AAMI’s Rhonda and Ketut love affair story to end: Lessons for your business

AAMI’s successful advertising campaign featuring on-screen lovers ‘Rhonda’ and ‘Ketut’ is set to wrap up following the high school reunion instalment currently airing.

Ogilvy Melbourne general manager Michael McEwan told SmartCompany this morning that it was time to move on to a new campaign.

 “The Rhonda and Ketut love story really captured the imagination of the Australian public, and proved incredibly successful for our client AAMI,” McEwan says.

 “Not only did the campaign’s content seep into the Aussie vernacular, it inspired a range of other reactions from t-shirts on the streets of Bali, political cartoons, memes and parodies – and even the names of racehorses and greyhounds.

 “We’re very proud of this famous campaign and the results it produced for AAMI, but it’s now time to say goodbye to these much-loved characters.” 

Mumbrella reports AAMI executive manager Richard Riboni said, “All good things must come to an end eventually, all stories have an end date. The final ads are on air at the moment.”

“The actors need to be available and wanting to do it and this point in time they’re not going to be available to play those roles in the foreseeable future,” Riboni said.

The series of three advertisements, which have gained a cult following, have propelled already successful actor Mandy McElhinney as Rhonda, and newcomer Kadek Mahardika as Ketut, into the spotlight.

The campaign was created by Ogilvy Australia. It reports on its website that the objective of the ads was to introduce AAMI’s new Claim Assist App, and also to build a narrative around the characters to help the audience engage with the AAMI brand.

The first instalment sees Rhonda on holiday in Bali, where she is lathered in attention by Ketut. The second instalment sees her arrives home and reminisce to her friend about the trip, at which point they crash the car into a fruit truck. The third instalment sees Ketut appear at Rhonda’s high school reunion to win her over again.

Ogilvy reported after the original advertisement that it had some “ground-breaking results so far” with the campaign. It said App downloads increased 1782% from the launch of the campaign (figures until late 2012) advertising recognition for the commercial was 67% (34% higher than average), and that brand linkage for the campaign was 79% (27% higher than average).

Ogilvy said that 46% of consumers found the original commercial enjoyable to watch, with the normal figure for most advertisements at 21%.

Yesterday on AAMI’s Google+ page, the company launched an eBay campaign to auction off “Rhonda’s Bling” for charity beyondblue. The “bling” includes a necklace charm and peep toe shoes that she wears in the high school reunion scene.

Earlier in the campaign’s success, Taboo strategy director Richard Hack spoke to SmartCompany about what businesses can learn from Rhonda and Ketut.

He said one of the strengths of the campaign is its primary focus on the benefits of being with AAMI.

“AAMI has taken the pretty straightforward dry product of car insurance and shown the benefits of the savings in terms of lifestyle and turned it into something more aspirational,” he said.

Hack said the casting of the characters as relatable; ‘real’ people has taken the initial concept further and made it appeal to a wide audience.

“They’ve done very well with the casting and the way they’ve evolved the characters,” he said.

Hack said while the characters had been hugely popular, the risk of turning characters into ambassadors is that the brand gets too tightly associated with the character and then the brand becomes “beholden to the talent”.

This may be what has happened with the end of the successful advertisements, with AAMI suggesting the curtain call is a result of the lack of availability of the actors who play Rhonda and Ketut.

Hack said the campaign demonstrated the success of ‘branded content marketing’, which blurs the distinction between what constitutes marketing and entertainment.


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