A recent study conducted by the UCT Unilever Institute and Research Surveys into the relationship between marketing and South Africa's black middle class has confirmed that FCB South Africa's approach to television advertising resonates positively with these 'Black Diamonds'.
This phrase was coined earlier this year by Unilever after undertaking the first comprehensive marketing study on SA's black middle class and refers to South Africa's two million-strong black middle class. This is growing at an estimated rate of 50% a year, and currently has an annual spending power of R130-billion. Mo is considered to be the 3rd Coolest Brand Icon by urban tweens, only David Beckham and Simba the Lion are cooler than he is
The second study, called Black Diamonds 2, highlights that an alarming percentage of Black Diamonds feel that marketing communication often misses the mark when it comes to connecting with them.
According to FCB Johannesburg strategic planning director, Rita Larisma, who attended the formal presentation of the study's results, it focused extensively on what irks Black Diamonds and less on what they like.
"The presentation drew attention to, among other things, the fact that 49% of Black Diamonds feel that they are misrepresented in the media by local marketers and advertisers. One respondent was put forward as summing up the feeling of almost half of the respondents by saying 'South Africa has had the political revolution, we're in the midst of the economic revolution, but we have yet to see a media revolution!'
"As a marketer and planner, I found this negativity quite disheartening but have to accept that it exists and find ways that we at FCB can, on behalf of our clients, work around it.
"I was, however, most gratified to learn later in the presentation that there are agencies that are getting it right and developing communication that resonates with the Black Diamonds so much so that they spontaneously recall several campaigns.
"I was especially pleased that FCB South Africa's agencies - FCB Johannesburg and FCB Cape Town - were responsible for three of the five ads that were spontaneously mentioned by Black Diamonds as ads that connect with them'
"The three FCB ads were Toyota Yaris Sedan 'Little Boy - Party', Vodacom 'Yo! Yo! Yo!' and Klipdrift 'Friendly Frikkie - Met Eish'.
"The reasons given by the Black Diamonds for why they thought these ads hit the mark included: 'they tell positive stories', 'they use humour', 'they integrated the vernacular and English in a positive manner', and 'the ads don't focus on extreme representations of people (very poor or super rich) but rather on everyday people'."
FCB South Africa group managing director, Godfrey Morley, added that he too was delighted to see the group's agencies featured on this list.
"Our creative teams have for several years now strived to produce outstanding creative communication that resonates with South African consumer and captivates the hearts, souls and minds. This focus augurs well for our clients and their brands," he said.
FCB South Africa's ability to resonate with ordinary South Africans is not limited to the Black Diamonds. According to the latest 'Generation Next' study, the largest youth brand preference study ever conducted in South Africa, Vodacom's Mo the Meerkat is regarded as one of the coolest brands in the country.
Mo is FCB Johannesburg's response to a challenge put to it by Vodacom last year - for Vodafone Live!, FCB was tasked to target the YAFS or young/active/fun/South Africans.
According to the study:
Vodacom is regarded as the Number 1 Coolest Telecoms Provider
Vodacom is thought of as South Africa's 9th Coolest Top Brand but take a look at which brands beat it out of top spots - Billabong, Adidas, Levi's, Coca-Cola, Nokia, DStv, Nike and BMW.
Furthermore, in the Sunday Times/Markinor Brands & Branding 2005 survey published in October 2005, brands managed by FCB shone. For example, Vodacom's achievements included:
1st - 'South Africa's Favourite Advertiser'
1st - 'Business-to-Consumer Telecommunications'
3rd - 'South Africa's Favourite Brand'
7th - 'South Africa's Coolest Brands'
In the same survey, Klipdrift pulled a rabbit out the hat. 'Klippies' took the number 5 slot in "South Africa's Favourite Brand" beating brands with adspend that dwarfed its own. In addition, it was the only spirit brand respondents mentioned when asked to list the country's top 10 alcoholic beverage brands; here it achieved 7th position with the big budget beer brands accounting for top-of-mind awareness.
Other brands in the Brands & Branding 2005 top spots included First National Bank (the country's 3rd favourite bank), Toyota (SA's 6th favourite brand, No. 1 consumer car and No. 3 business car), Santam (SA's No. 2 short-term insurance brand) and Shoprite (SA's No. 2 grocery and convenience store - two years ago it was only No. 4).
FCB South Africa's agency's commercials also feature regularly on Millward Brown Impact's Liking Scores lists and, as a group, made advertising history at the end of last year:
never before had one agency been responsible for commercials topping both the charts
- Klipdrift 'Met Eish' was the No.1 commercial for the Developed Market
- Vodacom 'Way You Move' was No. 1 commercial for the Emerging Market
never before had one agency group accounted for 40% of the top 10 most liked commercials in both categories
In the Emerging Market, Vodacom 'Way you move' took the honours in the No. 1 spot followed by Vodafone Live 'Meerkat' No. 4; First National Bank 'Praise Singer' No. 8 and the Lotto 'Boardroom' No. 10.
In the Developed Market Klipdrift 'Friendly Frikkie' took to the podium as No.1; Vodacom 'Way you move' No. 3; Polka 'Happy' No. 4 and Toyota Camry 'Tattoo' No. 9.