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  • khulumamedia 5:58 pm on November 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    H2O – The Clearwater Solution for Cross Media Management 

    During the course of this past week I was fortunate to attend and participate in the asiConferences International Radio & Audio and Television & Video (RATV) virtual event. As always it’s encouraging to be reminded that, when it comes to audience measurement, the challenges we face in South Africa are not unique.

    As is often the case with a media conference, RATV offered a feast of terminology and acronyms. A lexicon of mediaspeak from AVOD to XMM. Detail enough to satiate the appetite of the most ardent media enthusiast.

    From a drone perspective, however, it is clear that the future of audience measurement lies in delivering against 3 critical parameters. What we might call the Clearwater Solution or the H2O paradigm.

    Hybrid. Holistic. Outcomes.

    In short, the media industry needs Hybrid research methodologies to collectively align and create a more Holistic and inclusive understanding of media-consumption behaviour, so that the new media metrics will go beyond quantitative audience measurement and offer Outcomes orientated insights for both buy-side and sell-side media attribution modelling.

    This is what is increasingly being referred to by advertisers globally as the “North Star” outcome. A fixed point around which all media audience measurement can navigate.

    Much of this orientation and energy is derived from the recently updated World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) framework Establishing Principles for a new approach to Cross-Media Measurement.

    Both ANA (Association of National Advertisers – North America) and ISBA (Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) have been developing their own cross media measurement initiatives in tandem with WFA and have been key partners in this programme.

    The North Star Solution sets out to create a media framework where advertisers will be able to “plan holistically and benchmark efficiency and effectiveness” at a global level whilst at the same time recognizing that all measurement solutions are local and should not be globally enforced. So the WFA framework focuses on the development of industry-agreed principles and frameworks which “local markets can adopt and adapt when ready, with a view to introducing some global consistency”.

    Of course, in the spirit of this metaphor, perhaps what South African advertisers, broadcasters and publishers need to be focusing on is the Southern Cross outcome rather than the North Star.

    The 8 pillars of a Southern Cross outcome in South Africa are

    1. Full lifecycle – Unduplicated cross-media reach & frequency by publisher, media and platform
    2. Continuous – Continuous measurement which is sustainable in a post-cookie media landscape
    3. Comprehensive – Inclusive of all advertising formats
    4. Full-funnel – Going beyond quantitative audiences measures to address attribution
    5. Privacy-safe – Building measurement services that protect consumer privacy while delivering buy-side and sell-side functionality
    6. Fair and objective metrics –  Commonly understood, comparable & equitable definitions of ad-impressions
    7. Trust and transparency – Enabled through audits and 3rd party verification
    8. Advertising & content specific – Priority should be on media exposure that is either advertising specific or capable of carrying advertising

    Quixotic as these aspirations may appear, in South Africa I firmly believe that the local media industry needs to embrace the alignment of our various local media audience measurement initiatives with this global perspective.

    Ultimately all streams flow into the river and all rivers flow into the ocean. I’ve said it many times. For whales there is only one ocean and for consumers there is only one campaign.

    We need to make that the common starting point for a true Clearwater Solution for media in Mznasi.

  • khulumamedia 6:07 pm on August 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Jou Ma se Bad Language 

    Can you Adam and Eve it. Just when you thought the world couldn’t get more silly. The Guardian reports today that in England, Premiership rugby will resume on Friday. Without fans of course, so the games will be played in silence and referees will penalize bad language.

    Referees will penalize bad language!

    On a rugby field nogal. Eish!

    Firstly, how the hell can you play rugby in silence? The farting in the scrums alone would reverberate across the empty echoing crags like a bloody Alpine horn. I’d be amazed if Heidi herself didn’t traipse onto the stadium with an entire trip of goats in tow.

    Believe it or not “trip” is the correct collective noun for goats. And nasty rancid little creatures they are for sure. Interestingly enough, “trip” also happens to be the collective noun for a group of English rugby players trying to tackle Cheslin Kolbe. If we all observed social distancing etiquette the way Owen Farrell did in the RWC final, the #Covid19 crisis would be over within the week.

    Thank heavens it’s happening in London and not AAMI Park in Melbourne because heaven forfend that Heidi appear on the field without a mask. She’d have the living daylights smashed out of her by the Melbourne Community Police.

    Having said all that, the goat’s instinctive tendency to headbutt offensive competitors does seem to equip them admirably for the game of rugby. Or at least the game of rugby when it was still a hooligans game played by gentlemen.

    Now it seems rugby is to become a polite game played by softly spoken gentlemen because now we come the really important issue of bad language.

    Now bad language, I would argue, is as integral to the game of rugby as grunting is to women’s tennis. Whilst I do understand and indeed value the importance of winning a game of rugby, in my opinion this should never come at the expense of a well-placed verbal stiff arm tackle.

    How will this be Bad Language be played out by referees?

    A penalty for using the F-bomb?

    A yellow card for suggesting that the opposing ball monkey might be a little light in the jockstrap department. FFS half the bloody scrumhalves in the world will be sent to the bench in the first 5 minutes.

