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September 2018

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable Marketing

By | Food for thought

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable MarketingI recently gave a Cause Marketing presentation to the Red and Yellow School and it struck that there’s a unique synergy between our diversity and our advertising. So in honour of Heritage Month here are my top five reasons why South Africans make memorable marketing.

  1. Agility

SA’s response to the Constitutional Court’s legalising the personal use of cannabis set social media alight. Twitter was smoking with #Dagga judgment memes, ditto on Facebook where Zapiro’s “Joint Decision” and Ben Travato’s scary-funny diatribe didn’t disapppoint. In the marketing arena it got interesting with a fake Nando’s ad going viral. The real one still uses the word  “Azishe”, isiZulu for “let things burn”, but the payoff line is “Just make sure it’s higher grade” poking fun at the fake ad.  If immitation is the highest form of flattery, Nando’s takes the, er, cake.

  1. Humour

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable MarketingFinding the light side of life has always informed our ad industry, from the legendary Cremora ad (It’s It’s Not Inside, It’s Onnnn Top) which still makes me smile, to the latest rather risky “BRAAAAI!”  from King’s Price – clever positioning for Heritage Day / braai day.  “When others don’t make sense, we do,” says King’s Price, who  also put themselves on the map with their “Lobola” and  “Do Something Sexy to a Tractor” commercials. Plus, we can’t let Heritage Day pass by without a mention of Suzelle’s “Braai Pie” – as Jess says in the comments on YouTube, her “o fok” moments make my life.

  1. Culture

Hats off to Tiger Brands for their colourful colaboration with local artist Dr Esther Mahlangu. The Albany Bakeries and Tastic Rice packaging has been redesigned with an Ndebele flavour,  with the payoff line, “Celebrating Our Heritage”. This is in conjunction with a competition as well as a Dr Mahlangu hosting a one day masterclass for students at the National School of the Arts (NSA). Mmaphuti Rankapole, Marketing Director of  Albany Bakeries says, “We are delighted that bread and art can come together in this special and unique concept as two great staples of South African tradition. We recognise the importance of daily food as the life force that sustains all our people and are happy to play a role.”

  1. Storytelling

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable MarketingAh Nike! Their Caster Semenya ad  just does it. As Brendan Seery writes, “If you want to make a social statement, or do something intended to change society, then you need to be authentic. Social media denizens will sniff you out in a heartbeat if all you are doing is virtue signalling.” But Nike gets it right here using emotive storytellling to drive the ad, and closes with “When you’re born to do it, do it. Just do it.” Makes me want to stand up and cheer and has had the same effect on the SA public. Yes, there will always be haters but they help champion the cause, sparking contraversy on social media, getting more publicty for Nike.

  1. Cause Marketing

I know Cause Marketing can have a significantly positive impact on society. We saw this with the Centrum® Guardians campaign which One Lady & A Tribe worked on for many years. It aligned the benefits of taking Centrum® with the core competencies of South Africa’s Emergency Services. This 5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable Marketinggave the people who work in the industry the recognition and respect they deserve. Guardians were recognised and rewarded and the strategic ‘paying it forward’ loop of recognising the public and the ERS Personnel was a win-win coupled with great year on year sales results for Centrum®.

Another example of simple but memorable local cause marketing is from the SPCA – their latest ad Bodybuilder gives their Family Swap a run for its money – you can’t choose your family but you can choose your pets.

In South Africa we use our humour talent and culture to share stories which can leap over the walls of politics, regions, religion and race. Telling our diverse stories can also change hearts and only hearts can change minds.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


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