I had a terrible dream last night.
The world was gripped by a virus and it had spread and meant everyone was locked away in their homes for three weeks.
I woke up and realised that it wasn’t a nightmare for me.
I have a roof over my head, a warm blanket, running water, electricity and a fridge and cupboard full of food.
But for millions of South Africans, this nightmare is only beginning.
My horrifying belief is that the effects of this virus will ultimately end up causing more deaths in South Africa than the virus itself. People will starve. I am worried about my fellow countrymen, women and especially children.
I am scared that those that live from hand to mouth are going to be forced to rise up when survival mode kicks in. To loot, to steal, to rob, not because they are criminals. We would all resort to that.
Imagine you had a starving 2 year old or a 92 year old grandmother, living with you. Imagine you were desperate. What would you do?
3 Full days into the 21 days (at minimum of shutdown)
What is Government doing to avoid that this anarchically state doesn’t become a reality?
My utmost respect to President Ramaphosa and the government as to how they have taken decisive action. We have learnt from the experiences and the mistakes of countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and Spain have made. It has been truly encouraging how our government took this on board with open minds.
However, South Africa is in a relatively unique situation of economic disparity. My big concern is who is responsible for and undertaking the feeding of our people during this time? Normally the Department of Basic Education is responsibility? But what is happening during the schools shutdown?
What are the retailers and banks doing to make a difference?
Through working with retailers, banks and other brands, I know that during normal times, there are great corporate social responsibility programs. Businesses do amazing things for our countries needy.
I can only imagine the meetings happening over Zoom… about marketing angles to rally up brand affinity, reacting to shortening the delivery times and speeding up the supply chain to high demand items such as sanitisers and toilet rolls. I do of course understand that this is critical to running your business efficiently in this retail environment.
I commend our retailers and banks on your normal efforts, but these are not normal times, it requires different actions.
What are individuals doing to make a difference?
I have been added to a WhatsApp group of about 100+ incredible South Africans. That include NGO’s, charities, school principals and individuals who are mobilising to assist. Right now children are going hungry. The schools are shut and so is the National School Feeding Program. This dramatically effects the kids who rely on their one meal a day, and some are simply not even getting that.
Ordinary South Africans with resources are doing much to help and assist. While these initiatives are doing great things, there millions that will go hungry, that this won’t reach. We are all doing our best and must continue, but without government support it’s like putting a plaster on a burst pipe.
People who normally get a weekly wage and work to live, will quickly run out of money. What happens after that when they can’t work and feed themselves and their families?
This is where my dream of last night runs the risk of becoming a nightmare, it is my belief that the consequences of this virus due to starvation could ultimately end up causing more deaths in South Africa than the virus itself.
We have a role to play in reducing and minimising starvation.
I run a marketing agency that started an initiative 12 days ago, called “cans with purpose” We have raised over R100k to assist Afrika Tikkun feed over 9000 Children and their families. We have an ambitious target of reaching R1million in donations during this shutdown. To donate please visit www.superiate.com for EFT and snapscan details that goes directly to Afrika Tikkun.
We are also calling on any retailers or banks still open. We want to use your locations as donation points when they visit to shop or bank. Ordinary South African’s can donate canned goods and we will facilitate a school principal in the area to collect and distribute. The schools are closed, but the principals have orphans to take care of and also know the most needy households in their communities. But we need retailers and bank who are open to open their doors to us and also need minimal budget to cover our costs. Please feel free to contact me directly on email@example.com
I was asked by a client, "How should we 'talk' to the youth?" The short answer; "To talk to the youth, you need to understand the youth mindset." But it got me thinking and looking for answers, for my own agency, brand strategies, and campaigns for clients.
This particular client is looking to establish their brand in the minds of the “teenager”, a high school kid in South Africa.
Over the past few weeks, in building their brand strategy, I’ve been discussing this animal, called the teenager with some friends, colleagues, clients and industry leaders and asking them for their input.
No fear of failing
One thing I’ve noticed in teenagers is a huge amount of confidence. They exude confidence. No fear of failing. When they do fail, they pick themselves up and try again. In my days, I was generally scared to try things. My world was small. Some friends, my school and some access to the world via TV and my Dad’s Sunday newspaper. Their world is open and full of opportunity.
