BP: SA United – Cafe Owners vs. Mamas
SA United Wins Creative Circle Ad Of The Year
Last night at The Venue in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, Bouffant director Erik Van Wyk’s BP SA United campaign for Ogilvy Johannesburg was named Creative Circle Ad of the Year.
This is the second time that Bouffant has won the award since the production company’s inception three years ago. In 2007 Bouffant won for Dean Blumberg’s Ubuntu spot for Ford through JWT Johannesburg.
Creative Circle is a South African advertising collective, which aims to promote creativity as a business resource and to raise standards in advertising. Creative Circle is best known for its monthly awards, where members judge the television, print and radio commercials coming out of South Africa and award the best.
The creative director on the project, Ogilvy’s Jonathan Beggs, had worked previously with Erik on Coca-Cola Brrr. He says the message underlying the SA United campaign is nation building. “BP’s strategic platform is all about going ‘beyond,’ pushing progress. As a key sponsor for the World Cup, we wanted to use football as a way of connecting with South Africans in a meaningful, emotive way, but we also wanted to do something that was differentiated from the flag-waving clutter, something that underlined BP’s commitment to human progress. BP has long been involved in soccer in South Africa, and for a brand that it is all about progress, it was only natural for them to look beyond 2010, to the event’s legacy.”
The football matches in the commercials cast South African stereotypes on opposing teams. While there is humour used, it’s not over the top or offensive, which is what Jonathan believes gives the commercials their charm.
The ads are favourites among South Africans, but Jonathan says international reactions were not as favourable. “While we were developing the commercial, we had quite a few raised eyebrows from brand custodians from across the world. Were we going to alienate people? Were we encouraging unsafe driving habits by featuring wayward taxi drivers? Why are all the mama’s ‘large’? But we were confident that South Africans would take the humour in the right way – and they did. This campaign has been wildly popular right across the board, which really is the holy grail for advertising folk.”
The ads helped secure one of Ogilvy’s most impressive Loerie winning streaks yet, bagging a Gold in the TV Advertising category.
SA United is eligible for Cannes Lions this year, where Jonathan thinks their chances are 50/50. He says, “Will it translate to other markets? Well, it was made specifically using South African characters and ‘tribes’ so that it would resonate with South Africans. Having said that, it has travelled around the world, and people know enough about our country to at least enjoy some of the jokes, the fresh look of the commercial and the underlying message. We’ve been delighted with the response it has received so far.”