Let’s get a positive lesson OUT!
ALL SORTS of reasons have been advanced as to how OUTSurance got a Father’s Day advert so horribly wrong. The intention of celebrating fathers is one thing, but to do it with an ad which features predominantly white fathers and their children left many wondering if the insurance giant, which has enjoyed much success through innovation, appreciates who its client base or wider South African audience is.
To add insult to injury, in apologising, responsibility was not shouldered by one of the key executives, but passed down to a junior who one must try to believe had been given free rein to create and upload an ad for such an important company without any internal control mechanisms. What is even more puzzling is that head of marketing Peter Cronjé said this was the first time the company had had problems with their ads, because they make sure that they are representative of the country’s demographics. This is despite the company having run a similar campaign for Mother’s Day last month.
Was the marketing department living under a rock that they didn’t appreciate how sensitive the race issue is in this country or how easily they could damage their brand?
And, as an insurance company who have insights into their clients, surely they understand the complexities of our situation and the need to tread carefully?
According to research, only about one third of children in this country live with both their biological parents; many don’t know their fathers, and if they do, they might not live with or have regular contact with them. So, while we can and should celebrate fathers in general – including those who take on that responsibility – the narrative of only one group of fathers playing with their children is a no-no as it creates assumptions about other fathers and their children.
Social media, the platform for which the ad was created, was quick to point out that it was not representative, and was therefore insulting. Commentators have suggested that the reason OUTSurance got it so wrong may be because the senior management of the brand are not representative or in tune with the broader population they serve.
Hopefully, OUTSurance and other brands will use the lesson to positive effect and come up with innovative advertising narratives that all South Africans can relate to.