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McCann1886 successfully applies lockdown lessons for Steers

McCann1886 is successfully applying the lessons it learnt during last year's hard lockdown to the work it is doing for clients across the board.
Last year, the approach adopted by the agency during the Covid-19 lockdown allowed it to develop work that proved so in-sync with Steers’s mostly metropolitan male 18-to-34-year-old target market that it performed beyond expectation.

Now, some nine months later, the agency is applying the approach and lessons it learnt during the various lockdown phases to the 60-year-old fast-food burger restaurant chain’s latest campaign.

McCann1886 chief creative officer, Stuart Stobbs, explained that, when 2020 didn’t quite go according to anyone’s plan, they turned to the McCann global mantra – ‘creativity is the only way to survive’ – for inspiration and to redefine the agency.

This approach had three key drivers – agility, making and fun.

“Admittedly, ‘agility’ was an obvious driver to apply to how we worked, how we built insights, how we created, collaborated and thought. The agency wanted faster outputs, but without impacting on quality,” he said.

“‘Making’ was all about taking ideas to finish, and upskilling staff with the knowhow to do so. Here, we reckoned, the more we could do, the better we could help clients. And ‘fun’? Well, what would be the point of all that work without Fun,” he said. “Also, facing a pandemic is mentally draining, and having some fun while you work, well that’s the perfect antidote or dare I say, vaccine?”

The agency initially put these drivers to work for Steers when it was preparing to re-open after being in a forced shutdown for three months. The need was for an immediate and significant upturn in revenue.

“Our first campaign – the ‘Mix It Up Sharing Meal’ campaign – combined old ads with new footage to create six pieces of fresh and engaging content that talked to the situation we were all in and reminded consumers of the power of sharing,” said creative director, Mthokozizi ‘Zi’ Sithole.

“And, knowing time was everything, we followed up swiftly with a full social roll-out and then proceeded to launch TVCs for the ‘Shake It Up Sharing Meal’ and the ‘Cheese Boy Sharing Meal’. Agility and making indeed worked hand-in-hand to help us keep delivering for Steers in record time.”

Sithole also praised the client for their support: “None of this would be possible without a solid relationship with a client who is just as agile as we were. And it turns out that, if you work together, creativity not only lets you survive a pandemic, but thrive in one too,” he said.

The new executions were created for the ‘Phanda Ribster Burger Meal’ by executive creative director Tumi Sethebe, creative director Zi Sithole and art director Chan Ma after they were briefed to show what it really means to be ‘phanda’ in South Africa while leveraging of the amazing Steers value offer.

You can view the new TVCs, which launched last week (January 12) here:

“‘Phanda’ means ‘hustle’ and, in a South African context today, that translates into an ambition or hunger to turn your side-hustle into a major success,” explained Sethebe. “Steers has tapped into the ethos of ‘phanda’ and ‘phandapreneurs’ in the recent past, supporting their endeavours with competitions to win a little ‘seed money’ and opportunities to build awareness for their side-hustles.

“This new campaign acknowledges that, every now and then, phandapreneurs lose their hunger for success, because they are tired or physically taxed – maybe hungry – but just don’t realise it. So, our TVCs show how the Steers Phanda Ribster Meal helps them regain their phanda by giving the ‘fuel’ to re-ignite it.

“For our digital and social content, we spoke to real phandapreneurs, some of whom have been with Steers for a while. We interviewed them about how to cope with those moments when you feel like giving up and how Steers helps fuel their phanda,” he said.

The TVCs and content was shot by Team Best and directed by Asher Stoltz, Bryan van Niekerk and Sifiso Khoza; post-production was by Mushroom Media.


Client: Steers
Campaign: Phanda Ribster Burger Meal
Steers Marketing Executive: Jeswin Leckram
Steers Marketing Manager: Tammy Ho
Steers Brand Manager: Kutloano Dingaan
Creative agency: McCann1886
Account Director: Thomas Countee
Executive creative director: Tumi Sethebe
Creative Director: Zi Sithole
Copywriter: Zi Sithole
Art director: Chan Ma
Strategist: Amy Harper
TV Producer: Caron Sandler
Production house: Team Best
Director: Asher Stoltz, Bryan van Niekerk and Sifiso Khoza
Post-production: Mushroom Media

Nahana Communications Group
Nahana Communications Group is a collective of leading specialist agencies that provide solutions across the marketing ecosystem, engaging with clients early, intelligently and collaboratively, to tackle the business problem, not just the creative task.

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