Go ahead and deride Zuma but there is that other aspect of ridiculing President Zuma, it's called the target market. Comedians have said before, Zuma is the fountain of all things guaranteed to make their audiences laugh but to brands it may be another story.
I do not need peruse through the constitution booklet, the Bill of Rights or the Freedom Charter to illustrate my point about freedom of expression, Zapiro and Brett Murray have already gone that road.
Who is laughing?
The Fish and Chip company has dived head first on the mock Zuma ship. Its scaly new advert is one in a sea of many other brands attempting to catch the attention of the target market. The rationale was probably "people will share it on social media and it will go viral". But what about the real target market of The Fish and Chip Company? Obviously in the lower LSM when compared to Nando's. These are the people that will take to the streets for Zuma and if they don't, they will psychologically block the messaging. Either way, the campaign is treading on fail and a waste of money at the mouth of a recession.
The survey, conducted by marketing and social insight company TNS, during the first two weeks of August, showed Zuma still enjoys 41% support from urban dwellers. Whites and coloureds preferred Motlanthe, while only Indians favoured Zuma. The study with an error margin of 2,5% on paper is quite a different story when you consider the throngs of people who still went to feast on the beast slaughtered over the weekend.
Others have gone as far as composing songs of support during Zuma's torrent of court cases. Fact is, Zuma is still a formidable political force that is almost guaranteed another tenure.
The Fish and Chip Company offers very little apart from another franchise "Old Fashioned" Fish and Chips, even the colours look alike.
For example, in Alexandra Taxi Rank and the Pan Africa Shopping Centre the two stores are probably less than 200 meters apart. "Old Fashioned" Fish and Chips always looks much fuller than The Fish and Chip Company. Why would they want to delve into a sensitive issue for many South Africans at the height of high political awareness especially the "victimized" Zuma?
Someone needs to remind the company that it is not Nando's, its target market believes in the ANC and by extension Zuma. Some people will laugh and catch the jokes, not so for people ready to fend off anyone questioning the R200m dodgy house improvement.
Banele Rewo - Creative Director at I Create We Create Education Development Agency. A maverick education company that facilitates entrepreneurial education and career development for youth in creative careers beyond the limitations of formal academic studies.
www.icreatewecreate.co.za ICWC: Business of Creativity is the largest youth conference in Africa along with quarterly discipline specific Business Of: Music, Fashion and Brand. An opinion Leader on www.eBizRadio.com Mondays 10AM CAT. Contact Banele at , Twitter @BaneleRewo
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What's more interesting is that irony and satire are culturally learnt conventions. An unsophisticated media consumer would miss the (attempted) irony and see this as a tacit endorsement. Last time I checked, a president can't endorse a commercial product while still in office. So, that's an interesting twist.Just looking at the execution, I guess both agency and client knew this would have a one-shot airing - as the execution is just really tacky.There have been some great ads using humour, and political commentary to make a point, and build brand awareness - this is not one of them.
If this was planned to be a publicity stunt, then it is also a fail because commentators are talking about brands and advertising in general lampooning the president. They rarely refer to the name of the company settling on a "Fish and Chips" advert.