How Does Cinema Advertising Compare With TV Advertising?

Whilst both are visual electronic advertising mediums, they don’t really compare – not in terms of reach anyway.

Whereas Television advertising is mass media, reaching millions, cinema advertising is more niched and its reach is limited.

That said, cinema advertising has a lot going for it, and as an ad agency, I’ll often look at incorporating it into a media schedule where there is a product/target audience fit. It’s clear that the advertising medium appeals to many marketers, judging from the number and types of advertisers currently flighting ads on cinema screens around the nation. Advertisers include the large national advertisers as well as small advertisers and hence, its appeal spans the divide.

In my opinion, the strengths of cinema as an advertising medium are the fact that it allows for:


It’s also cost-effective and affordable, and comes in far cheaper than TV advertising which, is by and large, expensive.

Television advertising is a national medium, reaching millions of people whereas cinema advertising lends itself more to geographical targeting.

Irrespective of the product being advertised, TV advertising will always have “wastage” – where a percentage of people will not, and will likely never be, interested in your product or service. Whilst this is the case, though, people talk. So whilst someone will have no interest in your product, he or she may know someone who may be – and may well choose to tell that person. The importance of “Word of mouth” can never be underestimated in terms of advertising. People will always be more open to making a purchase if a friend or family member has made a recommendation.

Whilst this is true of both TV advertising and cinema advertising, cinema advertising has less wastage as advertisers can better target their advertising. In terms of targeting, an advertiser with a limited advertising budget could decide which cinemas to advertise in and which not to advertise in. So if, for example, you run a plumbing supplies business in Boksburg, you could advertise in cinemas in only the Boksburg area. Or you could choose a number of cinemas in adjoining areas so as to reach a wider audience. This is a huge advantage as it means that you won’t be advertising in places where your target market is too geographically distant to take advantage of your products or service, and you won’t be wasting money unnecessarily.

Besides deciding on cinema location, the cinema advertiser could also select particular cinema releases. This is important. As Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro will always make a big splash about forthcoming releases they consider to be “blockbusters”, you’ll have the time to plan your campaign. By booking your ad in the cinemas of your choice, and before a movie that you know will be well attended, you’ll be in a good place.

Ster-Kinekor or Nu Metro will promote the movie with a view to getting bums on seats, and so long as you have an ad that “talks” to those there for the movie, you’ll be positioned to capitalise. You must have a decent commercial to flight though.

There are a number of really good advertising agencies in South Africa as well as a number of really good TV producers who could produce a quality cinema ad for you, and the costs do not have to exorbitant. Whilst a quality TV commercial could set you back R650 000 (and upwards), a cinema ad could be produced for a lot less – depending on the concept, storyboard, location and number of actors.

Unless you’re an established marketer with an unlimited budget for production, there are a number of ways to keep your cinema ad production costs down:

Have it produced in-house (there are a number of talented people about who could help you with this)
Call in a freelance TV producer
Get in a good freelance copywriter and art director (a Google search will likely bring up a few)
Insist on a simple storyboard (requiring no actors, or maybe one at the most)
Consider simple animation or pack shots with titles
Source library music (and avoid well-known soundtracks)

Do your homework and you could probably get a decent cinema ad shot for R150 000 to R180 000 excluding VAT.

Once you have a cinema commercial produced, you’ll need to have a media planner compile you a media schedule which will show you when, where and how many times your commercial will air or flight. If you have an ad agency, they’ll be able to put this together for you. (If you don’t, I could put you in contact with someone).

Advertising on the big screen ticks a number of boxes in my opinion – although it’s product-dependant ie a chocolate bar or new energy drink would lend itself to being advertised on cinema whereas a new brand of cement might not be.

If your target market is children, parents of children, or people aged 34 or less, advertising in cinema is worthy of consideration. Especially when you consider that you have a captive audience that will be receptive to your message – and focused on your message. (Something that can’t be guaranteed with TV advertising).

Also in cinema advertising’s favour is that, as an advertiser, you could bolster your advertising on-screen by, for example, give-aways, leaflets or other promotional items in cinema foyers. (It’s difficult to do this with TV advertising).

At the end of the day, cinema advertising and TV advertising are both excellent advertising mediums, with the former probably more suited to smaller companies with smaller advertising budgets looking for local penetration and television advertising more suited to companies with larger advertising budgets, looking for a national reach.

