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Who coached it best? The battle for Steve Komphela

The consecutive use of Steve Komphela on "KFC Ziphathe Grand" Summer Treats Campaign just a few months ago and now recently on MTN does demonstrate that the Mamelodi Sundowns head coach is really "kompheling"...
Who coached it best? The battle for Steve KomphelaThese are words echoed by the coach on MTN’s latest ad when asked by a news reporter what makes him the right man for the job to promote MTN’s new app downloads.

The two campaigns coincidentally demonstrate a lot of similarities, and one would argue that the one is a direct replica of the other or just simply inspired by the other.

In its latest ad, MTN has taken the same route in promoting and driving downloads for their newly revamped app using the coach to show consumers how easy it is to use and how they can benefit from it.


Well, whichever way you choose to look at it, Steve Komphela is quickly becoming the “go-to coach” with the right “sauce” for brands to connect with youth mass consumers and consumers across the board.

On KFC’s Ziphathe Grand Campaign launched in December 2021 to promote KFC’s Summer Treats Campaign, Steve Komphela is used in a series of video monologues as the “Ziphathe Grand Coach” and the face of the campaign teaching consumers how to take care of themselves in the quirky and humorous style of delivery he is known for by his fans and followers.


The KFC campaign needed to stay true to the KFC Feel Good brand philosophy and looked to achieve this by partnering with Steve Kompela, the man who has the "Original Recipe" to feel good, who once said, “Forget about the budget, look after your emotions, spend on those sneakers, it gives you positive energy because the world is against you”.


The strategic landing and campaign proposition was that self-care is the "superpower" that leads to feeling good. This is how the brand was able to make the connection between the campaign narrative and the KFC Feel Good brand philosophy.

The campaign was conceptualised and developed by Fresh AF, Avatar Agency Group’s specialist youth marketing agency. Fresh AF did a marvellous job for the KFC Summer Treats portfolio achieving a 19.3% overall sales uplift during the campaign period.

Insights Driven Approach – The key to connecting brands to youth


There are three key elements that the KFC campaign effectively delivers on:
  1. Product Connection - The youth are looking for ways to simplify their lives which is what the MTN’s newly revamped app offers. The use of Steve Komphela as a South African loved coach to coach them how to do this using the MTN App and use of the “Its so simple even Steve can explain it” tagline in the campaign comms is a formula that certainly guarantees the delivery of results in landing the campaign. This is because of the coach’s clout with not just younger audiences but across all South African demographics.

    This connects very well with the brand’s key objective which is to not only drive App downloads but further build social equity for MTN.

  2. Effective use of digital & content marketing as lead – A majority of youth audiences are on their smartphones and the growing ‘meme’ culture on social and the use of humour is what the campaign leverages really well in connecting with audiences. Youth aren’t just looking for band led branded content but “kompheling” content that drives them to naturally share it with peers on social. Just like the KFC campaign MTN’s ad delivers on this.

  3. The use of quick snackable video content – Youth live very busy lives and the use of quick and punchy snackable video content always lands very well with this audience. Both campaigns demonstrate the understanding of this insight and how they use it on social which is key to winning with the South African youth consumer.

The success of KFC’s campaign in the use of Steve Komphela could be what has led MTN to take a similar approach using him in his natural quirky element which delivers on humor but more importantly connects and resonates with South African consumers, from mass sports lovers to young urban youth consumers who share a common love interest for the coach.

This is essentially using and leveraging an approach based on a tried and tested campaign that worked which could also perhaps be intentionally smart from MTN.

About Bonga Mpungose Smanga

Bonga Mpungose is the co-founder and New Business Director of FRESH AF a business to business and business to consumer branded content and content marketing specialist. The business has over 11 years of experience in the field with clients that range from SOEs to blue-chip private sector businesses. Fresh AF is also the publisher of Zkhiphani, SA Creatives and Mgosi it's own in house publications serving over a million-plus page-views and impressions across it's network on a monthly basis.



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