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#OrchidsandOnions Special Section

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    Elections 2024

    Khaya Sitholw on the ANC not losing power.

    Khaya Sitholw on the ANC not losing power.

    #OrchidsandOnions: Siya Kolisi shows the best of SA with new tourism ad

    Has there ever been a local personality who is involved in as many sponsorships - or doing so much marketing work - as Springbok captain Siya Kolisi?
    #OrchidsandOnions: Siya Kolisi shows the best of SA with new tourism ad

    He’s punted everything from Dove men’s skin care products to Mercedes-Benz AMG cars and Land Rovers, Red Bull, FNB, Lenovo computers, BOS drinks, never mind the work for headline Bok sponsors, which include Nike and MTN….and probably a whole lot more I missed. Everybody loves a winner and everybody wants a piece of Siya, it seems.


    In answer to the question: Is he not becoming overexposed or over-traded, one might be tempted to respond: Has there ever been a sporting personality like him? I’ll listen on the radio…

    As the first African captain of the national rugby side – and the first to bring home the Webb Ellis Cup from the Rugby World Cup – Kolisi’s place in history is assured. No-one can ever walk those steps again – save for the person who leads Bafana Bafana to the Fifa World Cup…

    Yep. Now you see what I mean…

    What I find works really well with Siya – and everybody calls you that, now, boet – is that he has still retained his down-to-earth nature and his optimism. And that’s exactly what you want with someone fronting for your product if you are a brand.

    And that is what SA Tourism took advantage of in an ad which went online a few days ago for SA Tourism UK.

    It starts with Siya strolling barefoot and in shorts along one of our beautiful beaches and, as you’d expect, takes a trip around some of the rest of our natural wonders. But it happens not in the way you’d expect.

    And therein lies the charm of the ad: an innocence and honesty as it refuses to do the cliched tourist ad execution.

    A lot of it is down to the script – and the copywriter Jacques Massardo of Grid Worldwide, who was also creative director on the ad.

    This is beyond the mundane and deftly achieves the balance of telling potential UK customers, I would assume: If you thought our World Cup victory was amazing, you ain’t seen nothing yet…

    Our best

    The words start off just there: 2019 world saw our best.

    “But where does our best come from?” Siya goes on.

    “Often our best has no fixed address…our best can be found in unexpected places.

    “You’ll probably have to do some work to find it. If you’re patient, sometimes our best will come to you.

    “Take your time because the best our country has to offer is always just beyond the obvious…but never out of reach.”

    It’s that other South Africa, beyond the mountains, beaches and game parks, where our best lies, the ad seems to say – and that best is in our people. The ad could have done the hackneyed Table Mountain, vineyards and Kruger…and while some of those elements were in there, the focus was not.

    It’s an ad message from a confident, happy nation which should leave a viewer curious to see what this place is which produces people like Siya and world champions. It fully lives up to the SA Tourism brand promise: South Africa - inspiring new ways.

    Orchids to SA Tourism, Jacques Massardo, Grid Worldwide and to Siya…

    Virtue signalling

    This is a generalised Onion going out to all the brands and companies who, suddenly every August, start bending over backwards after they realise they actually have women involved in their business and that this is Women’s Month.

    And, while it’s no bad thing to turn the spotlight on what women are achieving and how they are breaking down barriers and dismantling stereotypes, shouldn’t you companies stop and think a minutes before you unleash you advertising and PR agencies in an orgy of virtue signalling?

    Why must it only be in August, Women’s Month, that you remember your women? Do they really need to be placed in a museum glass showcase once a year to be gazed at by curious onlookers?

    Why can you (and your marketing geniuses)not find and tell the stories of women throughout the year – and not because they are women, but because they’re good at what they do?

    There will be too many brands not doing this – too many to award individual Onions. But, now you’ve read this, you can all go out and spot the offenders…and I deputise you to be Onion Awarders…

    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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