Billboard Advertising and Outdoor Advertising. One and the same?

advertising billboardWhilst those within the advertising industry would know the difference between “billboard advertising” and “outdoor advertising”, some marketers may not – judging from the volume of enquiries I receive for eg billboards when what they are looking for are street pole posters, or maxi posters.

So, a quick explanation:

Billboards are generally the free-standing boards you see on the sides of freeways or on main roads in suburban areas. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in portrait or landscape-formats. Of all the outdoor media-types, these type of billboards are normally the most expensive (together with building wraps) and can range from around R20 000 per month to around R70 000 a month – depending on their geographical location, and how many people would see, or pass by, the billboard in question in any month. In addition, there would a reproduction cost for printing the artwork, which would be a once-off cost, ranging from about R15 000 and upwards.

Billboards could be in the form of static billboards and digital billboards; the difference between them being that on a static board, only one advertising message could be shown at a time, whereas on a digital billboard, a number of ads could be shown one after the other. Digital billboards are becoming more and more popular as they are generally cheaper to flight, the messages can be changed quickly and the creative can be “walked” around a pre-determined area, so as to reach more people in different locales.

Outdoor advertising is a more encompassing term than billboard advertising and includes all outdoor advertising types – ranging from billboards, maxi posters, mini posters and street pole posters to building wraps, signage at taxi ranks, dustbin advertising, trailer advertising and bus shelter advertising.

Of these, the most expensive are building wraps where a side of an entire building can be branded if need be. Not only can this be impactful, it can be incredibly costly and can generally only be afforded by large marketers with expansive ad budgets. (Typically, companies in the banking, insurance, telecommunications and liquor industries).

Maxi-posters are also popular and are to be found between the north-bound and south-bound lanes of major freeways. These are extremely effective, so long as the creative messaging is kept simple and eye-catching. The rule of thumb here is to communicate the USP (Unique Selling Proposition). There’s no point in having a poster with a long headline that a motorist travelling at speed would have no chance of absorbing.

But this is true of all outdoor. You have to keep things simple, and understandable. Eye-catching is also good.

Take street pole posters. Generally put up in series of three or four, if the message is complicated, you’ll lose most motorists and your advertising money will be money down the drain. Street pole posters are cost-effective and hence popular with advertisers with limited advertising budgets. Anyone with R15 000 to R20 000 available could probably afford a series of street pole posters (depending of course on what an ad agency or design studio might for charge for the creative concept and design) although that said, one would normally get a better result by having more than one row of street pole posters.

Then there are mini-posters. Like street pole posters, they can work well. But their success is largely dependent on the creative.

In general, outdoor advertising is incredibly popular with marketers and probably always will be.

Many marketers will look at billboards in conjunction with radio advertising and as a strategy, this makes a lot of sense in a country like South Africa.

As with all advertising, however, billboard or outdoor advertising needs to be approached strategically and professionally and the process typically commences with identifying your target markets and researching their media consumption habits. There are ad agencies and media agencies specialising in outdoor advertising who can crunch the numbers. More than this, they could give you current outdoor availability in a specific area, provide reproduction and rental costings and recommend and purchase space on your behalf. Simplifying the outdoor or billboard advertising process as a result.

Whichever the outdoor advertising type, there will always be three costs:

The cost that an advertising agency will charge you to conceptualise the advertising message and supply artwork

The cost that the media owner will charge you to print the artwork

The cost that the media owner will charge you to flight your advertising per month 

If you ever need help in this area, I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Radio Advertising. It’s Good When It’s Good But Bad When It’s Bad.

Having just spent the better part of the day in a recording studio, producing a series of commercials promoting a new brand of basmati rice, I got into a conversation with a sound engineer regarding the state of radio advertising in this country.

What we agreed was that in a country like South Africa, where radio is the one of the largest advertising mediums, the standard of radio advertising is generally poor.

That’s not to say there aren’t some very good radio commercials produced here: there are. But in the main, they lack imagination, are uninspiring and generally come up short in the “believability” stakes ie they’re unbelievable, in the negative sense.

Which is a pity, as the medium lends itself to creativity and is often described as “theatre of the mind.That’s not to say that writing good radio is easy. It’s not. But there are a couple of pointers to good radio advertising to my mind.

