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The Sun Always Shines on TV – or does it?


Remember those cheesy cereal ads where the sunshine rose from behind the clouds to reveal a smiley face surrounded by bright yellow rays. Everyone had sterling white teeth, kids had spotless clothes and no one got annoyed at the perky rooster even after his fourth call. I think the margarine ads used this sunshiny lifestyle theme too. Well, I thought I’d remind you of that because I was reminded of it recently.

Most things change constantly
I’ve paid attention to South African ads – in tv media in particular, for the last twenty-something years. Like everyone else, I remember the irritating mislaid housewife with her thick Afrikaans accent saying “Morkels. Yor too yer gerrr-uhn-tee stor.” I’ve tried to do it linguistic justice here. If you know the ad and you’re wincing right now, then I’ve been successful. I remember the rookie pilot VW Golf ad – man, it was cool, goose bump stuff when he was tossed his wings with a knowing look. Then there’s the Wimpy ad range from high-tops and mid-rif tops to the latest Wimpi played out to Johnny Clegg’s “Impi” with revised lyrics. It’s so easy to capture the South African essence if you hit the right note. And don’t forget Nando’s. I still believe they have the best creative marketing team around. Lastly, my kiddies favourites are Redro “I call everyfing I love Wedwo” and Jungle Oats’ sports stars “believe in yourself, never give up, and always finish your Jungle Oats.”

The quality’s all there and still being produced. As is the garbage. We have a newer phase of junk in the mobile subscription services and I don’t even want to go there. They’re awful and unimaginative; that’s all. I’ve remembered them though, so haven’t they achieved their goal, then? “Makes you think, doesn’t it”.

Advertising’s become somewhat imaginative in its delivery too so we’re bombarded with it from pamphlets, search engine ads, social pages, radio, tv and even tagged onto the end of some text messages. We can’t escape it although recently, through more shrewd use of demographics and cookie monitoring etc, we’re at least getting to see less of what we’re not interested in. So we’re afforded a breather in information overload… for now.

None of this is news to you but I’ll get to my point in a bit. For all the information at our fingertips, we’ve become more concentric in our lives. More focused on what matters, we realise life doesn’t have to be complicated with all this meaningless noise and we can choose to say no. Advertisers in SA, beware. Consumers are building up resistance. Consumers, in efforts to avoid that extra bit if information that we don’t need or want, don’t forget to un-huddle over the steering wheel to look up to the sky every now and then for that cheesy ray of light. In case you’ve ignored the outside for a while, here’s a reminder of what you missed this week.

But some true things are thankfully still the same
I was on the road one morning and I swear there was a crack in the ceiling. It was pretty early so those driving to work were probably still bleary-eyed and I’m not sure if they’d notice how the sun was rising that day. The sky was pretty grey over suburbia and even the harbour. But above the concrete cityscape some gold foil peaked over the top edge of a cotton wool cloud. It was a koki-pen (remember those?!) line – thin and behind that, were those cheesy rays. The retired tv star (pun definitely intended) showed its extensions as rays seeped out and upwards.

What an awesome sight. It’s one of those you know won’t last long and you don’t even wish for your camera because it just wouldn’t translate as a picture. I ran on. I didn’t stay to watch how that scene evolved into a weekday. The image is burned in my mind as it was that morning.

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Categories: Advertising, Life, Marketing