When Indaba Billboards & Media opened its doors in 2018, the agency's founders recognised the value of latent high-traffic high-visibility zones in townships as ideal channels to share brand messages with a fast-growing, bustling mass market.
Pan Africa Mall, Alexandra, Johannesburg
Co-founder Paseka Molelengoane says: "The walls we saw in townships, en route to taxi ranks, schools and retail malls and shopping centres, were, in our view, blank canvases. Instead of the usual out-of-home (OOH) billboards, we are able to create beautiful wall murals, and this represented an opportunity for us to not only give back to communities, but also to reach the township economy's vibrant market through tactile messaging."
The company has managed to foster meaningful and mutually rewarding relationships with homeowners, leasing their 'blank canvas' walls as out-of-home advertising space, "so it's a win-win for our clients as well as 'ordinary members' of the community who are able to subsidise their household income, and transform them into business owners".
"Ours is a social enterprise model, where our wins for brands, enables us to plough back into communities. At a time when the country has been in a downturn economy, even before lockdown, our junk status means that people have had to dig deep to find ways to supplement or even create new income streams."
Indaba Billboards & Media has committed itself to bolstering the township economy, which has long been regarded as one of the country's fastest-growing informal segments of the greater economy in South Africa.
The company's insatiable appetite for innovating branding solutions for brands and businesses, coupled with their desire to serve township communities with real 'quality of life' solutions, resulted in yet another option for out-of-home marketing.
"Our menu of services also includes free Wi-Fi offered to spaza shop patrons, with intermittent advertising campaigns which pop up while these customers use the Wi-Fi to connect to job opportunities or to stay connected to loved ones on social media platforms," says co-founder Neo Molefi.
Mendi Avenue & Eric Lusaseni Street, Langa, Cape Town
"If lockdown taught us any thing, it is that this global digital village we live in, demands connectivity, and for some, Whatsapp and Facebook are the only means to stay connected, to keep in touch with loved ones."
The free Wi-Fi solution offers brands the opportunity to tap into consumers while they are out, speaking to a captive audience while they are making purchasing decisions.
Moelelengoane says: "Growing up in a township means that we bring with us a very real experience of how township life operates, where, when and how purchasing decisions are made. Our personal insights are the reason we are able to constantly create new branding options for our clients, with a keen understanding of the behaviour, the mindset and shopping patterns of township consumers."
With OOH sites in every province across the country, Indaba Billboards & Media offers clients a visible national footprint, to the estimated 4.9 million South Africans who use public transport to commute between home, work and school. It is during this daily commute - from the holas in Soweto to the sawubonas in Umlazi, from the molwenis in Gugulethu and Mdantsane - that brands are able to share their brand message, and to stimulate conversations between and amongst fellow travellers.
Indaba Billboards & Media also owns digital screens which brands can leverage to promote their unique products and services. Advertising packages are structured to not only suit client's purse-strings, but also tailormade so that niche audiences are targeted, on platforms and channels that deliver impact.