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Top 5 reasons why South Africans make memorable marketing: #HeritageDay

I recently gave a cause marketing presentation to Amasa in Cape Town at the Red and Yellow School and it struck me that there's a unique synergy between our diversity and our advertising. So, in honour of Heritage Month here are my top five reasons why South Africans make memorable marketing.
Screengrabs from Youtube.
Screengrabs from Youtube.

1. Agility
SA’s response to the Constitutional Court’s legalising the personal use of cannabis set social media alight. Twitter was smoking with #Dagga judgment memes, ditto on Facebook where Zapiro’s “Joint Decision” and Ben Travato’s scary-funny diatribe didn’t disappoint.

In the marketing arena it got interesting with a fake Nando’s ad going viral. The real one still uses the word “azishe”, isiZulu for “let things burn”, but the payoff line is “Just make sure it’s higher grade” poking fun at the fake ad. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Nando’s takes the, er, cake.

2. Humour

Finding the light side of life has always informed our ad industry, from the legendary Cremora ad (It’s It's Not Inside, It's Onnnn Top) which still makes me smile, to the latest rather risky“Braaai!” from King’s Price - clever positioning for Heritage Day/braai day.

“When others don’t make sense, we do,” says King’s Price, who also put themselves on the map with their “Lobola” and “Do Something Sexy to a Tractor” commercials. Plus, we can’t let Heritage Day pass by without a mention of Suzelle’s “Braai Pie” – as Jess says in the comments on YouTube, her "o fok" moments make my life.

3. Culture

Hats off to Tiger Brands for their colourful collaboration with local artist Dr Esther Mahlangu. The Albany Bakeries and Tastic Rice packaging has been redesigned with a Ndebele flavour, with the payoff line, “Celebrating Our Heritage”. This is in conjunction with a competition as well as a Dr Mahlangu hosting a one-day masterclass for students at the National School of the Arts (NSA). Mmaphuti Rankapole, marketing director of Albany Bakeries says, “We are delighted that bread and art can come together in this special and unique concept as two great staples of South African tradition. We recognise the importance of daily food as the life force that sustains all our people and are happy to play a role.”

4. Storytelling

Ah Nike! Their Caster Semenya ad just does it. As Brendan Seery writes, “If you want to make a social statement or do something intended to change society, then you need to be authentic. Social media denizens will sniff you out in a heartbeat if all you are doing is virtue signalling.” But Nike gets it right here using emotive storytelling to drive the ad and closes with “When you’re born to do it, do it. Just do it.” Makes me want to stand up and cheer and has had the same effect on the SA public. Yes, there will always be haters but they help champion the cause, sparking controversy on social media, getting more publicity for Nike.

5. Cause marketing

I know cause marketing can have a significantly positive impact on society. We saw this with the Centrum Guardians campaign which One Lady & A Tribe worked on for many years. It aligned the benefits of taking Centrum with the core competencies of South Africa’s Emergency Services.

This gave the people who work in the industry the recognition and respect they deserve. Guardians were recognised and rewarded and the strategic ‘paying it forward’ loop of recognising the public and the ERS Personnel was a win-win coupled with great year on year sales results for Centrum.

Another example of simple but memorable local cause marketing is from the SPCA – their latest ad Bodybuilder gives their Family Swap a run for its money – you can’t choose your family but you can choose your pets.

In South Africa, we use our humour talent and culture to share stories which can leap over the walls of politics, regions, religion and race. Telling our diverse stories can also change hearts and only hearts can change minds.

About Sheila McGillivray

Sheila McGillivray's knowledge of the advertising industry spans four decades. Sheila's energy, enthusiasm and passion for her work has grown with every new position and challenge. Her experience in the industry is exceeded only by her willingness to keep learning and innovating.

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