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#OrchidsandOnions Special Section

#OrchidsandOnions: Club Med invokes holiday bliss, KFC & Gift of the Givers add hope

It’s that time of year when everybody’s battery is running down (the body’s one and the one in the Uninterruptible Power Supply – UPS – system which keeps your WIFI going), and the thoughts of most working stiffs turn to holidays.
#OrchidsandOnions: Club Med invokes holiday bliss, KFC & Gift of the Givers add hope

And what is a real holiday? As a family, we’ve been on plenty of trips, but the one which stands out, for the sheer lazy, indulgent way it unfolded, was a few days spent in a beachfront apartment in uMhlanga just before the kids were due back at school.

Appealing

I’d get up, have tea and open my book. Then, we’d head to the beach for a swim or walk along the promenade, then back for breakfast, or lunch. And the book. Nothing tells you that you are on holiday like the sinful pleasure of falling asleep reading that book after breakfast… before 11am.

Too often these days, holidays – and especially ones taken with the family – are gruelling marathon exercises in entertaining offspring. And even now, with an empty nest, it still takes some willpower to ditch the watch and the cellphone and devote all our time to books.

That’s why I find the latest ad for Club Med – that all-inclusive holiday destination product which has resorts around the globe – so appealing.

Under the tag line of “L’ Esprit Libre”, which translates roughly as “free spirit”, the ad uses some brilliant copywriting to remind you that there is a world beyond the everyday rate race…. Which you can find at Club Med.

Simple and effective

Some of the lines include:

“When you can’t remember when you last wore shoes or even what day it is…”

“If you have nothing to do and all day to do it…”

“If the only thing on your mind is a sunhat…”

“If your family vacation actually feels like a vacation…”

And “The only reason you get up is to lie somewhere else…”

All of that can only mean one thing: L’Esprit Libre. And that’s Club Med. If this ad doesn’t get you wistfully thinking: yeah, I could to something like that, then you haven’t worked hard enough during the year…

It’s simple and effective advertising. So, it gets an Orchid from me.

Genuine good

When you’re using your brand’s marketing budget to do good works, through corporate social investment, you have to adhere strictly to Rule Number One: Do genuine good. Don’t pretend to be alleviating a pressing social need when your eyes are more on your image than anything else.
KFC has, for some years now, been running a corporate social investment campaign called Add Hope.

So patrons can add R2 to their take-out bill and the money gets channelled to worthy causes. It’s not a lot of money individually but, collectively, it can make a huge difference. The fast-food chain doesn’t make a big deal about it – which shows to me that putting something back is more important than shining its brand halo.

#OrchidsandOnions: Club Med invokes holiday bliss, KFC & Gift of the Givers add hope

Now, as we head into the festive season and the calls for charity are everywhere, KFC has said that all money collected through Add Hope in December will go to the Gift of the Givers organisation. KFC will match every R2 donation, so for every bit of hope added by KFC patrons, Gift of the Givers will get R4.
And you can trust that Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and his dedicated team will ensure that money gets used to alleviate suffering, both in this country and in other places where disasters, both human-made and natural, happen.

This is how corporates should put something back. So, an Orchid to KFC. But not an Orchid for Gift of the Givers…they deserve so much more than that. Your support, perhaps?

Misleading

Today’s Onion goes to a brand which has previously had plenty of Orchids from me and to one of its products which has, likewise, got an accolade for effective advertising.

I loathe marketing which treads that fine line between deliberately lying and subtly misleading a potential customer. And that, I’m afraid, is what the social media marketing clevers working on Toyota’s account have done with their Twitter (X) attempts to push the Urban Cruiser small SUV.

The add gushes that the new Urban cruiser has a boot capacity of 353 litres – notably up from that of the previous version. The photo accompanying that claim certainly appears to bear this out: It shows five bags and a coolbox all packed in.

Most would accept that at face value – but it is misleading, because the back seats have clearly been put down to accommodate the big load, meaning this “boot” leaves you with space for just drive and front seat passenger. Too bad if you thought the Urban Cruiser would be great for your small family because of its massive space…

Whether intentional or not, the picture conveys the impression that space is big in the Urban Cruiser… when it is only average, or below average. A picture of the actual 353 litre boot would have been far less impressive – but at least it would have been honest.

So Toyota gets an Onion. Deception is not a good look for a brand – and I find it difficult to believe this was an accident because a whole chain of people would have been involving in creating and, more importantly, approving this ad.

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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