FNB/ANC debacle memorised as Absa launches campaign

Following the debacle around FNB’s “You can help” campaign, it should be considered dangerous for commercial entities to venture into coached reality type television and at that claim to be projecting “human truths”.

As such Absa’s “Human Spirit” advertising campaign which was launched yesterday will be closely watched. In this venture Absa claims that its campaign was undertaken “with the objective of reflecting a sense of realness and authenticity…”

As one observer puts it on the social web pages this can be slippery ground. “The fundamental issue in the FNB thingy is that you have marketers, corporate mercenaries really, little Goebels, masquerading as experts in the art of representing social generalities when we all know that their primary mandate was to couch a message to sooth a commercial brand and the underlying interests thereof.  Continues the observer “… it (the FNB campaign) is dangerous in purporting to be somehow scientific/neutral/objective”.

But then the Absa campaign seems to have been carefully designed not venture into the overtly political. We hereby present to you an Absa statement, explaining the rationale behind the campaign so that you can be the judge of an unfettered message.

Absa Statement

South Africans will be inspired to dig a little deeper and push a little harder to achieve their dreams after watching Absa’s new goose bump-inducing television commercials for its latest sponsorship campaign.

Absa is currently the team sponsor of the Springboks and Bafana Bafana; the title sponsor of the Absa Currie Cup, Absa Premiership and the world’s toughest mountain biking race, the Absa Cape Epic; and sponsor of the L’Atelier art competition and Absa KKNK. But more than just sponsoring a team or an event, through these initiatives Absa sponsors and enables something much more meaningful – the human spirit.

This is the essence of Absa’s new campaign, which harnesses the collective strength of its powerful sponsorship portfolio, drives an emotional connection with fans and demonstrates that these sponsorships are about something much deeper.

Colleen Jackson, Absa General Manager of Brand, said: “We’re so excited about this new campaign. It’s really emotive and talks to the point that the human spirit is not just for heroes, it’s something that’s inside all of us and that gives us the strength to push on. It inspires greatness and shows us what we can become. This goes to the heart of our sponsorships, which really bring the Absa brand alive.”

Lynn Naude, General Manager, Absa Sponsorships and Events, says this overriding sentiment goes beyond sport and the arts. “The human spirit is central to the way Absa does business. The idea is for us to be an inspiration to others, to be a motivation and to encourage people to excel. That’s something we strive for day-in and day-out as an organisation – to help people achieve their ambitions.”

Tom Cullinan, Executive Creative Director at The Jupiter Drawing Room (Jhb), said: “The challenge was to find a single thread that linked Absa’s sponsorship properties. In the end, the solution lay in a simple human truth”.

The flagship of the campaign is a 60-second TVC shot by world-renowned director, Keith Rose, across several locations in the Western Cape. With the objective of reflecting a sense of realness and authenticity, it was critical that real South Africans were used in the ad that, in their own special way, each embodied the human spirit. After an extensive search in the communities, where the ad was filmed, a fresh-faced group of youngsters that had never been in front of a camera before was assembled.

The ad cuts between the stories of four children with big aspirations, and shows how key interactions in their daily lives drive them to keep pursuing their dreams, knowing that tomorrow will be conquered.

One is a young boy who dreams of being a professional rugby player, and of lifting the 120-year-old Absa Currie Cup and running out in the green and gold. After a chance encounter with a few of his Springbok idols, it all seems more achievable.

We also meet a young girl who may one day be an artist – her visit to a gallery sows a seed and we see her how her creativity is inspired.

A third is an aspiring soccer player who wants to play on the professional stage for a PSL team and eventually, his nation. Soccer permeates his everyday life and in following his dream he takes to the streets and makes the city his training field, showing that if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to do it no matter what.

The Absa Cape Epic – a gruelling eight-day mountain bike race that is in it a testament to the resilience of the human spirit – has a significant economic and social impact on the communities through which it passes.

In the ad we meet two young children who, after watching the competitors of the Epic riding through their village, to create their own race with the vision of crossing the finishing line victorious. .

A 60-metre wall mural depicting riders of the Absa Cape Epic was painted in the small community of Salt River especially for the ad. It was created by three artists over three days and will remain in the community as a constant reminder of the power of the human spirit.

All the individual stories of the children involved in the advert as well as behind-the-scenes footage can be accessed via a web link.

news@ujuh.co.za

 

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