EBONY AND IVORY

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & marketing -

UN­TIL RE­CENTLY there was a clear di­vide be­tween the kinds of ad­ver­tis­ing liked by South Africa’s blacks and by whites. Whites liked ads that were emo­tional or amus­ing, with a par­tic­u­lar lean­ing to­wards any­thing de­pict­ing cute chil­dren and an­i­mals.

Blacks, on the other hand, saw ad­ver­tis­ing as a source of in­for­ma­tion about how to use the prod­ucts of the con­sumer econ­omy.

The latest list­ing of most-liked TV com­mer­cials, drawn up by Millward Brown’s Ad­track sur­vey (see last week’s Ad­ver­tis­ing & Mar­ket­ing), sug­gests the con­ver­gence of those two poles of South African so­ci­ety is hap­pen­ing faster than most of us re­alised. The lik­ing scores have never been so in­te­grated, says Millward

The con­ver­gence of

those two poles of South African so­ci­ety is hap­pen­ing faster than

most of us re­alised.

Brown MD Charles Fos­ter. One thing that has caused this, or re­flected it, is the ex­pan­sion of the af­flu­ent black mid­dle class. The mem­bers of the up­per LSM (more af­flu­ent) groups are no longer mainly white.

The re­sults are ob­vi­ous in the over­lap­ping lik­ing scores of the two groups. The Vo­da­com ad in which Mo the meerkat meets a girl­friend was third in one list and sec­ond in the other. Vo­da­com’s “Ge­orge” was eighth in both.

But more sig­nif­i­cant is the con­ver­gence in the style of ad­ver­tis­ing be­tween the two. The key com­mon­al­ity in the ad­ver­tis­ing in both lists is emo­tional ap­peal and em­pa­thy. Hard­sell ar­gu­ments are no longer what peo­ple are turned on by.

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