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#OrchidsandOnions: Kia Tsamaya ad a perfect example of authenticity

I do realise that some global brands - particularly in the car industry - don't do huge business in South Africa and, therefore, without a massive marketing budget, they import most of their advertising material. That awareness, though, doesn't make it any less irritating to see left-hand-drive vehicles on European streets lined by stainless steel and glass buildings, driven by clean, pretty, Europeans.
#OrchidsandOnions: Kia Tsamaya ad a perfect example of authenticity

It’s a clear indication of the financial health and market share of brands like Kia and Hyundai that they are spending their marketing budget locally and, in the process, producing some authentic South African advertising.

An ad with legs

Kia’s Tsamaya TV ad has been around since late last year and is proving it has legs…as well as showing the company is committed to maximising return on its ad investment by flighting it often.

What I really like about it is that it was, I have discovered, effectively birthed from a “blank sheet” brief, which included commissioning composer Zethu Mashika to come up with the campaign anthem. Kia says that In Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi there are the words kea and ke ya which sound like Kia and which relate to movement and travel.

The anthem is described as having an old-school 80s type vibe and will feel familiar to many. That familiar feel is carried through in the theme of the ad, which encapsulates the joy and freedom of a road trip.

So, we see a diverse group of South Africans – and I do mean diverse, because there is a couple from the LGBTQ community, a brave move by Kia in a conservative society like ours – all heading off on their various journeys in various models of Kia vehicles.

Sense of hope

Under the direction of Matshepo Maja, the little vignettes outline the different travel stories and capture the anticipation, the fun and the freedom perfectly. Of course, this is about more than just people having fun and travelling, this is about the cars which make it all possible. Yet, the presence of the Kias is not overdone and there is no hard sell…they are always in the background, faithful companions and facilitators.

The ad also captures a sense of hope and a sense of optimism – to slightly bend the words of the cheesy poem Desiderata, “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, South Africa is still a beautiful country…”

Nowhere is that more apparent than when the LGBTQ couple arrive home, clearly worried about the reception they will get from conservative parents and family. There is a disapproving looking father, who disappears briefly, to return with a cake with layers in the rainbow colours of the Gay Pride flag.

It’s brave and it’s touching and, while some might feel offended, my bet would be that Kia’s young, “live and let live” target market would appreciate the gesture.

All in all, it’s a great, brave South African ad, which not only showcases Kia’s products, but also sees the company giving a resounding thumbs-up to South Africa. And we certainly need that now….

Orchids to Kia and all concerned.

Customer data

Some years ago, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was one of the hottest marketing buzz-phrases. Cynics like me would say the best form of CRM – and, of course, the cheapest form of advertising because it offers the best return on investment – is good customer service. But the marketing boffins harped on and on about the data and how this could be mined to the benefit of the brand.

That’s why I am constantly surprised about how badly companies in South Africa either look after their customer data or outright abuse it, to the detriment of their brands.

#OrchidsandOnions: Kia Tsamaya ad a perfect example of authenticity

For example, how it is possible to “mail shot” a customer more than five years after she stopped buying your products and has, indeed, had no contact with you for that period, is beyond me.

Yet, that is what the subscription department geniuses at Independent Media Subscriber Services managed to do this week by sending my sister an Easter weekend reminder that the Saturday Star would not be publishing…. sublimely unaware, clearly, that she had cancelled her subscription more than five years ago.

That did little more than make my sister laugh, especially because she struggled on multiple occasions to get her paper delivered and then battled to get refunds for undelivered copies. As an aside, while it is true that print newspapers have been devastated by digital competition, it is also true that they were their own worst enemies by failing to improve their distribution and subscriptions processes…and this is a case in point.

I don’t know whether the Onion from me will help you repair the hole in your foot from where you shot yourself, Independent Media Subscriber Services…

About Brendan Seery

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.

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