Production News South Africa

Ogilvy moves into movies

The Ogilvy Johannesburg group of companies is increasingly turning to the production of short format programmes to reach the consumer, communicate brand messages, and acquire mindshare.

Kathy Scharrer, head of TV at Ogilvy sister company Brand Activation, says consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and beginning to challenge traditional forms of advertising: "Customers have become sceptical of traditional forms of advertising - as a result they are moving away from being influenced to being informed."

The team at Brand Activation recognised this as an opportunity, says Scharrer, with the result that Ogilvy has moved into movies: "Short format programmes help penetrate those walls that consumers have built up, by using content to pique their interest and invite them in."

Capitalising on the success of the likes of The Naked Chef and Two Fat Ladies, the team at Brand Activation and Ogilvy transformed what could have been just another commercial into a two-minute cooking programme called "You can... with Nestle" that displays the versatility of Nestle Milks.

Ogilvy's Betty Kairo says: "Our research told us that, despite the popularity of cooking programmes, the average consumer is cooking less and less from scratch.

"Not only are they strapped for time, but they're also afraid - they feel like they don't know how to cook, in an era where cooking has become less of a chore and more of an art. Our target market was intimidated, and we wanted to show them how easy and versatile cooking - and by that we mean cooking with Nestle Milk - really is."

Kairo explains that the two-minute insert was the perfect solution to the communication objective - long enough to demonstrate a quick and easy recipe using the product, yet short enough to emphasise the ease and simplicity of cooking.

The show, which was launched in March and consists of 13 two-minute 'episodes', is squeezed between Days of our Lives and The Bold and The Beautiful on SABC 1 on Tuesdays.

When KFC wanted to raise awareness for the 12 houses that it sponsors in six SOS Children's Villages across South Africa, Brand Activation suggested a 13-part half-hour series.

Called Our House, the programme adds a new, charitable dimension to the popular reality décor theme, by showing the remodelling of the 12 KFC-sponsored homes. It's hosted by DJ Fresh, but also calls on a variety of other local celebrities to lend a hand.

"KFC, the brand behind the show, may not take centre stage in this particular programme, but it certainly comes out shining," says Scharrer.

Despite their length, Scharrer stresses that these productions are incredibly cost effective: "From a production point of view, commercials can be quite costly as the amount of production packed into a 30 or 60 second ad is huge. In addition, many commercials require elaborate sets and props, while the short-format programmes are often much simpler.

"Finally, you save on media costs, as you're not paying for an ad, but for a spot that counts as a programme. It is therefore less expensive than paying for an ad of the same duration of time."

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