Hansie Smit
Hansie Smit

Vodacom is not red — Vodacom is dead

How dumb does Vodacom think we are? We know what Vodafone’s logo looks like. It’s a red pointy thing with a white circle around. I realise creative advertising sometimes leaves something to the imagination but slapping the word Vodacom on Vodafone branding and expecting us to imagine it’s still Vodacom is a bit much.

The new Vodafonecom Bulls jersey doesn’t even have the word Vodacom on it. Just the logo. A red dot. The Bulls players are running around like moving targets with a red bullseye on their chests — a very dangerous practice at a franchise currently producing more killers than Springboks. You never know when one of them might lose it and take a stab at that red dot with a spear or an axe or something. They’re bulls. They don’t like seeing red. Neither do the rest of us but I kinda think we don’t have a choice right now. Vodacom or Vodafone or whoever is behind this is turning everything red.

Jan and Elton are having the time of their lives painting random walls red. Meerkat is spreading the crimson gospel with a futuristic red paintball gun looking even more slap-worthy in a white overall. Even Gogo and the other guy are getting in on the act fooling around with rollers and umbrellas and things. Gogo is smiling but you can tell he doesn’t like this red business. He doesn’t like it one bit.

Online we’re seeing a massive blue apartment building turning red, the annoying banner ad proclaiming, “Red is more”. More than what? A little? The sum of its parts? They’re not making a lot of sense with this red campaign and one wonders if it’ll take in a country where we’d rather not see colour.

Perhaps if they made an ex-Bulls player their new headline act they can drive the point home with raw violence. In his first ad, “Massacre”, Ex-Bulls Player can paint the town red with a 40cm axe. Durban and surrounding area to be exact. He drives around in a silver rental car and picks off people at random, decapitating where he can so he can leave the body in one suburb and the head in the next. In his second ad, “Blow by Blow”, Ex-Bulls Player beats a man to death with his bare hands and a Nokia 5210. For his third outing, “Sex Tape”, Ex-Bulls Player appears in a raunchy ad with dirty underwear and holes in his socks. At first it looks like a hobo trying to seduce a fitness trainer but then, from a certain angle, you can clearly see, yes, it’s Ex-Bulls Player getting it on with a reasonably priced whore while snorting white lines off a mirror. To get their new theme across, Vodacom show the footage to Ex-Bulls Player’s wife — a Pretoria songbird and socialite — and end the ad with a close-up of her face turning Vodacom red (CMYK: 0%, 81%, 73%, 22%). Title up: Vodacom is red.

Ah, but Vodacom is not red. Vodacom is dead. They might as well round up Gogo, Meerkat and Player 23 and shoot them execution style in the veld. Or run them down one by one in a Kebble-style series of hits.

Now there’s an ad campaign.