Profile

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town. Contact him now on
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#OrchidsandOnions: Real appeal for real people is how Kia's Sportage rolls... but who let Sanral's strange Valentine's Day road map out in public?

Advertising has sometimes been described as the art of enticing people into buying things they don't need and they can't afford. In the car business, especially, it is often dreams which are being sold... sadly, those sort of dreams which can get people into big financial trouble eventually...

By Brendan Seery 2 days ago

#OrchidsandOnions: Back to the Future, with science. But, Vodacom needs to get back to the basics of customer service...

I remember looking, in some amazement, at the results pinned on the school notice board: I had got a distinction for physical science. Next to the board was our lugubrious, pipe-smoking, Mr Bean-like science teacher, "Rab" Wright...

By Brendan Seery 14 Feb 2018

You're on the air, Jacob G...

Welcome to Harold's Relationship Hotline*. We have Jacob G on the line this World Radio Day...

By Brendan Seery 13 Feb 2018

#OrchidsandOnions: Men are more of a risk - true story. Windhoek Lager ad - untrue story.

First for Women has always been a company focused on its product - providing insurance packages tailored especially for women. This acknowledges that there are gender differences when it comes to underwriting risks. Some men might not like that, but it is the reality: Men are more of a risk, when it comes to insurance, because, generally, they are less cautious than women...

By Brendan Seery 23 Jan 2018

#OrchidsandOnions: Lesbians at the dinner table? Who cares? We're more worried about our taxpayer cash being squandered

I just wonder if South Africans are not more liberal and "let and let live" than a lot of people - and advertising agencies - give them credit for...

By Brendan Seery 17 Jan 2018

#OrchidsandOnions: Hey Proteas! We're coming for you! And Appletiser puts the air in airhead...

I sat down to start writing this column just after the First Test between the Proteas and India got under way at Newlands in Cape Town...

By Brendan Seery 11 Jan 2018

#OrchidsandOnions: We can fix our $h!t and we can still make great ads... but let's lose the political correctness, please

Timing is something which always sets Nando's ads apart from the rest. Sure, the ads are funny - and in a way we, as South Africans, instinctively understand... but it is their timing which gives them their humour...

By Brendan Seery 9 Jan 2018

#OrchidsandOnions: Coca-Cola moves with the health-conscious times... and abuse takes to the road

Perhaps it's because we are sliding into the silly season, but I really have not seen anything this week which has irked me enough to hand out an Onion. And, I'd rather not devalue my critical currency, the Onion, by handing it out just because you expect me to be bitchy...

By Brendan Seery 12 Dec 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: MTN's 'Bright side' really dazzles, but this Sunday Times sub sinks without a trace...

I've talked before about the mega-battles of the cell phone brands as they launch their end-of-year campaigns (why they focus on summer is a bit beyond me, given that summer's already been underway for almost three months by now)...

By Brendan Seery 5 Dec 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Spar's collective chill pill brings a smile, OLX's techie-ruined site brings a grimace...

It has been a long, hard, stressful year and South Africans have been at each other's throats for most of that year. So, maybe it is time we took a collective national chill pill as we head into the holiday season...

By Brendan Seery 28 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: When the best part of a Springbok match is the ad at half time...

To say that the most entertaining slice of television during the Springbok-Ireland game was an advertisement is not so much a compliment for a clever piece of creative marketing inspiration as it is an indictment of how badly the Boks played...

By Brendan Seery 21 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Nedbank's brave new advertising contrasts with Eskom's insult to its consumers

Nedbank has been doing some very appealing advertising of late, and the bank and its agency, Joe Public, have already got a few Orchids from me...

By Brendan Seery 14 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: It's going to be a retina-searing summer with Cell C... but there's cynical misdirection from Coca-Cola

It's that time of year again: summer is here, so can the cellphone network ads be far behind?

By Brendan Seery 7 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Vannie Kaap comes a funny ad... and a slice of customer service madness

Many South African English speakers definitely lose out by not communicating, or even taking in, other languages. The rest of the people in this country often speak three or more languages, whereas we English-speakers expect everyone to speak to us in our language... and then to do so properly...

By Brendan Seery 31 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Kulula.com's ad takes the cake in so many different ways, but Apple's customer service is rotten to the core...

When I first met Jacob Zuma he was, believe it or not, the head of the Moral Regeneration Movement. He was still deputy president to Thabo Mbeki and, in a long conversation with him in Pretoria, he struck me as a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) type of guy. Straightforward, reliable and, yes, honest...

By Brendan Seery 24 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: A road traffic ad, which is... fine. And a soap one, which needs a clean-up

I know this is going to sound like a self-indulgent “house ad” but I must say that, since I have been working here at The Citizen, I have come to respect the newspaper's independence and the fact that it really has not been “captured” by anyone politically...

By Brendan Seery 17 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Chicken Licken goes a long way to make a marketing point; but FNB should see its ares

Normally, I'd wonder whether a company that goes to shoot a South African commercial on location in Iceland has more money than common sense...

By Brendan Seery 10 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Nissan Micra gets Active in the market - but enough of politicians' mugshots, already

Perhaps it's a bit early, but some experts have seen the first green shoots of a recovery in our struggling economy. Car sales - always one of the most sensitive indicators of hard times - appear to be picking up a little...

By Brendan Seery 3 Oct 2017

Ford Kuga - how to get burned a second time on social media

It's surprising how things coincide, isn't it? I was struck a few days ago by a powerful and poignant commercial for eNCA for its TV news...

By Brendan Seery 26 Sep 2017

Roll on, Volksie bus; but did KMPG do the right thing for its reputation?

My colleague Seelan was about to head off to Sun City this past weekend and take the Jeep Renegade we have as a test car ... until he discovered how little room there is in the car...

By Brendan Seery 20 Sep 2017

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