    A straight red card for calling the opposition hooker a big fat (place correct rugby term here) when he takes a tight head? I mean, what are you supposed to say to the opposing hooker when the ball monkey puts the ball in skew.

    “After you old chap”!

    “No” he retorts “after you. Strike away. I insist”.

    And it’s not as if you can vloek in Afrikaans and still get away with it either. Now that South Africa has been kicked out of Southern Hemisphere rugby for the crime of  depriving The All Blacks of their Divine Right to be world champions, everyone is heading north and in all likelihood half the English Premiership players will end up coming from Paarl Gymnasium or Grey College.

    Hell, when you lift your head out the ruck, only to see the flyhalf kicking the ball away for the fifth time in a row, you wouldn’t even dare reference Marelize.

    I’m with Sir. Clive Woodward on this one. When it was suggested in 2003 that England might not be the most pleasing side in the world to watch, he replied “We’re here to win the World Cup. If you want entertainment go watch Torvill & Dean”.

    Jou ma se bad language. Saints preserve us from silly people in rugby.

  • khulumamedia 5:10 pm on April 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    NOT THE LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No3 Part 2 – Walking the tightrope. A trilogy in four parts 

    Date: Another day in April

    In a recent series of articles, Clem Sunter has outlined four scenarios for post-Lockdown South Africa. Much ado about nothing. The camel’s straw. Spain again. Tightrope.  LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN 4 SCENARIOS

    clem sunter

    When it comes to the first scenario, Much ado about nothing, with the exception of a few Trump supporters and one or two 5G conspiracy theorists, most people have abandoned this scenario. Actually, on reflection, Trump supporters and 5G conspiracy theorists are probably the same people.

    To this point, earlier this week I had the pleasure of chatting with the digital oracle himself, Arthur Goldstuck on The Doc & Guru Podcast He shared something with me that’s worth remembering if you want to get closer to him on Facebook, or get him to follow you on Twitter. If you believe that the Earth is flat or that 5G caused Corona Virus, chances are that Mr. Goldstuck won’t be your friend. I have to say I’m with Arthur Goldstuck on this one, and to those remaining bittereinders out there, I raise my glass to you and say cheers.

    dunning kruger

    Reading through the scenarios mapped out by Clem Sunter, I get the feeling that they are more like a Douglas Adams trilogy in four parts, but it is the final scenario, Tightrope, which maps out the most likely path forward. Tightrope suggests that post-Lockdown survival will require a delicate balancing act between preserving both lives and livelihoods, and between short-term tactical responses and long term planning.

    Regarding the Tightrope scenario, Sunter suggests that this balancing act will be exceptionally difficult

    Implementation has to be a step-by-step process; and there will be wobbles along the way … As life begins to attain a new normal – it will never return to the old one – it will be up to businesses, families and individuals to walk the same tightrope in their daily activities. 

    In the advertising and media industry, we’re all roped together on the same tightrope, and, given the complete lack of leadership from government, seemingly with the lights switched off for good measure as well. So we need to make sure that nobody falls off because there’s no safety net, and if one goes, we all go.

    So why is it then that the voices are so silent? Where is the consolidated industry initiative to map a post-Covid19 route forward? Sunter says we will never return to the old normal. Another voice in the wilderness, Johann Rupert concurs, telling us in the April 9 edition of Financial Mail that “this isn’t just a pause — it’s an entire reset of our economic system”.

    We are at a watershed moment for the advertising and media industry in South Africa. Where are the captains of industry? I can’t for the life of me imagine a Bob Rightford or Hennie Klerck just sitting quietly on the sidelines and watching all this unravel. Where are the voices?

    Other than a few tweets here and there, the interminable cancelling and rescheduling of advertising awards, and the occasional link to an online article from Europe or North America, urging marketers to keep on advertising, has anybody actually heard anything from any of the primary industry bodies, either individually or collectively, to suggest that they are applying their minds to what happens in post-Lockdown South Africa?


    Where are the voices? Why is nobody speaking?

    Now is the perfect time to call for a major lekgotla, including all industry stakeholders and government, so that we can use this unique economic reboot opportunity to completely reconfigure the advertising industry. So we can ensure inclusivity and long-term sustainability for the industry. We need a viable publishing sector, whether print or audio, as a voice speaking truth to power. We need newspapers and we need community radio stations capable of communicating with everyone. We need grassroots empowerment, not boardroom posturing.

    Yesterday the government announced that some 70,000 additional SANDF troops will be deployed onto our streets, and that they might be there as late as 26th June. Basically, the entire army has been mobilised.

    One day, when I wake from this LockdownSA nightmare, I don’t want to segue into an even greater nightmare by finding out that those same 70,000 troops are still on the streets in post-Covid19 South Africa, and even more importantly, I don’t want to find out that we have no independent voice to hold them accountable for their actions.

