagment - we are in a time when the message is about people not the product for a brand/company like of this type.

It is about an emotional connect and breaking it down to a simple form that is Optus is here to connect you to your world.

Again great work M&C and co. and to Optus for not pushing a price/product/tech specs down our throat.

Out of Touch said:

At which point in the ad does the metaphor begin?

To begin with she's lying on snow in the street, then running through the city in her neglige BEFORE she hits the big yellow box thingy and is transported back to OZ.

It doesn't make any sense. Is it all a dream? Where does the rhino fit in? Convoluted nonsense.

Telcos have been telling us you can be in two places at once for years. Keep in touch? You've been left behind in the 90's M&C.

Fact said:

You know an ad's not very good when everyone bangs on about how amazing the post is.

OMFG said:

"so we want to make an ad.....

It shouldn't be anything like our other ads...... but it has to have an animal in it

It should show exactly what we do...... while not saying we do anything different to anyone else

It should be a technological achievement..... while reproducing something thats already been done, and doing it poorly (IMO)

It should be a technological achievement..... But there is no need for a digital component, or even a link at the end.

We need a magical and inspiring device....... but it shouldn't be a sphere

It should be a beautiful story about "boy meets girl"........ but they have already met.

I could keep going and going and going

So, Optus makes anything possible, Should read, "basically, you can make a phone call, and thats about it"

technical achievement said:

congrats! you've managed to polish a turd in away that no-ones ever polished one before.

Buffy said:

Awesome. Beautiful. Expensive. Clever. Standout. What happened? This isn't like us!!

Real. said:

Wish I'd done it. Absolutely nobody I work on would possibly entertain the idea of making something this big or polarising. Last thing we did got three comments. Well done you bastards.

Rich. said:

I preferred that Vodafone ad that Nick Worthington did with the guy who could fold up his loved one and life in his phone, trot to Asia and call her. It made me think that it was easy. I know reality was not the case but the ad was still a good one.
OK the production was not like this one, but that ad felt right. Not forced.

looky said:

Looks like every visual i've seen in the last ten years in one ad.

Kind of like ad land highlights reel. Ha ha ha, I made myself laugh.

hands up said:

go how many of you complimenting this work for Fuel, Good Oil or M&C?

ShadowStalker said:

Beautiful effects / grading / cinematography - but the idea?


pretentious (prɪˈtɛnʃəs)

— adj
1. making claim to distinction or importance, esp undeservedly
2. having or creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth; ostentatious

Buffy said:

Awesomer. Beautifuler. Expensiver. Cleverer. Standouter. What happeneded? This isn't like us!!

Mick said:

Telstra...still the best

The Vampire Slayer said:

No, Buffy, this is exactly like you I'm afraid.
But with a larger budget.

Insider said:

the rhino is a metaphor for the bloke having the horn for his concubine who is OS.

Bellissima said:

A beautifully-crafted, breath of fresh air for the brand, as well as for the telco industry.

Can't get enough of this ad. M&C, marry me?

So? said:

I know *some* of the people who did this, and they're some of the nicest, sharpest lot in the business. They're also capable of doing work at a stupendously large scale that isn't shit. I also know a great many people who couldn't. CBA next guys. Better be good!

Reality Check said:

Bladerunner + Radiohead House of Cards + Australia + Soft porn + most Perfume ads + any Samsung ad + bad CGI Rhino + Alice in Wonderland + Star Trek + Lost in Translation = An idiotic mess.

I guess there is an idea in there, actually about twenty. All borrowed and thrown in a blender to produce this sludge like collage of meaninglessness. How could anybody possibly celebrate such a monstrosity?

M&C Saatchi have demonstrated "It's possible" to spend millions of dollars creating absolute and utter drivel.

See through said:

This entire thread is so transparent with this sea of posting positivity. It's like they've gotten everyone possible to bomb it with good comments. I can imagine the all staff email being mailed out just before it hit the blog. However, it's backfired, in my opinion. Not even Pure Waters would have had so many positive posts. Sorry, but it simply shows desperation and a fear of bad reviews and cheapens a truly awful commercial even more. A huge waste of money on an idea (if you can call it that) that just isn't inspiring at all. On the other hand, the old woman who lives next door will probably love it!

To PeopleNotProduct said:

Showing emotion doesn't necessarily give a viewer an emotional connection. If only it were that simple.

OTC said:


marrianne said:

I like it a lot.
This has Andy & Shane all over it.
A new beginning for Optus.

Beautifully written, understated, elegant and most importantly, distinct from the parochial nuts and bolts approach of Telstra.

The token rino makes me smile.

Optus 'No' said:

The best way to get people to join the network is to do maintenance on your facilities from time to time, you know, so you can actually provide the service people pay you to provide. But I suppose that's more expensive than an ad.

Here's a challenge said:

Can any of the positive commenters please explain what this ad is about and why it's so brilliant.

I'll be here till about mid arvo, then I'm hoping to get away early.

len said:


Same, but a little more elegant.

Grammar Jerk said:

Grammar Jerk here. 'Fewer' animals as opposed to 'Less' animals please!? 'Less' should be used for mass nouns, not quantifiable ones!

Ouch said:

That could have been beautiful and slick. Instead it was like Vegas trying to be Paris. Shit house grade / Art Direction / fail. This could have been so good.

Shouldn't show your face said:

This is truely embarrasing on every level. Where did it all go wrong? The script? The filming ? The apalling post? Please explain.

Old CD Guy said:

So let me see if I've got the message out-take right: 'You can use your phone or computer to get/stay in touch with loved ones. '

No news in that, nor any reason to use Optus.

And stick in a rhino to provide continuity with the previous few year's work.

Too harsh?

