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[Orchids & Onions] Coronation earns trust of investors with simple message

Coronation Fund Managers have already produced a number of interesting, entertaining ads echoing their slogan, "Trust is earned".
The one I liked best was about Elephant Whisperer, Lawrence Anthony, and how he won over a group of angry elephants.

The point, well made, is that if you are to give someone your trust that trust needs to be earned. In the case of an investment company, Coronation says that trust is in its track record.

Its latest TV ad has taken that premise a little further – more into the land of real people – by looking at what you need that trust for, in an investment sense.
“If your money came easy,” it says, “You’d invest it with anyone.”

So we see ordinary people, not flash business or rock stars with piles of money, in their struggles to earn their daily bread. No clean-cut sweet, handsome people. Just ordinary folk who get tired, who get angry – but who get on with their jobs. Because they just can’t walk out. The sort of people who keep society going. Our unsung heroes and heroines, if you like.

In the real world, not much is like the Dire Straits song, where you get “money for nothing and chicks for free...” So, if you sweat for your cash, you want someone to do likewise and you shouldn’t just invest it with anyone, says Coronation. Go with someone who has earned the right for you to trust them.

It’s a simple message, but because it’s grounded in reality and in the daily grind, it has resonance with most working people. And most working people will, at some stage, think about the future and about putting something aside. The ad is a good way of keeping its name top of mind, so it gets an Orchid.

Screengrabs from the ad.
Screengrabs from the ad.

I am no fan of Sanral and its ducking and diving bosses. In the e-toll saga, its “marketing communication” – if one can call it that – has been riddled with inaccuracies, misleading statements and down-right lies. It has shown a schizophrenic sales pitch – first cajoling, then pleading, then threatening.

Be that as it may, I do acknowledge that in the organisation – outside of its trash-talking execs – a there are pockets of excellence which do more than the bosses ever could to protect the ailing Sanral brand.

One such is the organisation’s online traffic site, This promises real-time traffic updates on the highways controlled by Sanral. And it delivers. Recently, I was concerned about whether I would get caught in traffic snarl-ups around the Mall of Africa in Midrand as I headed north up the N1. The website not only gave me a written report, but allowed me to browse through constantly updated still photos from the traffic cameras linked to the system. Using this, I was able to judge that Midrand was flowing freely and so I opted for that route. And all went well.

It is a great idea and works well. Because it shows parts of Sanral to be world-class – and therefore helps undo some of the damage wrought by Nazir Alli et al – I award the site an Orchid.

Another for the Oh dear South African grammar files: Outfitter Khaliques no doubt had good intentions with an ad in Saturday Star last week, urging people to take their moms to its stores for a 30 percent discount. Headlining the ad was: “Whose your mom?” True story. We still write in English and still use apostrophes in South Africa, people from Khaliques (though there sometimes seems to be a nationwide campaign to dumb everything down to “netspeak”).

The ad should not have run. Khaliques, you get an Onion – no discount on that, I’m afraid.

One of the most common complaints about DStv concerns re-runs. I was discussing this with colleagues in The Star Tonight section recently and they pointed out, quite logically, that reruns are the price you pay for a 24-hour TV channel. Fair enough. But in the first week of this month, I was watching the Comedy Channel and an ad came up asking for entries for the CNN African Journalist of the Year awards. Closing date: March 24.

Seriously, DStv? Doesn’t anyone check this stuff ? This is the sort of thing which adds insult to injury and could result in subscribers cancelling their expensive subscriptions. And it is so unnecessary – so you get an Onion.

Last week’s Orchid for Tracker did not have details of the agency and production company responsible. The agency was House of Brave and the production company was 0307 Film, while the director was Kevin Fitzgerald. Orchids to you all!

*Note that Bizcommunity staff and management do not necessarily share the views of its contributors - the opinions and statements expressed herein are solely those of the author.*

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town. Contact him now on moc.liamg@4snoinodnasdihcro

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