Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology -

IF LAST WEEK’S Ohmsa awards are a true in­di­ca­tion, out­door ad­ver­tis­ing in South Africa is in deep trou­ble. The stan­dard was frankly ap­palling, to the ex­tent the judges didn’t make awards in sev­eral cat­e­gories. The over­all win­ner – a sock­cov­ered bus ad­ver­tis­ing Omo’s ca­pac­ity to wash 5 000 socks with one box – was ear­lier this year, but I’m not sure that can be taken as an en­dorse­ment of its Ohmsa win. Af­ter all, some­thing deemed wor­thy only of fi­nal­ist sta­tus then has now been named best of show.

The bus with 5 000 socks glued to it cer­tainly at­tracted at­ten­tion as it went show­boat­ing through SA’s towns and town­ships. At its first stop there was a snatch the socks off the bus – and get­ting away with 500 of them. At­ten­tion, yes – but was it good ad­ver­tis­ing?

Though the Ohmsa Awards were set up specif­i­cally to en­cour­age bet­ter out­door ad­ver­tis­ing, that doesn’t seem to have worked, de­spite of­fer­ing the bartered for bill­board space with Toy­ota.

Which raises ques­tions about the stan­tial fi­nan­cial value. In the ego-driven busi­ness of ad­ver­tis­ing, it isn’t nec­es­sary awards for the glory. But the amount of glory de­pends on the cred­i­bil­ity of the awards.

Un­for­tu­nately, there’s an­other group of peo­ple who prob­a­bly feel a lit­tle dis­grun­tled with the out­come of the Ohm­sas: the spon­sors. You don’t get much value from spon­sor­ing an award that isn’t pre­sented. ¤

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