Recently, while walking through Fourways Mall I came across something very familiar, yet unfamiliar. The companies name is Oro Gold cosmetics, but at first glance you could be forgiven if you’ve mistaken it for Coco Channel.
I’m sure Coco Channel wouldn’t be too fazed about the similarities. Usually these “smaller” brands are allowed to get away with pushing the bounderies, and it seems that such examples are on the rise. If brands choose to ignore what are assumed to be little things, would it could come back to haunt them in the end? So the question remains, where do draw the line?
Ettienne Stoles, OIL InternRead more
There is something about attending manyalo a ko kasi (township weddings). It is one of the biggest and most celebrated cultural events. In an environment of struggle or average living it is a time when a family has the opportunity to take centre stage within a community and to be celebrated by all that are around
There are many elements that re defining cues and make up for a great wedding. From the tailored outfits for the entire bridal party through to the best cars to carry procession through to street celebrations and tented reception venues. In kasi everybody is invited, people as a result don’t do guest lists, they do tents
Bakaphi (bridegrooms and bridesmaids) are the most integral part of the wedding. They are not only just there as close friends showing for the hitched. They make the day when it comes to carrying the energy of the bridal party. It is a lengthy preparation process of getting the most show stopping outfits (without trumping the bride and groom) right through to practicing the so called “step” that has not only come to be expected but has gained status as an almost ritualistic rite of passage performed on the day to delight the guests.
The Convoy is as important and in many instances the best cars that can be accessed from family and friends are requested to be driven as the main convoy vehicles. It is with these that the bridal procession will take to the streets in an almost celebratory procession to the applause and recognition of passer bys. You see in kasi that is not something only reserved for royalty
Weddings are an integral part of African culture and will forever be a testament of the ability to go big and be celebrated communally, no matter what your background or circumstance is as a person / familyRead more
In my view, the best part of Kasi culture is that “life still happens on the street”. Whether it’s in the middle of the night or at the dawn of a new day the streets are always a buzz with activity. Vendors on street corners selling ama kip kip or a group of friends sitting by the curb watching life pass by.
One common street constant is where locals gather to cut their hair. Men and women of all ages can get their grooming done at a relatively low cost. Now interestingly enough if you grow up living in a place where cutting your hair costs no more than R30 it becomes a little difficult to justify the premium prices offered by suburban salons. At some point it becomes a matter of principle that leads you to end up heading back into the hood to get your cut
…Even when you can afford to buy Harley Davidson motorcycles
The other impact of life on the street is the mentality that is created that you have to hustle to make it, wherever and however opportunity shows itself. Hustling has become a core value for many. Perhaps it is motivated by coming from little or needing to find creative ways to make ends meet. Kasi entrepreneurs are an inspiration for many as they have risen above whatever circumstances and have made things happening
For example the story of Musa is one amongst many. Considering the high cost of entry for gaming, he and his partner saw the opportunity to create accessible “play stations” for kids around the neighborhood. So they entered a Richard Branson competition for entrepreneurs and won. It’s a simple idea; a few playstation consoles on offer with a range of games. R6 gets you 10 minute & R12 gets you an hour. A couple of trailers in Soweto and the East Rand… The rest is history
It is only through being the street and hustling that you develop this kind of eye for opportunityRead more
The amazing thing about Soweto if we consider it to be a “kasi” in the true “Kasi” sense; it is that it’s the one place where there are no borders that exist between posh life and average living. Whether you are a successful businessman or a secretary, there just feels to be a happy co-habitation that is all around. In a time black people where once considered homogenous and forced to live together in one environment, the comfort of living in kasi meant when urbanization was happening post segregation many didn’t feel the need to move to the suburbs.
The resulting effect of this and what is so amazing is that you quickly come across such amazing stark contrasts all around.
For instance what is commonly known as the big (pronounced beeg) house can easily be the next door neighbor to the average 4 room house (“4 room” became the standard reference for average sized houses usually consisting of 4 rooms)
What is so amazing about this comfortable co-existence, even when layered with contrast, is that there is no such thing as “good fences make for good neighbours” on the contrary there is such a sense of community that “next door” is easily considered family and in the street of your residence you can have so many surrogate uncles and aunts who at some point in your childhood are entitled to discipline if need be.
