Let’s get a pos­i­tive les­son OUT!

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.