Cape Town-based Consumer Insight Agency (C.I.A) was recently nominated at a Unilever global awards evening in London.
C.I.A's pan-African project was short-listed (into the top five) from an array of worldwide entries, and was the only finalist for work done on the African continent.
Unilever's vision for commissioning this piece of work was to gain a deeper understanding of the commonalities and differences between societies across Africa; thus enabling Unilever to respond with country-specific sensitivity to local lifestyle drivers, cultural norms and consumer behaviour. Ultimately, in the words of Unilever Consumer and Market Insight Director Paul Van Gendt: to "bring the voice of the people we serve into the walls of Unilever."
As pioneers of ethnography in market research, and with close to 20 years experience of working all over Africa, C.I.A was well placed to find the nuggets of insight that would enable Unilever brands to resonate with the myriad of realities out there. Because C.I.A's ethnographic, audio-visual approach involves engaging with the consumer on their terms, in their personal contexts - homes, bathrooms, shopping aisles, open markets, streets etc. Thus the viewer is transported from their desk directly to the consumer coalface - where life happens, as it happens.
So being recognised on the world stage for work done at such a one-to-one local level is indeed a great honour. And the fact that C.I.A was the only boutique agency (single office, single country) competing against a host of multi-national giants, only adds to this.