(The following are for copywriters working in ad agencies. Also to clients who like to write their own scripts!!!).

Write a decent script. Use your imagination. And let the listener decide how good your product or service is.
In other words, stay away from words like “simply the best” because that is not only boastful – it’s arrogant, and it’s only your opinion after all.

Stay away from “hard sell” if you can.
People don’t like to be sold things. Far better to tell them what you have, and let them make the decision as to whether it’s a product or service that they want, or need.

Provide reasons to purchase
People buy benefits more than they buy products.
Explain why a certain product or service will be of benefit to them.

Use believable voices.
Some of the voice deliveries I hear in radio commercials are unbelievable in the extreme. (As in, unbelievably unbelievable). There’s no credibility at all. Write in the way people speak.

Talk to your target market in their language.

In other words, don’t talk beneath them. And don’t talk above them. Talk TO them, In language they understand. And can relate to.

Use different voices.
So many voices I hear on radio ads today are the same. As in same old, same old. There are tons of decent voice over artistes out there, but it seems that copywriters have their favourites and use them over and over again, promoting a variety of products and services. Be imaginative. Try and use different voice overs where you can. And please, stay away from the ditzy blonde or the typical Jewish “kugel” type of delivery as they are very tired. Also, please only use American accents if there is a seriously good reason to do so. (The fact that you’re in love with all things American or have just returned from “Nu Yoik” are hardly reasons).

In the radio commercials I produced yesterday (and which are on my website, I requested voices that had never been heard on radio before. With careful direction, they worked out well. The people I used had likely never been into a recording studio before, but they enjoyed it – and made some money out of it to boot. I even used my own voice, and I’m by no means a professional voice over.

Radio advertising done well can work wonders for your brand – whereas bad advertising can kill your brand, or seriously damage it.

There are many instances where bad advertising does more damage than good and my feeling has always been, if you’re going to advertise, do it professionally or not at all. There is nothing worse than putting out cringe-worthy advertising. Your brand deserves better. And so does your reception as a copywriter – or radio-writing client/marketer.

Advertising on radio is expensive (especially if you’re looking to advertise on mainstream radio stations like 702, Highveld, 5FM, Metro, SAFM and Jacaranda). Also remember that bad radio advertising costs the same as good radio advertising, so why produce – or settle for – the former?

It just doesn’t make sense to do so.

If you’re planning on producing or flighting a radio ad (and you don’t have an ad agency), either commission an experienced freelance copywriter to script and produce your radio commercial for you, and if you’re a copywriter, try to push the boundaries and explore radio as an advertising medium to the fullest. It’s a great medium and there are always ways to be more creative and more engaging with your audience.

Finally, if it’s a product that’s hard to be creative with, there’s always the tried and trusted route of live reads, where you get a radio announcer to read your script. It may cost more, but you’ll at least create the perception of the announcer endorsing your brand, even though you’ll be paying him (or her) to do so.

Online Advertising vs TV Advertising vs Newspaper Advertising vs Outdoor Advertising vs Radio Advertising vs ???

Online marketing is the way to go for the marketer with a small ad budget

With tough economic times having been with us for quite a few years, and with things likely remaining tough for the foreseeable future, advertisers need to ensure that their advertising works as hard as it can.

As an advertising person running his own agency, and having been in the advertising industry 29 years, I am often  asked called into brainstorming marketing sessions and asked for my thoughts as to an “advertising way forward”.

Whilst experience dictates that the building blocks must be present before going to market (read, logo, corporate  identity and website in the case of start-up businesses), “gut feel” is often not enough to go on these days.

The media landscape is forever changing, and it’s changing faster than anyone could have imagined. So much so  that even experienced advertising-types are battling to keep up. Whereas in the past one could look at a brief and think “TV advertising” or “Radio Advertising”, today, things are not as clear-cut.

Fortunately, there are now analytical tools, data, forecasts and research available that can remove much of the guesswork and help marketers arrive at better decisions. That said, the following excerpt from a Pricewaterhouse Coopers article throws up some interesting facts that may (or may not) reinforce your existing beliefs, or raise an eyebrow or two.

Revenue generated through advertising will increase by R18 billion between 2013 and 2018, with the fastest-growing segment – online advertising – showing double-digit growth as a result of the substantial increase in Internet access over the period.

Online advertising’s anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7% will be driven by search and mobile advertising, with Google propelling the South African search market. This will grow digital to a 10% share of adspend by 2018.

