Showing he cares: Capetonian does his bit to boost jab numbers; Wimpy's amusing ad with race-based spice goes down a real treat...
The most cynically overused phrases in marketing-speak are “corporate social responsibility” and “corporate social investment” – because many large companies use them to pretend they have a conscience, when the opposite is often true.
There are many who believe that a brand has to “have purpose” to attract customers – but, in most cases, I think this ignores the reality that people want two things from the product they buy: a good price and that it is fit for purpose.
Generally speaking then, I cast a rather jaundiced eye over any marketing campaign aimed at polishing false corporate halos.
This week, though, I had to park my cynicism at the efforts of a butchery in Cape Town – Good Hope Meat Market – to do its bit in helping along the vital national vaccination programme.
Proprietor Reaaz Ahmed went out on social media with a special offer – come and get jabbed at the shop on Thursday and get 10% off your meat purchase. The offer worked very well, with about 50 people pitching up to get jabbed (Ahmed had arranged for medical personnel to be present and the process was exactly the same as carried out at government and private vaccination stations).
In the debate on social media which followed, it became clear that Ahmed was motivated by concern for his community in Cape Town, which sometimes appears as a haven for anti-vaxxers.
His measured tweets, and most of the response to him, showed most shared his view that this is a national imperative and that Good Hope Meat Market was merely doing its duty.
The tagline at the end of the graphic posted on Twitter summed it all up: The butcher who cares.
Unsurprisingly, he took a torrent of abuse from the nutters on Twitter and his staff had to endure abusive phone calls. But he took it all in his stride and, clearly, will not be deterred from doing similar things in the future.
The whole event and how it was done reminded me a lot of the selfless community work done by groups like Gift of the Givers.
Ahmed probably doesn’t want to be acknowledged, but I will do so in awarding him and Good Hope Meat Market an Orchid for showing how to do corporate social responsibility properly.
Were I living in Cape Town, this is definitely the place I would go to get my meat.
It’s a brave brand these days who goes out to add a little race-based spice to its ads … and that is what Wimpy appears, at first glance, to have done with its latest TV ad.
We see a young, biracial couple sitting in the car and he reminds her that today, they are going to visit her parents. That is a potentially minefield for any couple, never mind factoring in the additional tension there might be because of the differing skin hues.
She has visions of boyfriend – who looks like a nerd – causing a ruckus by remarking firstly on how the couch in the living room is still wrapped in plastic … and then offering to “fix it” by slicing off the cover. Naturally, that provokes horror from the parents.
She takes a deep breath and says that, before facing that potential disaster, she needs to eat– and then does, with the traditional (but still very appealing) Wimp meal of burgers, chip and milkshakes.
The punchline is that your world could change tomorrow, so presumably before Armageddon arrives, courtesy of the socially inept boyfriend, get a Wimpy special down…
In the end, while the couple may be different, the joke is not about race, it’s about people with no social sensitivity, so it shouldn’t offend anyone (although in SA, that is maybe asking a bit much).
But the ad grabs the attention and also does its job of showcasing the Wimpy offerings, so it gets an Orchid.
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