Great ad­vert spot­ted in Spur of mo­ment stirs the taste buds

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

WHAT to you call a col­lec­tion of ir­ri­ta­ble men? A Grum­pire. And, those of you fol­low­ing this col­umn will know that not only am I am mem­ber but, in re­cent weeks, it has been a case of The Grum­pire Strikes Back.

So I have been hack­ing down posters il­le­gally fixed to road­signs (an of­fence in terms of both the Na­tional Roads Act and Joburg by-laws). I know Capeto­ni­ans prob­a­bly don’t know what I’m talk­ing about be­cause their lo­cal author­ity strictly con­trols the pro­lif­er­a­tion of out­door ad­ver­tis­ing – and en­forces the by-laws. We don’t in Gaut­eng – hence the need for a lit­tle bit of cit­i­zen ac­tivism.

Now be­cause of this at­ti­tude of mine, it might seem as though I have some­thing against out­door ad­ver­tis­ing, or “out of home” ad­ver­tis­ing, as the so­phis­ti­cates call it.

I do won­der, frankly, whether the ex­plo­sion of all types of sig­nage – le­gal and il­le­gal – is re­duc­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the medium be­cause of the sheer clut­ter out there.

How­ever, I also recog­nise that a good piece of out­door work can do a good job for a client. I was re­minded the other day of one of my favourites, a huge bill­board along­side the N1 high­way.

It is for Spur and, along with a pic­ture of the restau­rant chain’s iconic In­dian chief, are the words: “Taste Bud”. That’s the main line. Just two words – but how ef­fec­tive is their pun.

Taste bud (on the tongue) and taste bud( dy), which is what Spur res­tau­rants are for you and your fam­ily.

A clas­sic piece of copy­writ­ing. Not sure who the agency be­hind the ad is – but drop me a line next week and I’ll be happy to give you your great mo­ment in the lime­light.

In the mean­time, an Orchid to the Spur.

A sub­ject which, one would guess, is dif­fi­cult to put into mar­ket­ing terms is HIV/Aids. But in­sur­ance com­pany All Life pro­vides an in­no­va­tive scheme which of­fers life cover to those with HIV in a sen­si­tive, taste­ful man­ner in its lat­est TV ad.

It is a straight­for­ward ap­proach, which not only would en­cour­age HIV-pos­i­tive peo­ple to get in touch with the or­gan­i­sa­tion but pro­vides oth­ers with an in­ter­est­ing insight into how the com­pany helps its pol­icy hold­ers. The ad re­veals that All Life per­son­nel make reg­u­lar fol­lowup calls to their cus­tomers, re­mind­ing them to con­tinue to take an­tiretro­vi­ral (ARV) medicines and that they have some­one who will lis­ten to them.

The ad says that, within six months of join­ing All Life as a client, the av­er­age in­crease in an HIV-pos­i­tive per­son’s CD4 count (an in­di­ca­tion of the strength of their im­mune sys­tem) in­creases 15 per­cent. Its amaz­ing what car­ing sup­port can do.

The ad also shows that the in­sur­ance will take care of fam­ily mem­bers left be­hind.

What I like about the ad is that it tack­les the is­sue in a straight­for­ward way, which does a lot to re­duce the stigma as­so­ci­ated with HIV/Aids.

Good ad­ver­tis­ing for a com­pany do­ing good things for our so­ci­ety. So it gets an Orchid.

I read some­where once that an ad break on TV should, ac­cord­ing to the cyn­ics, be long enough to make a cup of tea.

Let’s say three or four min­utes, max.

I timed the ad breaks on DStv’s Com­edy Cen­tral this week. One ran for 7½ min­utes.

That is bad enough (or per­haps good enough if you’ve got to do things while watch­ing The Big Bang The­ory, for ex­am­ple) but dur­ing one of those al­most in­ter­minable breaks the same ad ran three times! Now all that does, no mat­ter how in­ter­est­ing the prod­uct be­ing plugged (and it was for some ex­trav­a­ganza for BET, Chan­nel 129), is make view­ers ir­ri­tated.

Please DStv, spread the ads around a bit. It’s not fair to sud­denly start an­noy­ing an au­di­ence who, only mo­ments be­fore, had been chuck­ling at a good com­edy show. An­other Onion… Fi­nally, and more in de­spair than in hope, I hand out an­other Onion to an ego­tis­ti­cal pub­lic ser­vant (that be­ing some­one who gets paid by us) for want­ing to get his face all over what is es­sen­tially a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment.

This time it is one Mzi­wonke Dla­bantu, the di­rec­tor-gen­eral in the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works, whose vis­age ap­pears on an ad which warns peo­ple about scam artists out there mis­us­ing the name of the depart­ment to carry out crim­i­nal acts.

It is a use­ful warn­ing and the text of the ad is some­thing which is in­ter­est­ing and can do some good. How­ever, the fact that it is screeds of type with the pass­port-type mugshot of the di­rec­tor-gen­eral in the cor­ner means many will pass it over.

So, Pub­lic Works, you get an Onion.

But, just so no one ac­cuses me of be­ing grumpy, here’s a sug­ges­tion for you. Get a jour­nal­ist and/or a pho­tog­ra­pher to help you put th­ese ads to­gether.

View them as sto­ries, as con­tent. And put some ap­pro­pri­ate images along with them. You’ll get far more at­ten­tion from the gen­eral pub­lic.

Your ego might not like it, though.

The thing to re­mem­ber in gov­ern­ment – much like jour­nal­ists and mar­keters should re­mem­ber that they are not al­ways the tar­get mar­ket – is that you are not the story.

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