Phil Bilbrough: a lovely truth

A lovely truth

by  Phil Bilbrough

The UNITEC stories mostly work for me. The trainee photographer, the nurse and the architect all beginning their careers at UNITEC and (at least I believe) to go on.  I don’t know how successful these ads are, but for me they mostly resonate. They are stories of hope, determination and persistence.  Yet it isn’t those attributes that resonate with me, its the people and their teachers. Their situations feel real, their challenges likely, and their goals genuine – and there it is. Its a lovely truth.

I’m very conscious of context. There is no truth without context, someone far smarter than I said. And I said as well. So what else is going on in my world which makes these ads spin for me.  The London riots? Arab revolutions? The RWC hype? Massive Government ball-out of finance companies? Yes its all these things. I’ve just stopped believing. I have trust issues with the world, and my guess is that many NZer’s do.

The UNITEC ads might be completely made-up they maybe all actors but they feel complex, textured, challenging and real. There is something protestant about these ads. Hard work is good for your soul (said a protestant priest sometime in history)and telling it like it is almost mostly as sweet.

I want these people to succeed. From my complete world of disbelief I have been brought around to believe and hope. I’m sure this campaign will be successful.

The TVCs are great the UNITEC website is cool and the Facebook page. Good job. I mean the education market is pretty competitive, so this makes the get real tell it like it is UNITEC campaign feels quite brave. They could have landed us with a usual suspects of successful people who have come from UNITEC or flash some $$ in a young person’s eyes and bribe them to UNITEC.

I think disillusionment with the world is a cyclic – except for me that is, I’m permanently disillusioned. Yet in the 70s Coke met the needs of the very angry Vietnam / Korean War / Cold War generation with their “Its the Real Thing” campaign. The 80s over the top bullshit era followed by a more considered 90s and then consumer driven optimism rebuilt the bullshit hill in the first decade of the new millennium.

But now its different. Why is a decade seemingly always the defining period of time? The wars, credit crunches, the bullshit finance deals (even salt-of-the-earth men losing billions), corporate bailouts, and then nature throws a serious tantrum. Who can we turn to? Who can we trust? Nobody. We can only trust ourselves. Its back to basics and hard work and the best we can wish for are mentors who do no more than guide us in the right direction.

OMG don’t I sound protestant?

Its just that these UNITEC ads don’t sparkle – enough. They are a lovely truth, but they need more and more might come. These ads are about enabling change. There is a lot of drama in these ads. Just some sparkle in them might make them easier to write about. To inject some energy into the viewer. I hope its coming.


Phil Bilbrough is a freelance online advertising specialist who is blogging on the subject for Scoop at He can be contacted at

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