Pop pro­pa­ganda

CityPress - - The Good Guide - GAR­RETH VAN NIEK­ERK gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

You should never judge a book by its cover, but Ron Nixon’s Selling Apartheid is a for­give­able ex­cep­tion. Per­haps years of evo­lu­tion­ary mar­ket­ing ex­er­cises have in­grained pop­u­lar tastes for the fa­mil­iar brand­ing of the iconic Coca-Cola logo, but you can’t help but smile at the cover’s play­ful use of red and white, and the clas­sic Coke font and curv­ing swish.

The mashup of Andy Warhol’s con­sumerist pop art and clas­sic Rus­sian pro­pa­ganda aes­thetic is spot-on con­sid­er­ing the premise of Nixon’s book, which tells the story of the apartheid pro­pa­ganda cam­paign “run with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion, which in­volved a world­wide net­work of sup­port­ers, in­clud­ing global cor­po­ra­tions with busi­ness oper­a­tions in South Africa, con­ser­va­tive re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions and an un­likely coali­tion of lib­eral US black clergy and an­ti­com­mu­nist black con­ser­va­tives aligned with right wing Cold War politi­cians”.

Pub­lished by Ja­cana Media and de­signed in-house, it’s an eye-catch­ing piece of work that should fly off the shelves like Coca-Cola has for the past 130 years.

Pub­lish­ing di­rec­tor Mag­gie Davey and de­signer Shawn Paikin from Ja­cana wanted to ex­press “the dark arts of mar­ket­ing”, and they have suc­ceeded.

“A book cover is a mar­ket­ing tool,” Davey told #Trend­ing. “It has to work well enough to make a per­son pick it up, flip it around and read the back cover – and then, hope­fully, buy the book.”

PHOTO: JA­CANA MEDIA

ADDING LIFE Ron Nixon’s latest novel looks at the tac­tics em­ployed by apartheid pro­pa­ganda

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