Saturday Star

Bank plays right cards in ‘geek’ ad


WITHOUT wanting to sound sexist, have you noticed that women will watch movies over and over… and over again! Woe betide the daring male who tries to wrest the remote control from she who will watch Notting Hill for the 17th time!

Yet, lately I am finding myself happy to watch reruns of Big Bang Theory, still one of the finest comedy series of recent years.

And I couldn’t help notice during the ad break on The Comedy Channel that the latest TV punt for Capitec Bank slots into the Big Bang Theory, like it was made for it.

For those of you who don’t know, one of the central themes of the show is the romance between Penny (smoking-hot blonde, would-be actress) and Leonard, a lactose intolerant, glasses-wearing socially inept geek.

And, in the background lurks Leonard’s genius, but even more bereft of social skills, room-mate, Sheldon.

There are plenty of times in the show when Penny (who eventually does succumb to Leonard’s charms and later marries him, giving hope to nerds everywhere) does have to show Leonard how to cope in the real world… away from computer games, Star Wars and Star Trek, as well as physics research.

The Capitec ad sits perfectly in that space as we see an attractive blonde rolling her eyes in disbelief as her somewhat nerdy boyfriend fishes out a handful of credit cards, explaining that each is for a different payment.

How stupid is this guy, she seems to be asking.

No sweetie (to quote Penny), that’s not how you do it. Just use one card for everything. Just use Capitec.

Across the room, another geek nods in agreement with her: how can someone miss something so obvious? Not quite Sheldon, but close enough.

The ad makes the point that Capitec is not only effective, it is also convenient – because you don’t end up paying all those fees for all those different cards – money which, if you had saved it, may have enabled you to buy the pizza, instead of watching your girlfriend do it with her Capitec card. (takeout evenings are a regular feature of Big Bang Theory).

It is the placing of the ad which really makes it stand out. So Orchids to Capitec and to the agency who made it (let me know at orchidsand­ and the media agency which booked the airtime.

I can see exactly why private enterprise is quietly making a fortune out of the services which should be delivered by government department­s.

Would you trust the SA Post Office with any important documents? I don’t think so. Courier companies such as DHL offer a fast and reliable way of moving documents around the country and around the world.

It also sends you an SMS the day before delivery, alerting you.

We were more than impressed, we were stunned, by the combined efficiency of DHL and the British passport authoritie­s when my wife had to renew her British passport.

She sent off the documents via DHL on the after noon of January 4, and they were delivered in the morning of January 13. We were highly impressed and will certainly use DHL again if we have important items to send elsewhere. Delivering (literally and figurative­ly) is the best (and cheapest) form of marketing.

And DHL is doing just that. So an Orchid to the courier service.

And, how about that service from the Brits: you people can have an Orchid too.

Unlike many a whinger out there, I am not one of those who jumps on the anti-South African Airways bandwagon because the airline still has some very good people within its ranks, who gives service that rates with the best in the world. (There are quite a few who don’t, I grant you that.)

I was quite interested to see an ad for the new Business Class in the Airbus A330-300, which is the aircraft SAA is introducin­g to its fleet.

All very classy, all very luxurious.

The problem is twofold: the copywriter for the ad should be fired, so bad were the words accompanyi­ng the visual.

It was full of rubbish. Here is an example: “The new fleet is testament to our commitment to improve every journey and go to uncharted territorie­s.”

Really, if I were getting on an aircraft to fly somewhere, I would far rather the crew knew where it was going – to territorie­s which actually have been charted. Doesn’t anyone think? Rule number one in advertisin­g: never allow your message to be interprete­d in a way which could damage your brand.

But the icing on the dodgy cake was the sub-headline: “Our new A330-300 signal a new luxury in flying.”

Somebody clearly doesn’t know the difference between singular and plural.

It should have read: “Our new A330-300s signal…” or “Our new A330-300 signals…”

I am not going to blame this on the copywriter alone.

Who on earth checked this drivel at the ad agency? Who on earth at SAA checked this and signed off on it?

That sort of basic language sloppiness (after all, English is the language in which SAA does business) makes one wonder where other incompeten­ce is creeping in.

Onion for SAA. A pity I don’t know who the agency is – you get one, too. But I’m pretty sure you won’t own up.

• For more media and other writing, check out my website: www.orchidsand­

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