Mobile advertising will be driven by an increase in smartphone penetration and the increasing number of South Africans who are becoming mobile internet subscribers is forecast to rise from 15 million in 2013 to 35.2 million in 2018.

Display advertising will grow at a CAGR of 18.8%, driven principally by the second most visited site, Facebook, while video advertising will grow substantially from a low base of R2 million in 2013 to R9 million in 2018, as broadband speeds gradually improve and internet access widens.

The second-fastest growing advertising segment is video gaming, albeit from a low base of R29 million which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% to reach R60 million in 2018. This growth will be inextricably linked to the number of video gamers who play online, as video game advertising’s main asset is its ability to target users based on their playing behaviour while online.

Radio advertising, the third-fastest growing segment, will enjoy a healthy CAGR of 8.2% thanks to radio still being widely consumed throughout South Africa.

TV advertising remains comfortably the largest South African advertising sector. It will grow at a CAGR of 6.8% over the forecast period, reaching a projected R18.4 billion in 2018. This growth will be driven by more competition and larger broadcasting audiences, as television continues to have the largest reach of any media format. A growing middle class with greater disposable income will lead to a rise in pay-TV households.

Magazine and newspaper total advertising revenues will show growth of 4.0% and 6.0% respectively, and in both cases, the advertising spend from printed editions will consume the overwhelming majority of total advertising revenues. Who said print was dead?

Printed newspaper advertising growth can be attributed to locally distributed, free newspapers which build strong connections between consumers and brands, while print magazine advertising will be driven by niche magazines covering topics like home improvement. Digital advertising in both instances is still in its infancy, but will see a double-digit CAGR over the forecast period.

OOH (Out of Home media) maintains its ground, with growth over five years forecast at 5.9%

A compound annual growth rate of 7% across all segments is a fortunate position to be in.

Despite dramatic growth of the Internet, traditional advertising media will prevail. The likes of television and radio revenues are still guaranteeing the kind of captive mass audiences that online cannot yet offer.

The tipping point from traditional media to digital media remains a long way off in South Africa, atleast in terms of revenue. Advertisers would do well to focus on the digital consumer, who may well have greater disposable income, but for the time-being, traditional media will constitute the majority of revenues”

Having read this, it’s clear that whilst online (digital) marketing is important in the media mix, it’s certainly not the only game in town: something I’ve believed for a long time. Conventional media, such as TV advertising, radio advertising, outdoor advertising and newspaper and magazine advertising are still big, and will be big for some time still.

In meetings with clients, I tend to find that the younger the client, the more adverse he or she is to advertising in “mainstream” media, whereas the older (and probably more conservative) the client, the more adverse he or she is to advertising online or participating in social media.
This is of course understandable. If you’re not on facebook or don’t “do” twitter, you’ll likely not want to advertise on them. And if you don’t watch TV, you’ll assume that not many others watch either. As a result, you’ll shun TV advertising.

This is of course problematic. As responsible marketers or advertisers, with responsibility for our brands, it requires of us, less subjectivity and more objectivity. By analysing data, by seeking out articles like the one above and by being guided by people who study media consumption for a living (rather than being swayed by our own personal perceptions and beliefs), we can do justice to our available marketing budgets and spend our advertising monies wisely.

What’s important is that we fish where the fish are. Not where we’d like them to be. We need to establish which media is consumed by our target markets, and when. Once we have a clear picture on this, we can then plan our advertising campaigns. Whilst gut-feel will always be important, gut-feel backed by research and armed with knowledge and foresight will serve you better.

By requesting the involvement of an experienced media strategist or media planner, you’ll be better positioned to see whether TV advertising might be more suitable than radio advertising. Whether outdoor advertising might be more cost-effective than newspaper or magazine advertising. Whether you should shun all of the aforementioned in favour of a digital marketing campaign. Or whether a multi-media campaign encompassing all media might be the optimal approach.

It’s all about arming yourself with knowledge, with a view to minimising risk and maximising the effectiveness of your next advertising campaign. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction if you like.

What Can An Advertiser Do on a Small Advertising Budget?

As a small advertising agency, many of my recent enquiries are coming from small or medium sized-companies with small advertising budgets. Probably not surprising, due to tough trading conditions, in which budgets are under pressure, and my positioning in the market as This country’s smallest advertising agency (in which I’m often – erroneously – perceived as This country’s cheapest ad agency). And it’s not that I mind receiving these enquiries.

