Lens­men shoot Woolies from hip

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA & MARKETING - STAFF RE­PORTER

WOOL­WORTHS, with its com­mit­ment to be­ing proudly South African, has up­set the lo­cal fash­ion photography com­mu­nity by im­port­ing an ex­pen­sive Euro­pean pho­tog­ra­pher, Oliver Toscani, to shoot its forth­com­ing Win­ter 2010 cam­paign.

Anony­mous sources said lo­cal pro­fes­sion­als were “highly up­set” by the de­ci­sion by the chain and its ad agency, The Jupiter Draw­ing Room.

“They make a big fuss of their com­mit­ment to lo­cal prod­ucts yet bring in some­one from over­seas at a huge daily cost to do some­thing which could have been done just as well lo­cally,” said one source.

An­other said: “They seem en­am­oured with the big names and ig­nore South African tal­ent. Even a few years ago, they only used a South African be­cause he has been work­ing over­seas and has a name there.

“What re­ally galls us is that we are re­peat­edly asked by the client and agency to be more cost-ef­fec­tive and lower our charges be­cause of the cost pres­sures they face.”

An­other pho­tog­ra­pher said many SA lens men and women had worked on in­ter­na­tional cam­paigns and could pro­duce work that was the equal of “hot shots” like Toscani.

A Wool­worths spokesman re­sponded: “Wool­worths is a pas­sion­ately South African com­pany and this forms a strong part of our in­her­ent value sys­tem. Be­cause of this we in­tro­duced our ‘Real Peo­ple’ cam­paign four years ago, show­cas­ing South African icons…

“Em­brac­ing South Africa ex­tends far be­yond our mar­ket­ing sup­pli­ers, but also in the way we do busi­ness and our com­mit­ment to a sus­tain­able fu­ture for South Africa. The use of three in­ter­na­tional team mem­bers … was in no way an in­di­ca­tion that we are shirk­ing our South African re­spon­si­bil­ity… Our ob­jec­tive was rather to part­ner with some renowned in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sion­als to make sure that our work re­mains on par with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice, and at a level that is ex­pected of our brand.

“This was an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity not only for us, but for some of our South African sup­ply part­ners, to learn from …some of the global best in their re­spec­tive fields, and as South Africans we should not iso­late our­selves from best of breed. It can only make us bet­ter, and chal­lenge us to de­liver con­sis­tently at a level that matches the best in the world.”

Wool­worths has done more than 50 pho­to­graphic shoots us­ing South Africans, the spokesman added.

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