Australia’s medical insurance company, Medical Benefits Fund, launched it’s “Be Positive” campaign in May 2003 with a television commercial featuring the song, “Accentuate the Positive”. M & C Saatchi Sydney helped MBF reignite hope in the hearts of disillusioned Australians with the feel-good romantic spin on hopeless situations.
The ad starts with a smiling chap on the steps listening to his girl friend ranting, “That is it! I’m leaving right now! I’ve had enough!” He says, “I’ll marry her one day”. We’re treated to a series of vignettes in which people see their world with hope rather than despair, including the couple who add their twins to the population count of their local town. The ad finishes with the opening couple driving off. She’s still ranting. But their car has “Just Married” painted on the back!
MBF was not selling any particular products with the ad. It was a successful attempt to associate the brand with inspiration, hope and community support even in the face of negative experiences.
The TV advert was so popular with Australians that MBF worked with Mark Rivett, producer, composer, creative director with Song Zu Studios, Sydney, to release a whole album of swing music. (Check it out at HMV). Mark sings the song on the ad to the accompaniment of John Morrison Swingcity Big Band. Emma Pask joined Mark in the lead vocals for the album. Profits from the sale of the album were distributed via MBF Project Hope to charities working with children and young adults.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
“Accentuate the Positive” was written by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen for Bing Crosby’s 1944 film, “Here Come the Waves.” The song was recorded for commercial release by Bing and the Andrews Sisters on Dec. 8, 1944. Although Bing’s recording stayed on the pop charts for 9 weeks in 1945, reaching as high as No. 2, it was eclipsed by Johnny Mercer’s own version that topped the charts for two weeks in January. The song was nominated for an Academy Award in 1945.
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene
Be positive, yeah!