Rather, it makes me question whether a limited marketing budget of, say R30 000 per month, is actually sufficient in this day and age.

Prior to the advent of social media and the effectiveness of online marketing, a budget of this size would have been problematic – for the simple reason that conventional advertising media would have required a significantly more substantial investment to make them work.

One has only to look at the costs of TV advertising, radio advertising, print advertising or outdoor advertising these days. They’re not for the faint-hearted.

Unless a marketer has a budget of at least R1 million to spend on TV advertising, it’s probably not a medium worth considering (unless the marketer has a cheap TV commercial in mind – one that could be produced in studio – and intends only a short burst of airing the commercial).

Radio advertising? Expensive if one intends advertising on morning or afternoon drive time, but less so if not. One could probably get away with an advertising spend of R100 000-R150 000 dependent on station choice and duration of a radio campaign.

Advertising in newspapers or magazines? Also expensive, unless you have a small black and white ad in mind, or you’re looking to advertise in a Caxton paper or a trade journal.

Outdoor advertising can also be costly, especially if you’d like to advertise on a freeway or at an airport. Building wraps are also extremely costly. Whereas street pole posters and other forms of outdoor advertising are less so.

Limited advertising budgets are often difficult to work with, but for my money, I would in nearly all cases recommend an online marketing approach, in which one’s target market(s) are driven to a website through:

Google Adwords
Social Media

That said, the effectiveness and success of an online marketing campaign is often dependent on the website itself. Today, one’s website needs to talk to one’s target audience. It needs to, at a glance, tell people what you’re about. First impressions count. Your website needs to stand out, be liked, be easily navigable, be built correctly and be professionally optimised for search engines.

(With “professionally” being the key word here: too many so-called online marketers today think they know about optimisation but ending up doing an average job. Far rather, get someone who understands optimisation and specialises in the field).

Once your website has been professionally optimised for search engines and has had the aforementioned boxes ticked, a Google Adwords campaign should be looked at. (Unless you know what you’re doing, get a professional in to set it up and manage it for you).

Regular blogging is also important. As is remarketing. As is social media (if done correctly). But these will be dealt with in upcoming blog posts.

The most important thing with online marketing is get someone who knows what they’re doing in to do it for you. Unless you’re really clue-d up in this area, it’s best to seek outside help. Done correctly, an online marketing campaign can do wonders for the bottom-line and a business with a limited advertising budget should look at one as a first port-of-call.

I work with some of the best online marketers in the industry. I could put you onto them if need be.

Smart Media Technology’s New YOBSN Is The Bee’s Knees

YOBSN, short for Your Own Branded Social Network, will likely not mean much to you at this point as it was only released this week. But in time, it will get known, and most likely, sooner rather than later. The reason? It’s clever, and things that are clever invariably get talked about.

YOBSN is a default home page. But more than this, it’s a default home page that offers value.

Combining the three biggest aspects of the internet (advertising, social media and gaming), YOBSN provides the best of the internet on one page. With multiple search engines, more than 2000 educational videos, free software, free games and the most popular websites in the world, it has more than enough for any internet user.

Add to this the fact that the platform for the first time ever rewards internet users for doing what they normally do on the internet (be it spending time on You Tube, Facebook or LinkedIn, studying or playing games) and one can see why YOBSN could so very easily go viral. And quickly. After all, where have you ever heard of being rewarded for using the internet, and at no cost? The very idea is ludicrous, but now a reality.

(Rewards come in the form of physical products like cameras, ipods and laptops, by the way – making YOBSN the world’s first FREE loyalty program).

What’s in it for the advertiser though? Plenty. An advertiser can, through YOBSN, get his or her branding in front of free users of the platform whenever they log onto the internet. This is a world first. It’s also prime advertising property.

Putting this into perspective: you are on my database. I, as a marketer, send you a link offering you the opportunity to make YOBSN your default home page. I explain that it’s free. I show you how it can reward you for doing what you normally do on the internet. I tell you that you can now find everything you need on the internet on just one page. I also tell you that YOBSN is a totally secure platform and that there are no risks whatsoever to you installing the page. You agree to having YOBSN as your default home page. After all, it’s free. There is no cost to you whatsoever. Only benefits.

