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Advertising opinion

'Politricks' on Joburg township billboards

The battle for township dwellers' political emotions is on. Leading the charge is the Democratic Alliance with the expected stereotypical creative. Previously, its campaign featured on dark blue background the South African flag and the DA logo with the face of Helen Zille flanked on the left by Patricia de Lille and Lindiwe Mazibuko on the right. The copy was clear; "DA, We Deliver for All".
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The new campaign has kept the blue background and DA logo and dropped the South African flag. The three child characters are a white boy in the middle flanked by on the left by a brown girl and a black boy on the right. This must be its creative blueprint to convey a multiracial agenda. The copy is interestingly a dissertation when compared to billboard norms. It reads "Better education + more job opportunities = making their dreams come true. Working for change, working for jobs".

Cope, on the other hand is widely spread with its creative featuring a prominent photo of Mosiuoa Lekota and the copy "Mosiuoa Lekota. 16 December 2012. Four years of defending our Constitutional Democracy. Tel: 011 024 9789. Relliable, Accountable, Incorruptible. Cope, Concerns of the People." This is a lot to take in especially when squashed onto a 3x6 and placed in front of moving vehicles.

Questionable creative, perhaps. Overbearing copy, definitely. Despite that, I believe that Cope and the DA have managed to create invaluable brand awareness in preparation for more focused messaging. The other commonality is that their messaging is direct and traceable.

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Biggest salient benefactor

The biggest salient benefactor may be the ANC. The City of Ekurhuleni is running an inspirational campaign tag-lined "OR Tambo: Be inspired by his legacy".

Without being privy to the campaign objectives in relation to the city's marketing imperatives, I cannot comment on that aspect. Nonetheless, this iconic hero of the struggle is inextricably linked to the ANC and this campaign cannot be doing the brand anything but good through subliminal association.

With an estimated 65% of "Johannesburgers" residing in its townships, it looks like these political parties could maximise their outdoor media assets by switching from a philosophy of "being seen" to one of "having impact".

* These observations are drawn from analysing Media Trace's Johannesburg Outsights Report for November 2012 which includes data and trends on all billboards in 10 townships.
    
 

About Tatenda Chiweshe

Tatenda Chiweshe is the CEO of Media Trace, a specialised outdoor media insights company operating across Africa. Contact Tatenda on +27 (0)74 839 7440 or email him on .
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