It is these easy contrasts without judgment or prejudice and neighbourly family spirit that many people who have left kasi come to hold in high regard when reflecting back; myself included.
Lesego Kotane, Strategist, OIL CT
The thing about this beautiful country we live in is that it feels like there are a million different countries, spaces and places all bottled within the borders, such are many nuances that make up each living area. One of those places is the ever buzzing township life. What has come to be affectionately known for residents as “Kasi”. Whilst most Kasi (township) can span in similarity, it is the unique nuances that make up each individual character of a kasi neighborhood. We decided to spend a few days in Soweto and catch a glimpse of the highs and lows along with its energy. It would take months to truly grasp every aspect of life in Soweto and even then it would be a matter of scratching of the surface. What we have done is taken some interesting highlights that may prove insightful in understanding some aspect of kasi culture. Over the next few days we will post some nuggets on the blog for you to feed off. Enjoy
# 1: Maponya Mall is a definite game changer
Although one might consider a shopping mall and everyday occurrence, in Soweto, Maponya Mall stands out as an iconic structure that forms the heartbeat of the hood. It’s a place where residents can go from finding top end brands and through to staying in town while still having an chance to lounge and enjoy chilling at places like Newscafe and Cappellos (makes a big difference when you had to drive out nearly 30 km’s to enjoy the same experience)
Maponya mall, though seemingly insignificant does 2 things. Firstly
it acts as a symbol of progress within the broader community and secondly for the many who may perhaps not have the opportunity to enjoy suburbia town culture it brings aspiration and access that much closer to home and makes it within reach
As more and more people get acquainted with the idea of a multi million rand investment into a township more brands will begin to take notice of this space and invest in retail real estate in order to capture their share of a sizeable market
Here is a link for Maponya Mall: http://www.maponyamall.co.za/home/index.asp
Lesego Kotane, Strategist, OILRead more
So Barbie and Ken called it quits in 2004 and now Ken has taken to Facebook to win her back. It’s 7 years later…better late the never, hey Ken?
Hello 2011, hello balance and discipline. With the beginning of every year we are afforded the opportunity to press the ‘refresh’ button on our lives. We take stock of the year that was, reflect on the lessons learnt and ditch what no longer worked for us.
My word for 2011 is ‘SERENITY’. In order to live up to my full potential this year I need to know the difference between what I can and cannot change. I will learn to accept what I cannot change and pluck up the courage & responsibility to positively change what I have control over.
Yes, indeed, the prayer for serenity will be my 2011 mantra.
(That’s me on the left with my partner in crime Shadi- in the not so serene 2010!)
-Nokulunga NcubeRead more
I’m reading an interesting book entitled Persuasion by James Borg, which explores the art of influencing people. As I got more and more into the content it struck me as to how brands seek to influence and persuade people (consumers) every day. The fundamental objective of all brand communication or innovation is to persuade people to buy, love and stay with them.
In order to persuade people James Borg explores Aristotle’s art of persuasion formula. This includes a delicate balance of Ethos (character credibility and reputation), Pathos (emotional appeal and EQ) and Logos (logical reasoning).
Ethos is the passport factor. Without credibility, people simply won’t see you as a credible representation of the argument. Logos is the logical reasoning people will use to post-rationalize their decision to agree with your argument. But the most important element of this formula is Pathos- emotional appeal and EQ. Simply expressed this is empathy. And empathy is the ability to understand a person’s feelings, ideas and situation.
Only once empathy is established can you truly and sincerely communicate with someone. If a person feels that you display sincere empathy towards them- there is not much you couldn’t persuade them of. Sounds easy enough right? That’s why we hold millions of focus groups- to understand our consumers’ feelings, ideas and situation.