I, as the marketer, can now design my YOBSN in such a way that it appeals to you. I can get my branding in front of you whenever you go onto the internet. This may be ten times a day. It may be fifty times a day. Then, at the click of a button, I can change my messaging. Upload videos. Or blog my thoughts. Knowing that you will see them when you next log on.

It’s awesome stuff. And it would cost you a once-off payment of $400 to achieve this. In marketing terms, that’s a pittance. And affordable to even the smallest advertiser.

At the end of the day, YOBSN is a win-win for both free users and small businesses. Regardless of where in the world you are. The product is already being touted as the next facebook, although time will tell.

What I can tell you is that there is a LOT of excitement around Smart Media’s YOBSN right now, and this can only grow as awareness of the platform grows.

To be a free user of the YOBSN platform, go to or

Alternatively, visit

And for more information about the YOBSN opportunity for marketers, and the advertising packages available, go to

It’s interesting stuff and worth looking into if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner with a database and a small and limited marketing budget.

Smart Media Technology’s Home Page Pays. Now Smart Media Technology’s YOBSN.

Those who may have heard of Home Page Pays (there are probably not a lot considering that there only around a million people users at this time, which whilst impressive for a start-up brand, is not excessive in global terms) will more than likely not have heard of YOBSN.

So what is YOBSN exactly?

Standing for “Your Own Branded Social Network”, YOBSN is a default internet home page that could in time be the next facebook. Why so? Because it offers so much more. Essentially, YOBSN brings together the best of the internet on one page: multiple search engines (Google and Yahoo included), competitions, free software, free games, free educational videos, the best sites on the internet, social has it all.

But what really differentiates YOBSN is the points it gives users for doing what they normally do on the internet. As these points are given free, people will now be rewarded for their normal internet usage – which is a concept quite revolutionary.

But what to do with these points? Go into the Smart Points store and redeem them for whatever takes your fancy. Need a camera? An ipod? A laptop? They’re all in the smart points store, and yours free, so long as you have enough points.

Cynics would ask how any company could afford to incentive the use of the internet, and this is perfectly understandable. The answer is advertising. A good 70% of all advertising monies on YOBSN will go towards rewarding users.

At this point, most products currently in the smart points store are American but as YOBSN spreads around the world, it’s likely that products from other countries will be included. For example, in South Africa (where YOBSN is starting to show good growth), it’s quite probable that the likes of Vodacom, MTN, 8ta or Cell C will want to have their products and services included – whilst it would also make sense for SANRAL to have its anticipated (and dreaded) toll-fees redeemable for smart points.

Then there’s Eskom. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to redeem your smart points for pre-paid electricity, just for spending time on eg facebook, Youtube or LinkedIn? There are I’m sure many online merchants who would be interested in having their products included.

Whilst I am of course not privy to Smart Media Technology’s intentions, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that at some point discussions would commence with providers such as these. It would certainly make sense to have the smart points store stocking as wide a range of products as possible as there will be countless people joining from countries around the globe redeeming their points and the costs of distributing these products will no doubt become an issue. (Far rather to have the products available in the countries in which there are users).

It’s not a stretch to proclaim YOBSN as the world’s first FREE loyalty program, and it’s a game-breaker. After all, right now, no-one is being rewarded for using the internet. From tomorrow, you can be. Given this, it is expected that millions of people around the world will within the next few months and years be loading YOBSN as their default home page. And through the spread of word of mouth, those millions will grow to tens of millions and quite likely hundreds of millions.

And when you get to those kinds of figures, you start to attract the attention of advertisers (there are a number onboard already).
The fact is, YOBSN – or more correctly, its predecessor Home Page Pays – has shown faster growth than Facebook and it’s likely that many who are currently on facebook will migrate to this new platform – bringing their friends and fans with them – and building their own communities in the process .

After all, if you have a choice between being rewarded for using the internet and not being rewarded for using the internet, and it doesn’t cost you anything, there’s not much of a decision to be made, is there? Especially as YOBSN is a 100% secure online platform and there is no risk of viruses or malware by installing it on your computer. It works with Google Chrome, Internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox and most other systems.

To become a free user of the YOBSN platform, go to



Would You Google “Johannesburg Ad Agency” Or Would You Yahoo “Johannesburg Ad Agency”?

