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[Loeries Last Word - 2]: A bird in the hand...

Screeds have been written about whether advertising creates or reflects pop-culture. Marketing philosopher Marshall McLuhan, was quoted as saying 'Advertising is the richest and most faithful reflection that any society ever made of its entire range of activities'.

The issue will probably be debated on, but if this year's crop of Loerie award winners is anything to go by, necessity and design are ensuring the advertising industry is reflecting the birth of a new tech-empowered and unashamedly Afro-centric zeitgeist.

Always ahead of the prevailing trends, Die Antwoord's Fatty Boom Boom vid, for which Egg Films won a batch of Loeries for its directors and designers, has notched over 14 million views on YouTube. Evidence that the world is ready for Africa-first styling and design!


[Loeries Last Word - 2]: A bird in the hand...
click to enlarge
More examples of ideas and technology that ensured the iconic, enchanting, goose-bump generating, enabling or even mind-blowing at this year's Loerie Advertising Awards are listed here:

Afrotech:

• Metropolitan Republic's Grand Prix-worthy idea coupled with amazing use of USSD all-phone technology generated a haul of awards including silver, gold, Gold Ubuntu, and the fantastic Tactical use of Newspaper Award - for MTN's Everywhere Library and Printed Bank campaigns Uganda. This allows kids to study via their phones by downloading books from libraries printed in local newspapers and using the same principle to enable money transfers via printed ATMs. With thinking like this it becomes clear why there is so much interest in mobile in our region. That Africa is not borrowing from other countries, but is actually leading the way in global mobile banking and education innovation, is an extremely exciting trend wave.

Africa issues:

• On the other end of the tech scale lie the unique physical realities of our region, which are by necessity generating new solutions. The Grand Prix winning Engen Fire Blanket calendar entry from Draftfcb's is one such example.

Safety and security:

• The Loerie Media Innovation award which sees bank notes hidden under cars to recruit the best security officers by Ogilvy & Mather Africa (Kenya), is all the more relevant and poignant, in the light of the recent Nairobi terrorist tragedy. Radar Security shows how the reality of life in Africa is reflecting in the type of problems creative agencies in our region have to solve.

• Similarly the JHHESA Shed light on Rape, Brothers for Life day glow posters conceptualized by Joe Public to light the way in unsafe areas for women walking alone after dark, is a great example of low tech print performing as a high tech solution.

• For a bronze Loerie, more socially beneficial Ubuntu award-winning thinking is undertaken by Draftfcb Social Marketing; A Division of Draftfcb South Africa on behalf of South Africa's foremost electricity utility, Eskom, to discourage electricity theft by highlighting its dangers and costs.

Sport:

• The fact that sport is so close to so many hearts of our nation, perhaps the absence of sufficient state of investment in this regard, sees brand owners get behind enabling initiatives such as Nedbank Ke Yona from Native and Carling Be the Coach by Ogilvy Cape Town with heart-warming results.

Four legged friends:

TBWA Hunt Lascaris Johannesburg tackles the fact that time is running out for our rhinos head on, replacing the usual Big 5 imagery seen on our national stamps with hard-hitting visuals of the carnage caused by rhino poaching including Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese messages which would communicate the plight of our rhinos across borders, via mail services of the world. Personally I'd like to see a bit of tech added that causes recipients of the stamps noses to fall off, which I'm sure would generate the necessary global awareness.

• Proudly celebrating the fact that Africa owns animals, on behalf of the Johannesburg Zoo, Hello Computer enables uses social media to enable another world first - the world's first tweeting badger!

Four wheeled friends:

• Over decades, car brands in South Africa have become an integral part of our culture, this year sees the usual car marque suspects - VW, Toyota, Merc, BMW and Audi scoop Loerie awards across categories.

• Stand out is the gamification of the VW heritage by Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town, which scooped a Grand Prix for its social media 'Street Quest' activation in the Loeries Digital & Interactive category and which is an all round beautifully executed campaign on many levels for a brand which has become part or our cultural heritage.

Health:

• A definitely burgeoning area in forthcoming years, tech-enabling health and health-awareness causes emerge at this year's Loerie awards, the most memorable of which is Boomtown's that sees all the health ravages of our region necessitate the call for International healthcare professionals via a stethoscope activated MP3 message for Africa Health Placements [AHP].

Retail:

• Making the high street an interactive interface and providing instant retail gratification, even outside of trading hours via a combination of great retail design and tech-enabled window displays, is the brilliant creative offering provided by one of Bizcommunity's old start-up pals Ikineo on behalf of their client Loom de Nimes. loomshop.co.za

• Putting the pop into pop-up retail is Native's ODF Exchange, hopefully we will not only be seeing more world-class examples of retail-for good-initiatives, but also retail interior design of this calibre in our malls.

Pop Culture:

Perhaps the key challenge of marketers can be said to be to ensure that their brands are loved. In this regard, to a certain extent most-all Loerie award winning commercials have already achieved this by default and they are too many to mention.


Not so much 'Ha ha ha' but rather 'Ow ow OW! (Image: @Anatinus)
Not so much 'Ha ha ha' but rather 'Ow ow OW! (Image: @Anatinus)
However, after the glitter has been swept away and the benefit of hindsight, some of the 2013 crop of Loerie winners who may be said to have produced work that either achieved new- or reinforced existing South African pop-culture status are:

• Metropolitan Republic using the medium of Fish& Chips to highlight Press Freedom consciously when their Dinner Time at Nkandla ad-that-never-flighted made news.

• Get quick bubble fun... Already a South African icon Chappies was given new lease on life by Ogilvy via social involvement which allowed members of the public to submit their own content for the iconic Did-You-know wrapper and generating PR mileage using local artists to create edible street art mosaics, but mostly for the double de-clutch of culture by immortalising local icons such as Yolande in the classic Chappie-wrapper illustration style a la Andy Warhol. Very covetable.

• One of the few LOL memorable brands of the year is Fox P2's Property 24, House hunting in the '80s. Do we another Vernon Koekemoer character in the making?

• Undoubtedly we are a nation gifted with amazing talent in illustration. Sadly only ever seeing the light of day in direct mail packs, award ceremonies, and industry blogs instead of useful places such as public art or in school text books. Nevertheless the dark illies for the Marmite blogger packs from Machine, are highly regarded having also won a design Silver at Cannes and lend world-class status to our skills in this category. Between 10and5 has done a great aggregation of 2013 Loerie award winning illustration examples.

• The pop culture factor may be some reason why there was disappointment and surprise from some sectors that Lowe and Partners did not win bigger for the Cape Times "selfies" communications, which everyone could relate to and were very well-received on the ground.

• The Loeries logo - arguably long overdue for an elevated status, could be said to have attained its own pop cult status this year via the initiative of bestowing rock star privilege on those who had 'the bird in the bush" motif, tattooed on their person, ensuring the brand an indelible impression [ha ha ha] on those who dared.

About Terry Levin

Adding more zeros and heroes to brand value. Brand Turn Around and Brand Positioning specialists. Specialising in corporate identity development, brand identity refreshes and the creation of heritage brands to achieve market leadership position. Currently acting as Bizcommunity.com creative director at large. Email az.oc.flehsehtffo@yrret, follow @terrylevin on Twitter, view her photos on Instagram, connect on www.facebook.com/offtheshelfmarketing or LinkedIn.

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