Monday, January 25, 2021

Botswana, here comes “Attack Advertising!”

There was recently a huge billboard by Nandos Chicken about 500 meters past the four-way intersection at NOKIA house towards the Bus rank.

The writing on the board went thus, “Oil was meant for your car and not for chicken”.
It has now been changed to read, “Looking for a guilt free take away, CBD Nandos 2.8 Km”.

By following the 2.8 km direction, the potential customer is led to find their desired or advertized product at the Nandos in the Central Business District (CBD) area.
The same sort of contest also manifested itself a few weeks ago along Nelson Mandela Road, a short distance towards Metro Wholesalers in Broadhurst, also involving Nandos and another company selling beef, with words intended to promote beef.

“You must begin to think outside the chicken,” whereas the Nandos one attacked beef.
In an attempt to understand the real motivation behind this contest between the brands, and whether it is legal, the Sunday Standard Lifestyle set out to interview one of the passionate advertising agents around.

Cliff Madamombe, Chief Operations Officer of Native Impressions, pointed out that in the world of advertising, as in other non advertising business where players compete for the same target market, brand fighting should help stimulate competition, which is a healthy element of business.
“Beyond the writing on the bill boards, brands can compete for the same target market by lowering their prices or providing after work service with a view to attracting more customers for their product,” said Madamombe.

He explained that the form of advertising where brands through billboards such as was the case with KFC and Nandos seem to be at each other’s throat was called “Attack” advertising.
He indicated that attack advertising is more prominent in political circles.
However, he expressed the view that partly due to the size of the Botswana market, “Attack” Advertising was not as prevalent as in advanced economies.

“Where it exists even as in the case of Nandos versus KFC, the ideal situation is that it must be interactive and spur the players as well as the target market into a responsive behavior,” he said.
Examples given of this form of advertising at international level included Microsoft and Apple.
Microsoft had started a campaign saying, “Where are you going tomorrow?”

Apple then slapped a new one thus, “Where are you going today?” and, to make matters worse, the two went further by proliferating their message through their respective websites.
In another instance, three airliners befuddled customers when they each hung adverts that clearly projected the contest in very plain terms.

One read, “We have changed,” another said “We have not changed, we’re still the smartest way to fly” while the other, as if to make mockery of the rest, flew a prominent and hard hitting, “We made them change.”

The decision of Kentucky Fried Chicken to shorten its name and make it KFC, reportedly to silence the oil in the chicken, was cited by another Advertising Expert as a sign of responsiveness, as well as introducing some greens into their meals.

In terms of legislation governing or regulating the conduct of advertising agencies, it emerged that there is no law in Botswana, and therefore no monitoring of the types of adverts that are hung in the streets, especially attack advertising.

“However, even if there were a law dealing with attack advertising there would be very little activity to do, so much that if there are any cases they would still perhaps fit in malicious defamation, for which already there is provision,” concluded Madamombe.

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