I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of anyone “yahoo-ing” anything. Not “ad agency” not “advertising agency”, not “Johannesburg ad agency”, not “marketing consultant Johannesburg” and not “cat or dog”. Why? Because Google has become synonymous with “search” whilst “Yahoo” and all the other search engines have become after-thoughts. Of course, this is great for Google, which continues to sweep in the money but not so good for Yahoo and other search engines who are forever playing catch-up.

No wonder then that not so long ago the head of Yahoo issued an instruction for Yahoo staff to return to base as it were and resume working from its offices – as opposed to them working from home, their beach houses or the nearest Starbucks. Will it make a difference? Well, it may start to engender more of a close knit community at the company but Yahoo has fallen so far behind that it will take a lot – and a long time – for the company to make up lost ground.

After all, after having grown accustomed to using Google to search for things on the internet for quite some time, would you suddenly switch to using Yahoo? I don’t think too many people would. Unless of course, there was some sort of value-add that Yahoo could introduce to entice us.

The real point of this article, though, is to highlight the importance of attaining a dominant position for your brand, such as Google has. There are of course other examples of brand dominance, of which Tippex, Hoover and Xerox are three.

Take Tippex. As I write this, I cannot think of a competing brand – although I’m sure there are a few. What happened to them? If they’re around, they’re certainly not upper-mind. This being the case, should I ever need to “tippex” something, guess which brand I would reach for.

Take Hoover. If you’re an American, you’ll “hoover” your carpets. The brand has over the years become synonymous with “sweep”. This is powerful stuff. How does a competitor even begin to compete?

Then there’s Xerox. Maybe not so much here in South Africa, but in the US, people “Xerox” documents. “Xerox” is the generic name for “copy”. The brand is a dominant brand. Competing brands, of which there are many in this sector, have it all to do.

Another dominant brand is FedEx. In many countries, FedEx is a trusted and household name synonymous with “courier”. The brand’s positioning statement of “When you absolutely positively have it to get it there overnight” resonated with people and today, many people would not even think of calling a competitor when needing to courier a parcel.

So what does it take to become a dominant brand? Essentially consistent marketing, resulting in word of mouth. The process can take years – decades even – and requires an advertising commitment that encompasses all the major advertising mediums ie TV, radio, outdoor, print and online. A commitment to ongoing PR is also required.

To get to a stage of dominance, one would ultimately need to get people:

*noticing your brand
*liking your brand
*buying your brand
*becoming ambassadors for your brand

If you can successfully get people to like your brand and trust your brand, they will likely endorse your brand and in so doing, become brand ambassadors – spreading the word to family and friends. The importance of word of mouth cannot be over-emphasised.

Again, take Google. Way back when it was just another search engine. People started talking about Google. Today, do you know anyone who doesn’t Google?

Nando’s Directional Sign – Street Pole Posters Successful Pointers

Nando’s advertising is well-respected and well-known. Normally for stirring controversy. But between its TV ads, which invariably succeed in getting the brand on the front pages of newspapers, and its radio commercials and newspaper ads are street pole posters which drive traffic to its outlets.

In a discussion I had recently with someone who works on the Nandos advertising account, the street pole posters seem to be working well. Not at all clever or controversial (unusual for this often off-the-wall marketer), they are achieving their objective which is to point motorists to the nearest outlet and to get them to purchase.

From a marketing point of view, they also point to how a brand that is witty and irreverent can have TV, radio and print as its flagship mediums raising laughs and street pole posters doing the business of driving traffic to its stores.

At the end of the day, Nandos is in the business of making money and clearly not in it for the controversy it stirs in the marketplace, or the smiles and sniggers it puts on people’s faces. There is only one place it can make money and that is by getting people into its stores, of which there are now hundreds around South Africa in practically every shopping centre and on every second street corner.

Because they are seen by motorists everywhere, street pole posters are a perfect fit for this marketing-led company. More so because it’s an advertising medium that lends itself to creativity, it’s also one that’s cost-effective. Marketers wanting to get their brand “out there” and who don’t have marketing budgets that make television advertising, radio advertising or magazine possible find that advertising on street pole posters fits the bill in more ways than one.

