Get tuned into what mat­ters the most

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

VOLK­SWA­GEN South Africa (VWSA) and its ad agency, Ogilvy, has al­ways been tapped into what makes South Africa tick – or at least that part of South Africa that is a po­ten­tial mar­ket for ve­hi­cles.

Some of the most mem­o­rable com­mer­cials have been pro­duced over the years for VW, ads that have a uniquely South African flavour.

Lately, I note with some con­cern that VW, along with many other global brands, is im­port­ing the odd bit of mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

While it may be true South Africa is part of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and that cer­tain sell­ing pitches are uni­ver­sal – re­gard­less of lan­guage, race or gen­der – it is said that our spe­cial lo­cal voice be­comes muted.

Not all is lost, though – far from it, as far as VWSA is con­cerned. That much is clear from the lat­est ad for its com­plete car range, rather than a sin­gle model.

Again pro­duced by Ogilvy, the ad starts with that typ­i­cal fam­ily hol­i­day sce­nario for many South African fam­i­lies – hit­ting the road be­fore dawn for the long jour­ney to the sea. We see two VWs – a Touareg SUV and a Golf GTI – set­ting off sep­a­rately, but pass­ing and repass­ing each other through the day.

In the back, the kids in the dif­fer- ent cars no­tice each other – on the high­way, at the petrol sta­tion and at a lay-by. Fi­nally, it turns out that the two fam­i­lies are head­ing to the same place as the Touareg and Golf park close to each other at a sea­side re­sort.

The kids get out and the bur­geon­ing friend­ship, grown through the hours of “know­ing” each other on the jour­ney, seems to be ce­mented with a smile.

Then comes the punch­line: It’s not just a car. It isn’t. It is a way of es­cape, a way of ful­fill­ing dreams and, most of all, of mak­ing friend­ships. That has al­ways been the VW mes­sage, that the brand is a fam­ily.

The lat­est ad just bur­nishes that im­age, so it gets an Orchid from me.

In­ter­est­ing, too, that the ad fea­tures black and white kids. Per­haps I should not no­tice that, but race is, ob­vi­ously, a big is­sue in this coun­try. When you watch the VW ad, you can’t help but hope our kids get on bet­ter with each other than we do.

Peo­ple some­times re­gard me as a techno­phobe be­cause I am al­ways fir­ing off the sil­ver-bul­let ques­tions at dig­i­tal vam­pires (the worst of them is “Why?” – “Be­cause we can” is not an an­swer, peo­ple).

How­ever, I can, and do, make use of the in­ter­net fre­quently, in­clud­ing to do shop­ping, which is, some might say, con­tra­dic­tory, given that I style my­self as an “ana­logue man”. (That, by the way, doesn’t mean I wear hair shirts and com­mu­ni­cate by smoke sig­nals; it means I favour real, and not screen, in­ter­ac­tions, with peo­ple and places.)

This week, I was con­sid­er­ing up­grad­ing my old Nikon cam­era. I did plenty of re­search on­line and, be­cause I had sub­scribed to a reg­u­lar news­let­ter from Foto Dis­count World in Pre­to­ria, checked out their web­site for the cam­era, lens and tri­pod I wanted.

The price was good and I was in two minds about driv­ing to the shop ( that old ana­logue ap­proach) to check out the cam­era in per­son.

Sen­si­bly, I phoned first. I was told the par­tic­u­lar bun­dled item I wanted was out of stock.

“I just need to check with Nikon to see if they have stock, which should be here in a day or two. But I will call you in 10 min­utes…”

You know what’s com­ing, don’t you? De­spite their hav­ing my cell­phone num­ber and my phone be­ing switched on all the time, I have not heard a word. I gave him the best part of a day and then I went to Plan B. This was to go to the web­site of Orms Di­rect, a pho­tog­ra­phy spe­cial­ist shop in Cape Town.

They had what I wanted and re­sponded promptly to my e-mail ask­ing if it was in stock. I or­dered, paid by credit card and then later con­firmed with the helpline staff that the par­cel had been dis­patched. I could also track the ship­ment by Fedex, their ship­ping com­pany.

The les­son in this is that, if you run an e-com­merce op­er­a­tion, make sure you do it whole­heart­edly. If some­one makes an en­quiry, for good­ness’ sake, phone them back.

Foto Dis­count World, you lost my busi­ness. So you get a mar­ket­ing Onion. Orms Di­rect you get an Orchid, not only for a slick and pro­fes­sional web­site, but be­cause you have demon­strated clearly that, even in the dig­i­tal space, the most ef­fec­tive form of mar­ket­ing is good cus­tomer ser­vice.

I will be need­ing new lenses and ac­ces­sories in due course.

Guess where I’m go­ing?

An Orchid for VW – their lat­est ad em­pha­sises the brand is a fam­ily.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.