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N'ku'cooked or UN'Nku'cooked? What went wrong with the Pick n Pay ad?

Social media was aflame and grilled this week about an ad campaign from Pick n Pay promoting their new chicken range.

Nando's has hilarious response to Pick n Pay's new 'iNkukhu' advert

Nando's brings the burn when they respond to Pick n Pay's new 'iNkukhu' ad on Twitter...

11 Sep 2019

As an internet search will inform, the roasting the local retailer is receiving is due to two facts - one that Pick n Pay had the temerity to use the generic isiXhosa and isiZulu word for chicken #iNkukhu in the ad, the other that the smarty pants’ chicken giant, Nando’s responded with customary lightning-fast wit to which Pick n Pay was sadly unable to respond with any except:

What is an “all-new summer range” of chicken anyway?

@PicknPay It's not just Chicken, it's iNkukhu �� Our all-new summer range is perfect for the braai. Get your summer sorted here > #PnpSummerSorted

What’s really baffling is what an “all-new summer range” of chicken even is! Also the word range here - a tantalising nugget which everyone seems to have missed. Is it something to do with free ‘range’? Is there a new ‘range’ of flavours? Colour-coded packaging range? Have Pick n Pay introduced an iNkukhu-label fashion range? (By the way, love this idea, Pick n Pay - call me).

"It’s not just chicken, it’s CHICKEN!"

Another mistake is that the communications are just too generic. Are they promoting N'ku'cooked chicken or Un'Nku'cooked chicken, ready for the bring and braai? The fact that anybody believed the line "It’s not just chicken, it’s CHICKEN!" was “a fun way to bring out the deliciousness of our new chicken”, sums up the whole half-baked fiasco.

“Yuh, kwaze kwa'awks”

With all the recent sad and bad news, South Africans have been experiencing as of late, we’re in need of laughs and you can rely on Nando’s for that. Sadly, their single tweet ‘Yuh, kwaze kwa'awks” and its 1K comments, 4,4k retweets and 9k likes to date, have been about the only thing hungry Saffers have thus far been able to feast upon.

On a practical note, it’s a chilly September, an unlikely time to expect brand promises of an “all-new summer range” and hashtag #PnpSummerSorted to entice a dash for the poultry aisles.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the term “iNkukhu”, it could even have been kinda cute. When so many aspects of a marketing strategy are ill-conceived it leaves you wide open to being torn apart which is what has happened. If the ads were strategically sounder, better thought through, better executed and had delivered on even one promise of “new” chicken, they might even have nailed it!

Of landmarks and brand marks

Terry Levin asks if the same principles were applied to the renovation of heritage brand marks as heritage landmarks, what criteria could be used to evaluate them?

By Terry Levin, Issued by Off the Shelf marketing 19 Feb 2019

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About Terry Levin

Adding more zeros and heroes to brand value. Brand Turn Around and Brand Positioning specialists. Specialising in corporate identity development, brand identity refreshes and the creation of heritage brands to achieve market leadership position. Currently acting as creative director at large. Email , follow @terrylevin on Twitter, view her photos on Instagram, connect on or LinkedIn.
As an aside, the level of journalism displayed in this article is terribly poor. Bizcommunity, you used to have standards.
Posted on 12 Sep 2019 16:07
Terry Levin
Anonymous, thanks so much for your comment, please share which aspects of the journalism in particular you are referring to. We would love to engage productively on this!
Posted on 12 Sep 2019 16:36
This article is not well written at all. The grammar and sentence structure is a bit off-balance. I read the headline and hoped that the article would link to the wordplay but it didn't link. 'Inkukhu' has nothing to do with the chicken being cooked or not and I think trying to create that link in the headline wasn't a good idea.
Posted on 12 Sep 2019 17:28
Terry Levin
Hi thanks for your feedback. Apart from the crits about the grammar and sentence structure, grateful you took the time to read. In my defence I couldn’t resist the play on words, which inspired the whole piece and also put a new spin on the narrative around the topic.
Posted on 12 Sep 2019 18:59
offended culture to the twittesphere! wil be offended by anything these days
Posted on 13 Sep 2019 13:23
I also thought the article lacked substance. Nonetheless, I thought all the rave was about a similar sounding word that is rather vulgar. No one mentions that...
Posted on 13 Sep 2019 17:19
Still not sure what went wrong? Would like to see better market research if you take on a topic like this!
Posted on 18 Sep 2019 11:59