They have likely accessed more information in their 18 or so years, than most of us 30 year-old-pluses have in our lifetime.
This confidence makes them brave. Like a teenager, I’m brave enough to admit I don’t have the answers and that the best advice comes from experts.
These experts gave me their input. I’ve weaved that into some of the insights I’ve gathered. In a lot of our agencies activation's, we get to talk face to face with the target market, the actual high school learner.
That forms the basis of this insight into youth marketing and the media and consumption of this target market we older marketers don’t seem to understand.
I’ll break it down into the simplest form. My 5 S’s. Quotes from some youth, coupled with some insights from some “in the know”
1. Social –
“You can’t email me because I don’t have an email address. We see emails like you guys see fax machines. I’ll find you if I like you.” Jon, 15 years old, Cape Town.
“Youth advertising has changed rapidly in the past few years due to technological advances and the youths’ access to the internet. Some key communication is often lost when speaking to the youth via mobile as your message is a swipe away from being redundant to them. Face-to-face advertising is an amazing “old-school” medium that is uninterrupted, direct and very personal.” Phumi Masango, media strategist, Carat.
2. Simple –
“Don’t overcomplicate things. We don’t have time for complicated messaging, just get straight to the point!” Jett, 16 years old, Johannesburg.
“To connect with the youth of today it is important to be authentic as a brand, keep your messaging personal and relevant, and most of all - keep it simple to not waste people’s precious time because they don’t have much to spare!” Ashleigh Melvill. brand activation manager, Adidas Emerging Markets.
3. Speak –
“Talk to me in my language. English is fine, but don’t adult talk me, I’m a teenager and that’s a whole different language” Phylis, 16 years old, Pretoria.
“If we (youth) don’t like it, if it makes us uncomfortable, then it is probably on-trend. Culturally relevant marketing are changes and movements away from established thinking. Not always just reinterpretation thereof. “ Phil Venter, “Titles are what old people aspire to. Lame” (But also the founder of www.snow.africa).
OK, if your attention span is like mine, I’ve broken this up into 3 sets of quotes and then the rest to follow. Take a 2-minute break; get distracted by a new WhatsApp…
OK, welcome back…
Middle-aged marketing directors and agency strategic minds need to understand this teenager in order to resonate with them.
I can feel safe knowing that no teenager is likely to read this article.
Generally, their attention span is limited to 300 words max. A YouTube video by a vlogger should be maximum 10 minutes and an “advert” shouldn’t exceed 60-90 seconds or they will be lost… possibly forever.
A lot of online publications have adopted a method of showcasing the amount of time it will take to read particular articles, even at 40 years old I’m more likely to read a 2 or 3-minute article than anything over 4 or 5 minutes.
We are dealing with a generation who converse in “newspaper headlines.” Short, simple bursts of words and nothing more than 280 characters!
OK, back to the S’s
4. Swag –
“I create my personal brand by the brands I wear and use, the brands I accept into my life define my personality.” Betty, 17 years old, Durban.
“With always-on social media, they see themselves as brands. So what equity does your brand bring to my personal brand?” Luke Jedeikin, founder of Superbalist.
5. Society –
“Don’t tell me what to buy, show me what your brand does for my community and Society. If you aren’t authentically for me and my community, you don’t exist.” Sipho, 16 years old, Soweto.
“Younger generations are having a greater impact on society than ever before. Powered by digital communication - their ability to affect societal, political and cultural change is unprecedented. Blanket communication approaches relying on traditional tactics WILL fail.
Specialised tactics and bespoke solutions will be the only way to win with this audience.” Mike Silver, founder, Elevator Agency.
6. Superiate -
Superiate is a boutique marketing consultancy and project management agency designed to exceed, surpass, surmount and overcome targeted communication challenges. Superiate’s specialist youth marketing initiatives connect brands with young people quite simply – by building brand loyalty and showcasing brand power and affinity.
Say Howzit at firstname.lastname@example.org