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Cannes Lions Content Feature

#Newsmaker: Vaughan Croeser walking the talk for good

Recently appointed South African Breweries (SAB) VP of marketing for South Africa, Vaughan Croeser reflects on his career with the brewery, from highlights such as the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa to this year's Cannes Lions.
Image supplied. SAB VP of marketing for South Africa, Vaughan Croeser reflects on his career with the brewery
Image supplied. SAB VP of marketing for South Africa, Vaughan Croeser reflects on his career with the brewery

SAB's Carling Black Label (AB InBev) won a Gold Lion at Cannes for Bride Armour entry and Croeser will be discussing this as part of a panel at the upcoming Full Circle, an event that will unpack the top trends, insights, and award-winning work gleaned from the Cannes Lions.

What excites you the most about your new appointment?

I believe that in every job we do, we must leave things better than what we found them. SAB has an excellent track record for building great brands and nurturing talented people and I am excited to play a part in that legacy. I have always been concerned with the idea of unrealised potential, so what excites me most is seeing our business and people grow. SAB is a remarkable place for talent to thrive.

Stories – great stories – have always embodied the SAB brands. How will you build on this in your position?

Telling great stories is a wonderful way to build affinity towards brands, but for us to remain successful and make a meaningful impact our brands also must walk the talk. This means that our brands must take actions that grow our business and make the world better – those are the kind of stories I would like to tell.

You have been with SAB for most of your career, starting as a representative. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen over the years in the industry?

Technology as an enabler for growth has been the biggest change that I have observed over the last few years. We have recently launched our BEES brand, a business-to-business platform that greatly enhances the customer experience of doing business with us. Seamless order taking and payment portals with customised product and quantity recommendations. Live tracking of deliveries and built-in social media applications that enable customers to advertise their businesses to consumers in their area. It’s a transformational technology.

How has this led to changed brand strategies?

These new technologies have driven more integration between our marketing and sales organisation but have also resulted in a step-change in building our digital capabilities. The growth of e-commerce and the ability to speak directly to consumers has forced our brands to think more holistically about the consumer journey.

What are highlights in your career?

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup campaign, where we welcomed the world to South Africa. It reminded me of what South Africans are capable of and who we truly are as a nation.

As a sponsor of our national sporting teams, witnessing the Springboks’ historic third Ruby World Cup win in Japan was simply euphoric.

More recently, I had the privilege of seeing our brands’ work being recognised at the Cannes Lions. Watching our brands compete and win on the world stage for work that’s solving real societal issues was inspiring.

Our brands were inspiring at Cannes, especially as the winning work that solves real societal issues, tell us more about this.

Our Carling Black Label brand’s #NoExcuse movement has over the last five years been actively involved in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), deploying awareness campaigns, mentorship tools for men, GBV help-lines for potential perpetrators and victims, as well as the launch of GBV centres in vulnerable communities.

How do the learnings from Cannes translate back to SA and SAB and its brands?

Given our size and influence, we can harness the power of creativity to tackle a myriad of issues that South Africans face. A key theme we discussed with our agency partners is the importance of bravery in confronting these challenges. When your belief in the cause is greater than your instinct for self-preservation you can achieve almost anything.

Given the severity of the challenges our country faces it’s easy to default to a degree of apathy or even hopelessness and I believe we must fight vehemently against this.

Our people, our brands and our creativity must be harnessed to solve these challenges and be the counterpoint to hopelessness.

Beer has formed an integral part of society for millennia and I love the idea that we bring people together in those moments of friendship, community and celebration, but also the fact that we have the scale to make a real impact.

Recently Castle Lite announced it is switching to brewing with renewable energy which is a highly relevant and topical proposition, while Castle Lager is embarking on an expansive campaign to help small community-based businesses grow by offering free advertising space on our packaging.

Flying Fish’s #EatWithIt campaign reminds consumers to eat before drinking, aiming to reduce harmful consumption and Carling Black Label’s #NoExcuse campaign continues to be a force for good in the fight against GBV.

This kind of work proves that purposeful brands that harness creativity can be good for business and good for communities.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.

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