Chabad is an excellent organisation with a good heart, there for South Africa’s Jewish community and to foster more involvement amongst its members, but I believe one of two elements of its outdoor advertising “kosher” campaign are
a tad misplaced – in that some of its billboards are oddly positioned.
With the Jewish population in Johannesburg largely spread over the North Eastern suburbs of Glenhazel, Sydenham, Sandringham, Orange Grove, Fellside, Houghton, Highlands North, Norwood, Orchards, Gardens, Melrose North and Oaklands, and to a lesser extent, the northern suburbs of Gallo Manor and Sandton, I would have thought that its billboards should have been concentrated in these areas – to the exclusion of any other areas.
And yet, driving north along Rivonia Road this morning – in Rivonia – and north of Sandton, I see a Chabad billboard urging people to keep kosher and wear tefillin.
Now, whilst not privy to how many Jewish households there are in Rivonia, I would guesstimate that there are very few and further, that a good 90% motorists passing this billboard each day would have no interest in keeping kosher (simply because they’re not Jewish) and would have no idea as to what tefilin are (for the same reason).
So, a bad site for a billboard in my opinion.
If a billboard on Rivonia Road was free (or donated), I’d say great – go wild. But billboard advertising in Johannesburg is not free, and by no means cheap.
The billboard in question probably costs in the region of R20-30 000 a month to flight, which is by no means an insignificant amount. In my opinion, this money would have been better allocated to online marketing in the form of either running a Facebook campaign or a video (or series of videos) on You Tube. Or by sending out newsletters to members of the South African Jewish community. Or by blogging. Or remarketing.
I also have a question mark over the street pole posters in the Marlboro area – even though it’s possible that some members of the Jewish community might work in the area and drive past the boards on occasion.
The issue is one of wastage. Far too many people not of the Jewish faith would see the advertising and have no interest in the advertising. So why advertise to them?
Better, to my mind, would be to focus on the low hanging fruit ie the people in the predominantly Jewish areas of Johannesburg who might be inclined to go to shul once in a while and to participate in Jewish affairs to a degree. It is these people who would be more inclined to “go kosher” or “lay tefilin”.
That said, as billboards or street pole posters, Chabad’s outdoor advertising works. And hats off to the organisation for the initiative. I just feel that the campaign should be more geographically-focused so as to reach the target market more effectively.
Rivonia and Marlboro, to my mind, are suburbs too far.
And then, just a general comment regarding outdoor advertising: I’m a great believer in billboard advertising and street pole advertising working with other advertising types so as to increase the chances of success. So it would be interesting to see what other advertising media Chabad are using, or looking to use. These days, online marketing and social media – used correctly – can work extremely well and besides being effective, are extremely cost-effective.
If Chabad wants to see results, where more members of the Jewish community decide to “go kosher” and “wear tefillin” they’d do well to commit to a medium-term campaign, using a multi-pronged marketing approach.
Also to come up with advertising that stands out and gets talked about.
The current billboard and street pole campaign may raise awareness in the short term but I feel that it needs to be upped a notch, and to be a bit more “creative” in execution.
First things first though: the Rivonia billboard should go, and consideration should be given to removing the Marlboro street poles.
Unless I’m missing a trick, of course, and there’s a strategic reason for them being there..which I guess is possible.