Lensmen shoot Woolies from hip
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.