Friday, 1 August 2008

South African advertising kicks British butt.

I know nothing about marketing, advertising and branding. I am just a lowly Biology graduate. So the following observations are from an uninformed point of view. Just saying.

There are DEFINITELY cultural differences between the UK and SA. That is a fact. Overall, the NORM is very important in the UK. It is not good to stand out. I know that to some extent this applies in SA, but not to the same level. The norm seems to be the guiding force in life in the UK. 

There are however a few exceptions. These are called the eccentrics. There are a distinctive number of really eccentric people in the UK that are just odd. 

In SA the norm is important but way more flexible. And people tend to be quirky rather than eccentric. There seem to be quite a large number of quirky people. To me quirky is cooler than eccentric, but that is just me. Of course there are plenty of sheep and lemmings in SA that do what everyone else does. But there is more variety.

And this reflects in the advertising of the respective countries. Adverts in the UK are 100% unmemorable. They just do not stand out in any way. They all achieve the minimum requirement of cool that the norm dictates, and so they are all exactly the same. Orange is probably the one exception I can think of, I can actually remember their ads and they have quite a strong brand image. 

UK ads do not seem to make use of catchy jingles or catchphrases. Whereas I have an infinite number of South African jingles and catchphrases in my head. They must work because they have stuck around in a head that can barely remember its own name. Some examples are:

"I wanna be a Simba chippie, I wanna be a Simba chippie... so grow a little more my spuddie"

"Oatso Easy to start the day, something something,"

"There's a friendly Spar wherever you are"

"Thank heaven for seven eleven"

"Spur people, people with a taste for life!"

"Yippy for Skippy"

"I lo-o-ove su-u-uger!"

"Its just you and me and five roses" (is that right?)

"Shake Aromat shake! aro eggs, aro chips, aro mielies!"

I don't remember a single jingle from an UK ad.

South African ads tend to be quirky and unusual, and as a result they are memorable. The only UK ads that are memorable for me are the truly cringe-worthy ones, usually for supermarkets, that stick in your head because they are that bad. At least they are remembered. SA has loads of those examples too.

Yeah, so what does this all mean? I guess not much except that the national psyche is reflected in advertising campaigns, and that SA does good ads. 

But then I am South African, and probably a bit quirky and so prefer quirky ads. So it's all a bit vague really.  It's all "good, good, good, it's good it's nice".

P.S If you have an SA advertising jingles swimming  around in your head, please add them to this facebook group.


Simone said...

I totally agree.

I was trying to find if anyone ever uploaded the aromat advert - that's how got to your post.

po said...

Thanks Simone