Well there is one more secret ingredient that unlocks the sincerity of your empathy. And that is listening. See, the problem with us humans is that we are rather self-centered. And that means we hear what we want to and conclude – usually too early – what is the most compelling manner in which to communicate with others.
This behaviour is very apparent in brand management.
If brands are to become highly persuasive – then they need to learn how to sincerely listen to their consumers. Listen so well, that they even hear what she/he is not saying.Read more
The biggest event of the year, the Loeries, has come and gone. Albeit tongue in cheek, it takes a very arrogant industry to refer to their annual awards as the “biggest event of the year” in a year where we all know what the real big event was. And let’s be honest, there was not a lot that was spectacular or big about this years awards. Cape Town failed to create a festival atmosphere. The Good Hope Centre proved yet again to be a far from perfect venue. The ceremonies were long and boring. The work that was awarded failed to inspire, in most instances.
The work that did inspire was not advertising or even communications. The design of Soccer City and the World Cup closing ceremony were truly deserving of Grand Prixs and I have to admit that my visits to the BA slow lounge count among the highlights of my week. These are so much more than just communication – they are truly inspirational experiences that have captured imaginations, made a difference to people, the country and maybe even the world.
In comparison the advertising felt bland, boring, average. Not all of it – there were some lovely pieces of work (Topsy Foundation, Arrive Alive, Chicken Licken) amid some of the scam (Masterlocks?) but to be honest most of it was just more of the same.
Rather than patting themselves on the back with 3 days of booze and drug fueled hedonism, is it not time that the advertising industry took a long hard look at itself? Rather than celebrating mediocrity how can they use the Loeries to challenge themselves, promote thought leadership & encourage healthy debate?
The Design Industry have got it right with the Design Indaba & maybe that’s why they are walking away with all the memorable Grand Prix’s?
Head of OIL, Cape Town
I was recently asked to write something for our global network on “the impact of the world cup on underground culture in South Africa” the truth is, that like the cacophonous sound of the Vuvuzela – there has been nothing underground about this World Cup for South Africa.
The slogan for this world cup has been “feel it, it is here” and we have felt it! We have lived it, breathed it, danced it & trumpeted it out on our Vuvuzelas. From the day of the opening ceremony, where we were all woken up at 5am to the sound of Vuvuzela’s we have done little else but ‘feel it”.
For me there are three reasons why this World Cup has been so incredibly omnipresent and all consuming:
Firstly, we had a lot to prove. 16 years after the rainbow nation was founded, the shine was becoming a little lackluster. With leadership unable to step in to Mandela’s big shoes, a flailing economy, corruption, crime, the Malema effect & stories of racism rearing its head once again – South Africa was no longer the world’s darling. The World Cup has been our opportunity to prove that we do belong in the premier cup of nations. So we flew our flags, filled the stadiums & fanparks, embraced the football, welcomed the tourists, tweeted like madmen & even managed to get the sun to shine. When Bafana Bafana went out – the message was clear: victory is not in us winning the World Cup, but in hosting the most successful World Cup ever.
Secondly, we are great at doing the extraordinary (just not so good at the ordinary): If there is a big enough challenge we will rise to it. We are great at pulling off the seemingly impossible, when the odds are stacked against us - like a peaceful transition to democracy. We are a nation of stubborn, optimistic and ridiculously proud people who when a task is so big it is likely to scare off most nations, are able to put our differences aside, band together & rise to the occasion. For some reason when the task is more mundane, we allow our petty differences to get in the way.
Lastly, the underground sport has finally become mainstream: Whilst football is played by more South Africans than any other sport, it has always been a pour cousin to rugby and cricket. This World Cup has changed that. South Africans have got behind the national team & the game in a way that surprised even us. People who had never sat though a whole game in their lives have become fanatical & followed the beautiful game with a fervor that would likely startle even the most hardcore Brazilian fans. Invitus is a fake, this is the true South African victory.
At the beginning of this world cup, my cynical Irish journalist boyfriend said to me, “don’t think you can build the world cup on a Vuvuzela” but by gosh, I think we just did: albeit loud, brash & in your face.