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Sylvester Chauke: Marketers Stay WOKE during the festive season!

The last few weeks have been quite busy as brands amp things up for peak season. The festive season is a major time frame for many brands and businesses across segments.

The period represents opportunities for brands to drive revenue – especially when you are in the FMCG, Retail, telecoms and oh yes, booze manufacturers.

With the need for incremental sales comes a lot of brand activity during this silly season – malls get busier and I mean BUSIER, with activations, newspapers all of sudden are thicker than normal with promotions and special inserts and yes, we see a lot more ads with special offers on them on TV, print and digital media and on the radio.

“Buy me”, “move over to our side of life”, “drink me”, “use me”, “tell your friends about me”, “download me”, “I am exactly what you need” and on and on it goes…. You hear all sorts of pleas and some of them oh so annoying and uninspired.

I love this period because this is where we get to see which brand teams are plugged in and which are not. I have always found it odd for brands who operate like they live in their own planets – which I suppose for some brands, that’s their way to survive…. But there is no excuse for consumer brands to ignore what is happening around them as they activate their brands.

One case in point is that, if you are a plugged-in marketer, you would be very aware of #FillUpFNB with Cassper Nyovest. If you are not aware of this I am so sorry for you - you need to add a few cool people on your social media feed and get with it. I have seen some interesting developments here which I would like to commend.

Cassper was on a mission to fill up FNB (which he DID) after having filled up the Dome and Orlando Stadium before, we knew this would be another success. To make this a resounding success, he needed support from his fans but also important was support from brands, especially brands that target his fan base. For a while I thought this is a goldmine for brands to engage, but was surprised as to the way that some brand managers think – way too slow…. and way too stiff and stuck in their old ways.

Thankfully there are some good thinkers and bold marketers who saw the opportunity – who were plugged in! Standard Bank gained such cool creds and raised their hand - and even had a billboard and campaign to this effect. Then the king of beer, Budweiser, did what is expected of BUD and jumped in with such a cool vibe, BarOne chocolates followed suit and, of course, Ciroc who did such a lovely piece in support of the activation!

Brands that have jumped around this have all of suddenly gained extra cool creds in the eyes of millions. BUD, for example, has all of a sudden become so relevant because of this association.

Over the festive season, brands think they will win by outshouting each other. WRONG!! They may have a nice pie chart that shows their increased share of voice, but we know that that’s not where winning happens.

It has been beautiful to see that there are brand managers who are WOKE! And that is the kind of spirit that will keep our industry relevant. It’s important to remember that our space is not just about selling burgers and pies, but it is also to add value to our consumers’ lives so that as we build our brands, we also build our communities.

Now, this is the kind of marketing that makes me proud to be a part of. Work with meaning, work with substance, work that is inspired… a true win-win! Well done Cassper and for the woke marketing teams that supported this game-changing moment!

+++ Sylvester Chauke is an award-winning entrepreneur and cascader of the Stand Against Bland movement in marketing amongst other fun things. He is founder and Chief Architect of DNA Brand Architects, sits on the Advisory council for WEF Global Shapers and is a Board Member of the South African State Theatre.


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