In this exclusive Bizcommunity interview, made possible by the ACA, we go behind the timeline and tactics that went into producing the Chasing the Sun series, documenting highlights of the Springboks' historic 2019 Rugby World Cup victory, which earned content agency T+W a deserving Grand Prix at the 2021 Loerie Awards.
In this episode, we meet Itumeleng Senne, head of marketing at SuperSport, and Chris Green, series producer at T+W Content agency, who share many nuggets of wisdom - on passion, planning and partnerships in a pandemic; how investing in inclusivity can inspire hope and self-belief and reasons and opportunities for brands to get behind filmmakers, especially in the category of sport.
Planning for the documentary had already started before 2019, with a shared vision and commitment between SuperSport and SA Rugby to see where they could take the Springboks in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup, not knowing that the Springboks would emerge as world champions.
According to Senne, “It’s, again, indicative of a very great partnership between SuperSport and SA Rugby in communicating and committing to a shared identity and a shared vision to bring the story to life and to support the Springboks.”
“It was our intention that you wouldn’t need to be a hardcore rugby fan or a rugby fan at all, but that you would be able to relate to all the players and relate to the story,” Senne said.
Metaphors of hope
According to Senne, there is evidence that more diverse and inclusive businesses tend to show a better bottom line - it gives you a wider reach.
“Our lives, our cultures are all overlapping stories, and therefore you cannot have just one single lane of narrative,” added Senne. “In your decision making, in your approach to things, you take into account a whole lot of other people, a whole lot of other ideas, and that can only enrich your decision-making process.”
When asked about the theme of transformation that runs through the Chasing the Sun documentary, Green comments that they would need a diverse team in order to be able to tell a diverse story and this was something they had taken seriously from the outset. For example, ensuring interviewers in the series speak to isiXhosa speakers or Afrikaans players in their own languages greatly contributes to the enriched and authentic outcomes that attention to diversity brings.
Previously, the only topics international markets were interested in about South Africa focused on wildlife or stories about Nelson Mandela, according to Green. The increased appetite for long-form content in sport sets the stage for a wider market for more diverse and authentic South African storytelling.
“What’s been amazing to me is to see the potential of sports. South Africa is sports mad, we’ve got great sportsmen, and that is something we are really excited about the future, about SuperSport’s involvement in content, because it is something we can provide the world, our stories and the challenges our players face are unique,“ he said.
“Our team is interested in pursuing the sport’s narrative as a genre. We think we’ve got incredible potential for storytelling, marketing and branding and it allows a new dimension to storytelling. What we really wanted to do was show that diversity isn’t necessarily the easy way, it’s tough, but it’s better. I hope that’s what people take away and that’s what #StrongerTogether really meant and where the nugget of hope sits and what makes me hopeful.”
This industry-wide series of discussions on the topic of diversity and inclusivity in the SA advertising industry, is made possible by the Association for Communication and Advertising. The ACA is committed to the transformation of the industry and to upholding the principles of the ACA Transformation Charter.