How’s Hollard’s advertising?

hollardAs someone who’s been in advertising a long time, and as a copywriter who considers himself to be reasonably creative, I take an active interest in the advertising put out into the South African market. One client’s advertising has caught my attention as of late.

That of Hollard Insurance.

For a company that has run some really nice work in the past, it’s advertising has gone south of late. In my opinion, anyway.

It’s not so much bad advertising as it’s boring advertising. It’s tired, devoid of creativity. Yes it gets its point across, but…

And then, it’s billboard headlined something along the lines of “Hollard. For people who are perfect and for those who are imperfectly perfect” featuring some guy with bizarre headgear on the R59 near Alberton takes the cake. Whilst a number of Hollard’s billboards elsewhere are OK (meaning decidedly average), the one mentioned is just silly.

This is not to say that the advertising of insurance products is easy. It’s not. But it should not be juvenile like the company’s Alberton board..

There is enough insurance advertising out in the market for most economically-active South Africans to know what insurance is, and to understand the need to have their property and possessions insured. (Especially in a country like South Africa where crime is an everyday reality). The goal is to produce advertising in this sector that stands out and communicates the product benefit succinctly: in a manner that is understood and acted upon.

Whilst the objective of the billboard in question is clearly to communicate that Hollard’s insurance is for everyone (something I get) surely there is something in the company’s s cover that is different and able to be expanded upon?
In short, there must be some sort of value-add. Something that could make the advertising catch the attention in a positive way?

Advertising is all about promoting a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). If a product or service doesn’t have a USP, then how about a perceived USP?

This particular billboard communicates nothing in the way of a unique selling proposition. Worse, it puts Hollard’s hand up in the air and says “I don’t have anything interesting to say, and there’s nothing that makes Hollard different, but please bear us in mind for any insurance cover you might need as we are here for all South Africans, not matter how perfect or imperfect you might be”

Harsh? Maybe. But knowing how much billboards on freeways cost these days – anything from 30K to 80K per month – it’s frustrating seeing good money spent on bad advertising.

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing of projects. Based in Johannesburg, he runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He can be reached on 083 444 9888 or