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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Advertising industry must support local musicians

I am dreaming of a day when the music and the advertising industries would consistently work together like hand in glove. In the early 80s, most adverts' musical scores were freshly produced by either budding musicians or established musicians themselves. This brings to mind adverts such as Body Mist, Jungle Oats, Cadbury Chomp etc.
The musical scores were very relevant to the brand and original, I can still remember the lyrics and the melody to all the three ads - as I used to sing along. When I listen to background music of most adverts now, I realise that most of it is library music - when our country is full of talented musicians who are more than capable of producing music for the various TV commercials.

Clients spent thousands of rands and renewal fees on library music and we don't even know who produced it. When one travels abroad, you will never hear foreign adverts playing a Zonke or Karen Zoid song as background music to their adverts - they utilise their own music to popularise their products and, chances are, the music utilised in the ad was produced by their own artists, even if it's old songs.

Benefits for music artists and groups

In as much as some pay-off lines of certain brands or products are similar to circular musical hit songs, and some hit songs are used to drive a certain message of a product or service, we could start using our own musical hits produced by our South African artists to drive or popularise a message of a brand, product or service to the target audience. Various music artists and groups could benefit out this collaboration.

I can actually even picture a Loerie category of the best musical score for a brand, product or service by an artist or group or even an MTN award. Imagine that.

We do have corporate clients like Nedbank who once utilised Freshlyground and Cell C utilising Zola and Zakes Bantwini, but for the number of adverts produced in our country year in and year out, and artists, it's embarrassing and not looking very rosy when one thinks of the client's budget for campaigns.

The musical score does not have to be a 10 track CD or a 3.30 minute song... background music that is 30-45 seconds long would also drive a message home.

Long-term collaborations

What I envisage is long-term collaborations, on long-term campaigns with artists and corporate clients across all sectors of brands, products and services. The profiling of that artist or group vis-a-vis clients product or brands should ideally have synergy. I take cognisance of the fact that some clients would shy away from having celebrities as 'brand ambassadors' for their products, lest they (celebrities) be implicated in some unsavoury shenanigans that could jeopardise or dent the image of their brand or company, but in the case of musical scores there would be no stigma attached to it.

We all know that our music industry in our country is very erratic. Great musicians sometimes struggle to make ends meet. Therefore, opportunities like these would be very encouraging for them to work hard and put their creativity to good use.

Thus, I am posing a serious challenge to the advertising industry creative teams to start thinking and linking the campaigns that are Proudly South African to Proudly South African musicians to work together in creating great brands, and music. Enough said.

About Bonnie Ramaila

Bonnie Ramaila is a seasoned communication and marketing expert and professional with over 20 years' experience in the communication, public relations, media liaison, advertising, branding, eventing, marketing, reputation management, business development and stakeholder relations and management in both the private and public sectors.
Neo Marumo-Mphaphuli
I concur with your sentiments and perhaps we’ve failed to recall mnemonics influence to cultivate brand recognition. MaRamaila possibly Loeries introducing a music category shall bring an impetus for agencies, hence such a mechanism will only stimulate agencies to incorporate local music in adverts to make inroads comparable to the proliferation of TV ads resembling our multiculturalist country.South Africa's unique musical sound resonates with audiences that will assist in seamlessly capturing audiences attention instead of relying upon creative asethetics and storylines.
Posted on 20 Aug 2014 14:34
Yummy Blu
Well, as a Communications student who loves music I certainly agree with you Bonnie. Both industries are the type to adapt into ANY other field. I honestly don't understand why and how we couldn't possibly get them to grow together as one. We have very talented producers and bands. How sad is it that our very own Civil Twilight only got featured in the Twilight saga by Americans? We always complain that artists don't get paid well enough, that "Oh they do this out of love, so it must be easy for them". Honestly, that is the most ridiculous and offensive thing I've heard as a musician. I, therefore see the opportunity for advertisers to grab. Do what we were meant to do; bringing solutions.Once again, thank you so much for this article. I will absolutely remember it when I start working.
Posted on 20 Aug 2014 16:34
Dakalo Ramabulana
I just read the first three paragraphs of your article and I truthfully understand and stand with the point you are making. In addition to what you are saying; I have noticed in South Africa that most of the people who watch advertisements do not really understand the true message that the brand is trying to convey unless they are academically qualified with advertising or branding. Consequently, what it takes is to have something that people love and know about, and in South Africa it would be music because we love our own music as it is diverse
Posted on 21 Aug 2014 08:57
Simone Bosman
If you were writing this as a South African consumer who has no access to the advertising world, then I would totally understand where it is that you are coming from. But listen carefully...listen to the radio ads and tv ads very carefully and ask yourself, if the track is not renowned, does it necessarily mean that it is library? To purchase well known or popular tracks for advertising used to be affordable for clients. However, with the big publishers managing more artists/ bands and affiliating more to their international standards - license to purchase a popular local track for a short term on an advert can range from R250k - R1m! As a result, clients who are able to afford and also motivate their marketing spend to purchase a popular track as a campaign investment will be able to afford this.But for those brands who trim their budgets, agency creatives and clients have become more astute to give more south african composers briefs to produce music (that you might deem as Library).Listen and listen very carefully to the quality of the back ground music. More and more composers are willing to produce a track for a campaign to beat the Library sounds...The question, that you should be posing well known musicians is - are they willing to adjust themselves and collaborate with the ad industry? There are, but a handful of well known musicians who have woken up to the merits of producing tracks for commercial. We wish that more would come to the fore.Listen, and listen to how the advertising industry has adjusted itself to this category. The SA ad industry has been embrasive by producing Proudly South African adverts - we just need to ensure that we have more ingredient to work with.
Posted on 26 Aug 2014 08:58
Seriane Morapeli
The recent Joy Cadbury ad is an example of this idea, the use of a similar named song by The Soil, made the ad clever. This was of benefit to both the brands. I know whenever I see Cadbury chocolate that song plays in my head. Brilliant idea Bonnie, the only limitation is that it is likely to be a success if it uses popular and known artists. If not, it may air unnoticed
Posted on 30 Aug 2014 16:15