#OrchidsandOnions Special Section

#OrchidsandOnions: Tasty fast-food moves

Chicken Licken: Effortless shift between entertainment, marketing; Burger King's message spot-on in these straitened times
#OrchidsandOnions: Tasty fast-food moves

Producing advertising in South Africa, for South Africans, is not only an excellent idea in broader economic terms (creating jobs, retaining creative talent etc), it also is a significant barrier against the mid-Atlantic cultural tsunami which threatens our own unique culture.

I get incensed by companies like the Hatfield motor group, which sells primarily Volkswagen and Audi (German) vehicles, yet has a fake American voice on its radio ads. Onion for that... and I wonder what your franchisors in Wolfsburg think about it…

Then, Naked Insurance is too lazy (or tight-fisted) to get local photographers and videographers to shoot images for its campaign and, instead, uses ‘stock shot’ material that features left-hand-drive cars in America. So, y’all get the Uncle Sam Memorial Onion for that.

I was, therefore, heartened to see two fast-food brands – competitors actually – doing more good local advertising. For one – Chicken Licken – it was expected, the brand has been moving into the space as the country’s comedian, squeezing Nando’s out.

However, the other, Burger King, is a global, but US-head-quartered brand, so it was encouraging to see it deciding to not foist international marketing rubbish on us here in SA.

The Chicken Licken ad has generated a lot of traction in cyberspace, going viral because it is so funny. That’s a really good ‘force multiplier’ for your adbucks, making a client’s go much further.

It features notorious artist Rasta, who has drawn country-wide opprobrium for his weird pictures of famous personalities.

He is generally regarded as a joke but I beg to differ: he has cleverly marketed himself into getting far more publicity than an artist who can produce photo-like portraits. As South Africa’s ‘Picasso Lite’, he has now been able to further trade on his alleged ineptitude.

He features in the Chicken Licken ad as someone applying for the job as a police sketch artist. The cop interviewing him suddenly has visions of the havoc he can cause - and how many criminals will get away with it because nobody knows what they really look like.

It’s funny because it’s current and features the real-deal man himself. And hats off to him for allowing himself to be lampooned like this. Still, he wouldn’t have got this gig at all if he had produced realistic portraits.

The ad fits in with the Chicken Licken ‘Nuggets’ campaign, which offers ‘nuggets of wisdom’ (in this case: Choose your sketch artist wisely) – but also links to its nuggets specials.

Once again, a great Chicken Licken production, which effortlessly straddles the divide between entertainment and marketing.

Orchids to Chicken Licken and to its ad agency, Joe Public.

For Burger King, Grey South Africa, its agency, decided on something more down-to-earth, but just as apt in terms of real events happening around us now.

In one execution, we see a woman pulling up to a petrol pump and asking for R29.90 in fuel. The man at the pump struggles to understand. Then we see, in another execution, a dude walking into a fashion shop, eyeing a pair of sneakers and asking what he can get for R29.90.

What he gets is a disdainful look from the shop assistant as she removes the laces from a pair – and cuts them in half, before unceremoniously dropping them in front of him.

The message in both is spot-on in these straitened times: What can you get these days for R29.90?

Answer: A Burger King burger.

It’s simple but it combines brand as well as retail marketing pushes.

So it gets an Orchid for Burger King and Grey South Africa.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.

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