(Depending on the geographical location, one could advertise on a street pole poster for around R1 200 per month. So a series of three or four posters, run consecutively, would set you back less than R5 000 excluding VAT which is a pittance in advertising terms. (Note that this a rental cost only. You would still need to budget to have the posters conceptualised and designed). Nando’s have street pole posters all over the place however so the costs can start to run away with you if you’re advertising on a national basis.

Just out of interest: a visit to the company’s new website shows an impressive number of countries in which it is now represented, giving proof to the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns. Readers may be surprised to learn that Nandos now has outlets in Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, Cyprus, Fiji, India, Ireland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Swaziland, UAE, UK, USA and Zimbabwe… making it a truly global brand.

As an advertising agency, I’m often asked to produce “nandos-type advertising”. Clearly, it’s the sort of advertising that resonates with a lot of people. So hats off to its marketing department and ad agency Black River FC who has really set the benchmark for this genre of advertising.

Clearly, humorous and topical advertising has its place – and I’m all for it (where appropriate of course). In the meantime, here’s an idea for a street pole poster campaign that Nandos (or indeed one of its competitors) may like to consider.

“You’re warm. You’re warmer. You’re hot. Now you’re hot, hot, hot” with the first poster furthest from a Nandos outlet and the last poster closest to it.

Just an idea, but maybe one worth considering the closer one gets to winter?

Smart Media Technology’s Home Page Pays

Those who are “into” the internet will be interested to know that Smart Media Technologies’ new flagship product Home Page Pays already has in excess of a million free users around the world – and it hasn’t been launched yet.

(Talk has it that the global launch is at best two months away, so it’s literally around the corner).

Whilst a figure of one million users is a drop in the ocean, consider that this has been achieved solely through word-of-mouth..much like how facebook started. In time, this will grow to tens of millions and hundreds of millions. Why? Because people can now get rewarded for doing what they normally do on the internet. At no cost to them.

After attending a recent presentation in Johannesburg by Grant Shuttleworth (brother to Mark) and ex-South African cricketing legend Clive Rice (both highly successful businessmen in their own right), one thing stood out: the potential posed by this innovative and extremely clever product. In Clive’s words, “People in this room have no idea how big this will be” – and that from a person who introduced fax2email to South Africa…

So what exactly is Home Page Pays?

Essentially, it’s a default home page from which a user goes onto the internet via multiple search engines (Google included). The page is a lot more than this though: it has more than two thousand educational videos, free games, free software etc . Essentially, HPP – as it is called – has the best of the internet on one page. But here’s the kicker, and why it has the potential to be one of the biggest things going.

For the first time ever, people will now be rewarded for whatever they normally do on the internet – at absolutely no cost to them. Put simply, surf different websites via HPP and you’ll be rewarded. Go onto facebook via HPP and you’ll be rewarded. Purchase goods on line via HPP and you’ll be rewarded. Play games via HPP and you’ll be rewarded.

Rewards come in the form of smart points which can be redeemed in the HPP smart points store. Have enough points and redeem them for an ipod. ipad. Laptop.Whatever you want. FREE. As more and business partners come onboard (negotiations are in progress), expect to be able to redeem your smart points for airtime, electricity, speeding fines etc.

What HPP is is the world’s first free loyalty program. But it’s a lot more than this. It’s also a marketer’s dream.

By giving the page to a database, a marketer can now brand people’s browsers whenever they go onto the internet – something that up to now has not been possible. If you consider that a person may go onto the internet, twenty, fifty or a hundred times a day, it means that he or she will see a company’s branding, twenty, fifty or a hundred times a day. It’s just subtly there. It doesn’t pop up, it doesn’t annoy, it’s unobtrusive.

Would the free user mind the branding on his or her browser? Unlikely. As he (or she) is being rewarded with smart points for doing what he (or she) normally does on the internet, having a marketing message sitting harmlessly at the bottom left of the computer screen will not be an issue.

At the end of the day, Smart Media’s Home Page Pays ticks the boxes from both the marketer’s and free user’s point of view. That said, it’s surely a matter of time before its current one million users grows to a far larger number. Whilst Home Page Pays is today relatively unknown, in a year or two, it may be as well known as watch this space.

In the meantime, anyone interested in becoming a free user of the Home Page Pays system can go to

(Users should not be afraid of installing HPP as their default home page – the CEO of Smart Media Technologies, David Martin, has a long background in banking security software in the US and there is absolutely zero risk of it infecting your computer with viruses, spam or spyware.