Telkom has announced that its CEO and executive director Sipho Maseko will step down on 30 June 2022. The telecoms company said the process to appoint a successor is well underway and a designated group CEO will be announced in the not too distant future.
It is possible that cooking oil prevented more looting in South Africa in the last week than the president, the ANC, the intelligence community, the army and the police combined. This, without question, says something about the versatility of the product. It says even more about the state of the state. When you are shown up by canola, you might want to revisit your strategy.ByHoward Feldman
Performance Media across Search, Social and Programmatic platforms is the single fastest growing area of digital media in South Africa. Combine that with the detailed analysis of campaign management, tagging and ad operations, and it becomes apparent that these highly specialist functions require a highly specialised unit.
The Transnet Port Terminals website has been hacked, implying that all companies under Transnet have been affected. All Transnet websites were down at the time when reporting was done for this SA Trucker article. The publication cited sources who requested to remain anonymous because they are not allowed to speak to the media.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit South Africa's small business sector hard and there are grim statistics to bear this out. Those statistics will not be repeated here. After all, if you are a small business owner setting out on the road to recovery, the last thing you probably want is more details of the toll the pandemic has taken on small enterprises. Far more useful would be some good, solid tips on how to build back better after any business setbacks.ByAmeen Hassen
For many people there is something irresistible about chocolate. But in the hungry rush to make it part of our bodies there is a missed opportunity to meditate on the different gestural experiences chocolate affords.
We take it for granted that chocolate commonly comes to us in bars – that stereotypical industrial form. But prior to the colonial project and the industrial revolution, the idea of eating chocolate in a bar would have seemed like a radical idea. In Mayan and Aztec cultures, where chocolate was part of the culture for a much longer time, it was consumed in liquid form.
In addition to being pleasurable to eat, chocolate bars are designed to be handled in particular ways. Take the KitKat for example, which has been the focus of a recent trademark protections lawsuit. What do you do with a KitKat before you eat it?
Belgian-Swiss cocoa company Barry Callebaut officially unveiled ruby chocolate in September last year, much to the delight of confectioners, chefs and average chocolate-loving consumers around the globe...
You know the slogan: “Have a break, have a Kitkat.” KitKats are made for breaking. They are not unique in this sense. Cadbury Dairy Milk, Galaxy, Hersheys, Green & Black’s and Toblerone all feature bars with individual little segments that make them easier to break.
But KitKat, as its trademarked slogan testifies, and to a lesser extent Toblerone, have really made a thing of the break – and the poetic possibilities it has in the broader experience of the chocolate.
Certain shapes invite particular actions
In 2002, Nestlé applied in the European Union to protect the four-finger shape associated with KitKat. In July, it lost the case on the basis that consumers don’t primarily rely on this element to distinguish KitKat from other products.
The judge argued that the logo used on the packaging and imprinted on the chocolate were more prominent indicators.
Commentary on the case so far has emphasised the difficulty of protecting shapes under trademark, and the extent to which the form of the chocolate or the symbolic elements are more direct identifying markers.
But something is missed when interpreting a product as either form or as symbol. The experience of a product is also significantly informed by the way specific shapes or forms constrain and invite certain actions.
The concept of “affordances” is used by product designers to capture this sense that an object seems to call for certain kinds of use.
Affordances are the action potentials of different forms: a chair affords sitting, standing, and sometimes stacking. A handle affords holding, a button pressing, and so on.
The concept is meant to be a happy compromise between deterministic notions of form and function, which emphasise the power of objects or technology over human action, and social constructionist approaches, which emphasise the influence of specific histories, socio-cultural factors and differing human abilities.
Chocolate bars are mass produced with the help of moulds into which the warm liquid chocolate is poured, and then left to cool and later packed. These moulds are manufactured according to very precise information such as the dimensions of the bar and its surface texture, which is derived from the design of the chocolate bar.
Designers will consider many aspects ranging from the obvious, such as the overall shape and desired surface texture, to more subtle aspects, such as the manual interaction of breaking off a segment.
The affordance of notches and grooves is derived from the widely shared understanding that if something is considerably thinner in one place than another, it is more likely to break at the thinner place. Chocolate bar manufacturers have been using this affordance for over a century.
But the designers at KitKat and Tobelerone have taken this one step further. They’ve been attempting to allow their chocolate bars to speak to consumers through the affordance of breaking.
There is a multitude of material available online aimed at constructing the relationship between form, affordance, and perhaps most importantly, the experience of eating these chocolates.
The ambiguous role of affordances with regard to trademark law is in tension with the important role they can play in articulating brand identity and the experience of a product. Much blood is spilt in court as a result.
But none of this is to say KitKat should have won the case. The popular Norwegian chocolate Kvikk Lunsj (Norwegian for “Quick Lunch”) is almost exactly the same shape.
Interestingly, while the breaking affordance is present in some of their advertising, they don’t make use of it in their branding, preferring the slogan “Tursjokoladen” – which means “the hiking or trekking chocolate”.
The lesson here is that while important, affordances aren’t necessarily the primary determinants of meaning in the experience of a brand. They can be amplified, distorted and muted to varying degrees when combined with other media.
Nonetheless, there’s a gaping hole in the vocabulary if concepts like affordances, which emphasise the dynamic interaction between objects and action, are missing from discussions about what products mean.
The Conversation Africa The Conversation Africa is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community. Its aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues, and allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation. Go to: https://theconversation.com/africa
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