Rudi Cronje
Rudi Cronje

Creative cop-out or truly South African?

Ayoba, Yebo, Hosh, Woza, Viva, Waka Waka etc. There are a couple of them. “Africanisms” I think they are called. Most notably used by our over-priced cellular providers

We see these all around us. Billboards, TV, print, and dare we say, now even in everyday language use.

These terms are made famous, and I’m not lying to you, by people in boardrooms. Yes, big budgets, big egos and even bigger circle jerks.

Ultimately, it’s about pushing bottom line through being creative. I guess this is where my question comes in. Are we taking the easy way out, or are we acting as truly South African creatives and strategists trying to satisfy the needs of a targeted audience? Presuming that the audience is a main market one? (Forgive my marketing terms.)

“Hey, what’s the target market again?”

“Main market.”

“Oh, cool. Let’s find a slang African word for it.”

“Yes, that’ll work.”

I should probably mention that I’m not the biggest fan of LSMs and demographics. Actually, I’m not a fan at all. You know, cause the greatest campaigns in the world have been successful purely because they hit the right LSM.

Personally I think we should be looking at taking deep dives into psychographics. In the contrasting and ever-changing South African landscape, personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles are way more important than if I own a toaster, or not?

I suppose we all know someone who has spent some dollareuroyenpounds on something that they perceived would raise their social standing.

The reason this bothers me is that I can’t figure out if these recent campaigns were done on presumptions — made by the boardroomers — or on actual insights. It feels like solutions, built on what is now a plausible platform, pushed by a bulldozer made of cash.

For instance, the “Mzansi” bank accounts. Supposedly affordable, supposedly “cool”. Now, largely unused because the offering wasn’t right. Nechama Brodie once said to me: “You can call a spade whatever you want, but mostly it’s quite hard to cut an apple with it.”

As much as these are contentious issues in the “let’s sell stuff to other people with someone else’s money” world, it’s part of life and unless we have a one-to-one conversation with the brand homeboys who put these things together, we’ll never know.

Has it worked for them? Most probably. Are we getting complacent with our conceptual work? Maybe. Is someone lifting bottom line? By the looks of it. Is this argument useless? You tell me.