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South Africa Getting Ads From the Masses

The country is running a contest where anyone can create a tourism ad for the country. And South Africa sees this is as a major win-win.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010
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These days it’s all about getting your customers to speak for you. It’s a trend that is seen most vividly through social media, but it’s becoming a lynchpin in the advertising community, too. More and more brands are relying on their most fervent supporters to create and develop advertising campaigns.

Take the Super Bowl and Doritos, for example. The nacho chip maker let its fans create ads in exchange for cash prizes and an opportunity to have their work shown to the biggest television audience of the year. Doritos saved a fortune – they didn’t have to produce multi-million dollar ads -- while simultaneously sticking to one of marketing’s most important tenants: engaging and creating fervent customers.

Now the tourism industry is catching on. And South Africa is looking to better brand its country through the imminent arrival of the globe’s most popular sporting event – the World Cup. With the eyes of the world set to descend on this country in just 65 days, the nation has launched an online contest called “Get Wildly Creative About South Africa”. Meant to be a significant component of a new national branding initiative, the country hopes to use this as a way to define and shape South Africa’s image throughout the world.

“This is obviously a big defining year for the country relative to its financial investment and hosting the FIFA,” said Donovan Neale-May, President of the country’s CMO Council. “We basically initiated a new area of study on geo branding all about how countries, destinations, attractions, venues and places and organizations can cut through the clutter.”

Neale-May said countries or regions are associated with a definable product that helps create a mystique in the consumer’s eye…think New Zealand lamb or Burgundy wine. The contest, he hopes, will create dynamic content while simultaneously generate curiosity about South Africa.

“This project is aimed at moving the needle perceptually and embracing the world in defining and shaping the image of a country globally. The viral nature of this should be quite powerful and it’s more credible because the final ads aren’t being cooked up by an expensive ad agency. The ads are being created with people with real knowledge, affinity and exposure to South Africa or they have [diligently] done their homework,” said Neale-May.

The Get Wildly Creative About South Africa ad contest is being hosted on Zooppa.com – a user-driven advertising platform that the Chief Marketing Officer Council member hopes will leverage viral communications, online conversations, blog postings and cyber chatter to generate interest and participation in this branding program.

Basically, the contest, according to Neale-May, is seeking participants to produce fresh and evocative messages about a country that has radically changed during the last 20 years. No longer is South Africa the poster child for what’s wrong with the human condition. Instead, Neale-May said, the country is an “incredibly vibrant community that is truly diverse.”

“People don’t understand the quality of life and attitude of the people here, as well as the spectacular natural surroundings. South Africa is a dynamic growing place where people have lots of opportunities they never had before. It’s a very harmonious melting pot and it never ceases to amaze me how much the country has evolved to the degree in which it has,” he said.

The contest is offering cash and prizes, including trip packages for the top submissions within each category, including Best Print Campaign, Best Online Banner Campaign, and Best Video Segment or Commercial. These will be donated by SA Tourism, in-country partners, and creative technology solution providers. Winning entrants will have their work showcased globally to the CMO Council’s 5,000 members - who control more than $150 billion in annual marketing spend - and recognized at a special IMC-hosted reception in New York City, the world’s media center and creative hub.

“We’re looking for inspired messaging and out-of-the-box advertising executions that capture and convey the essence, attributes and qualities of Brand South Africa,” noted Neale-May.

In all, South Africa expects 26 billion television viewers during the course of the FIFA World Cup and he expects these ads to delight and entice folks to visit the country. They’ve also commissioned a study that will help the country analyze the prevalence, tonality and sentiment of news outlets covering the World Cup toward South Africa, as well as the 30 million or so blogs, social networks, bulletin board, news forums, etc., to see how the country is perceived during and after the event.

“We want to find out the degree to which people are getting galvanized and excited about expressing their views of how the South Africa brand should be communicated to the world,” he said.
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