For all those waxing eloquent on the glossy visuals - try to imagine it as a script.

There's nothing there.

Thetruth said:

Telcos don't make anything. They sell phones that are advertised by other people and provide an infrastructure to support conversations - both analogue and digital. There's never, ever been anything to say other than price claims. That means that rather like beer, if people like the ad, they'll possibly like the product. Simple. Thought you would have known that 'oldcdguy.' It's worked for beer, spirits and even banks for years.

Saaaaweeet said:

This ad touched me, and I'm an ad t**t. Very, very well done gents.

Old CD Guy said:

And if the ads you're thinking of don't have a tangible point of difference, 5:25, they convince, cajole and persuade because of something that adds a sense of added value; through wit, charm, exaggeration or the sneaky invention of a sense of difference. Then there's the bulk of campaigns which, despite glittering art-direction, all blend into one another. And in that category I would include most of what passes for the advertising we see every day. Like this spot. I really wanted to like it, but...

Charles Darwin said:

Stunning. Nice to see something decent on-air. Simple idea with faultless execution. Fuel continue to surprise. Outstanding work.

P said:

Its infuriating.

missed oppurtunity said:

could have been amazing visually, but was spoilt by terrible art direction.


Rocks said:

To those being critical, it’s nice looking at pretty little glass houses, isn’t it?

Kindly suggest a better idea, or kindly, shut up.

Well done M&C Saatchi, and all those involved.

It's a blog, stupid. said:

Rocks, we don't have to suggest a better idea. We're not working on Optus or for M&C.
We are, however, allowed to give our opinion.

Charles Darwin, could you please enlighten the rest of us with what the simple idea is, cos it look very convoluted to me.

Sigh... said:

The strategy is straight out of the 90s. The rest is just expensive wank juice.

'No' Optus said:

Looks nice. But it's so category generic. Plenty of style. Zero substance.

'No' Optus said:

Looks nice. But it's so category generic. Plenty of style. Zero substance.

Greenhouse said:

1:31 PM, stupid, I guess you don’t know what ‘glass houses’ are, either.

What? said:

I have no idea what this ad is trying to tell me.

Worst of all, I have no idea how someone could've written this as a script and thought to themselves, "Yes, I've cracked it".

Andrew P said:

great job on the VFX.. really nicely shot as well..

think some of the shot are a little abstract and convoluted, but overall, more interesting than most ads on the idiot box

CM said:

I thought it was beautiful and well crafted. I felt like I travelled with her

Adman said:

Those bloggers who praise this work should stick to their day jobs in design, mac art and haberdashery.

It's a blog, stupid. said:

Greenhouse, can't say I do know what glass houses are.

I am aware of the proverb that refers to people who live in one and throwing stones.
Not, as you put it: 'To those being critical, it’s nice looking at pretty little glass houses, isn’t it?'
Which doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Much like this ad.

I'll repeat what I said earlier, this is a blog. People are allowed to leave criticism or praise for the work submitted by the agency. Sorry if that upsets you.

ShadowStalker said:

It's all about Cyber Sex...think about it... terrible I know, terrible

A Eulogy said:

88 messages on an ad that wouldn't get the time of day in the US or the UK, and wouldn't make it on to the show reels of the Mill, or ILM, or Digital Domain, or Method, or MPC, or Mass Market, or Buf, or Framestore, or any top vfx house in the world because its effects are so terribly derivative of another highly publicised look that was all the buzz, three years ago.

Thanks for explaining to us all how you did it though, as if there weren't already six You Tube videos by the originators of this technique doing the step by step of a how to. Wow, digital scanners and range finder motion capture to create a metaphoric look for data? Pretty groundbreaking, when it was done in '08.

Very telling that it was shot in China as it has a look that that market would love, very colourful, but not very sophisticated, and as with the majority of the work coming out of that region with expat, retread CDs from the West, three years behind the curve.

This is the state of the Australian commercials industry that this level of work is the hot topic. Sad really, and if this cost a million dollars to produce, as some on the blog have suggested, then somebody was taken advantage of.

Last week it was Saatchi's replication of Fallon's work on Cadbury, which was already a very poor man's attempt at recreating Psyop and Wieden's work on Coke, and one top CD's rant in AdNews about the 'haters' who didn't think the work was well executed or original in its creative approach, which it was blatantly neither.

Just because we live at the edge of the world, doesn't mean that we need to pretend as if the rest of the world doesn't exist, or that we don't see what people of talent are doing elsewhere.

Not everyone with an eye, some expertise, and more experience than yesterday's account manager is a 'hater'. Some just happen to know the difference between chalk and cheese.

The Oracle said:

Thanks for that, 12:20PM. If I could summarise: All the second-hand glittering effects in the world are no substitute for a strategic insight and a creative idea, both of which which this spot conspicuously lacks despite the cavalcade of senior people who worked on it.

Good afternoon.

Sara said:

There's obviously a lot of people who have no idea what a brand ad is. Simple people will interpret literally and don't know how to appreciate the message. Simple people, who only understands reality shows. Grow a brain.

the rise of the Illiterati said:

'Simple people who only understands reality shows' . . . no satirist could have said it better, Sara.

Sara, it's so hard to know what point you're trying to make said:

Apart from your extremely tenuous grip on the English language Sara, which of the following two boxes does your little rant put you in?

Box 1. I think this is a good ad.
Box 2. I think this is a bad ad.

Dated said:

Looks old. Not at all fresh.

Looks familiar said:

Does the spot remind anyone of the singapore airlines tvc? Except not nearly as elegantly executed.

PC SMITH said:

Anything...absolutely anything including lions, fish, dogs, cats, robots must be better than those grating Optus ads done by Kate Albert - the moaning pom.

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