    There have been many victims during this pandemic. And the free press may well be the biggest victim of all.   If you’re an advertiser, the best reason to continue advertising during Covid19 LockdownSA is to future proof our democracy. You want to protect your brand? First protect our economy by supporting the media and ensuring that we can continue to talk truth to power.

    If you’re a consumer, be a real hero Covid19 hero. Buy a newspaper next time you go shopping.

  • khulumamedia 3:42 pm on April 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    NOT THE LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No3 Part 1 – Where have all the voices gone? Long time passing. 

    Date: A day in April sometime.

    Fish and chips. Is there anything more quintessentially British than fish and chips wrapped in fresh newspaper? With the possible exception of warm beer, of course, but no sensible person likes warm beer. Mind you, I’d probably arm-wrestle my own granny for a warm beer right now, but that’s a different story.

    Of course another British institution in the 60s and 70s, portrayed in the 2009 movie The Boat that Rocked, was the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. Founded by Ronan O’Rahilly in 1964 and broadcasting from international waters, Radio Caroline was the lone voice challenging the combined might of the record companies and the BBC radio broadcasting monopoly. This week, founder, and arguably architect in chief of commercial pop radio as we have come to know it, Ronan O’Rahilly passed away. A remarkable voice silenced. RADIO CAROLINE LOSES IT’S VOICE

    radio caroline

    In South Africa in the 60s, we didn’t have Radio Caroline, but we did have LM Radio. Every bit a pirate radio station in it’s own right back in those days, and also a powerful voice during dark times. Some of South Africa’s greatest radio voices cut their teeth on LM Radio. John ‘Berksie’ Berks, Gary Edwards, Robin Alexander (Mev. Alexander’s se jongste en mooiste), David Gresham and Darryl Jooste (DJ the DJ) amongst them.  I spent many an illicit evening, with a transistor radio under the bedcovers, listening to Berksie and Ge’s Corner after lights out. Lekker lekker lex!

    Wonderful voices. Some now silent.

    In 1975 the voice of LM radio was itself silenced by the incoming liberation government, but it is once again broadcasting  on a streaming platform. You can still hear some of those iconic soundbites and you can still check your time by the LM chime.

    Back to the issue of fish and chips though, it seems that there might be a new threat to that staple of British cuisine. Now, you’re probably thinking Brexit or North Sea fishing rights. Something those pesky Europeans came up with. But no, it’s much closer to home, and much closer to media, than you might think.

    It seems that with the general decline in print-format reading, and the specific implications of C19 Lockdown, the Brits might not have enough newsprint to wrap their fish and chips in. Bottom line is that nobody is buying newspapers and nobody is advertising in them. All credit to Oliver Dowden, the British culture secretary, who this week appealed to the public to continue buying newspapers, amid fears that some publishers are on the brink of collapse. BE A HERO. BUY A PAPER

    independent uk


    Certainly some of the older publishing groups in South Africa must be on the brink of collapse. Just a cursory glance at the number of pages in the average daily or weekly newspaper, and the close to zero ad-revenues, would stand as evidence of that fact.

    On 26 March, Caxton announced to the industry that they would continue to print and distribute local newspapers for the duration of the initial lockdown, despite not being able to carry loose-inserts, their primary commercial platform. They appealed to advertisers to continue supporting the titles with main body ads. That support hasn’t materialised, and two days ago it was reported that Caxton would cease printing a number of free distribution newspapers for the foreseeable future.

    A lone voice in the wilderness he may be, but at least Mr. Dowden is having a go. I’m still waiting to hear from our minister of culture, Nathi Mthethwa regarding his plans for kick-starting the post-LockdownSA media sector. Of course it would be also nice to hear from our minister of communications about the plight of community radio and small independent content producers as well, but unfortunately she’s away on leave.

    Speaking about lone voices in the wilderness, I remember the first time I listened to Clem Sunter present, sometime in the 80s when he was just beginning to roll out the High Road – Low Road scenarios that would have such an influence on the political leadership of this country and, specifically, on our thinking as the team that ran the 1992 Referendum Campaign at Saatchi & Saatchi.

    I have only ever been truly afraid twice in my life. Once, as a long-haired university student in Durban when I had to play rugby against Railway Police. The second time was the day I first saw Clem Sunter approaching the podium with a wheelbarrow of overhead slides and the cautionary words “This presentation will take about four and a half hours”.

    Now, I know a thing or two about how to string out a media presentation myself, but four and half hours? As it transpires, it was one of the most enthralling mornings of my life and I have been something of a devotee since then.

    That’s the remarkable power of an informed and courageous voice. People will listen.

  • khulumamedia 11:47 am on April 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    NOT THE LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No2 – Nice one Cyril! 

    Saturday 19 April (or whatever day it is)

    Well, as you can imagine, now that our Cyril has confirmed the alcohol ban will be enforced for another two weeks, things are getting pretty tense out there. My initial reaction was Ag Pleez man we’re all adults just let us make our own decisions, and hence the little ditty below (sung to the tune of as they used to say in Mad Magazine)

    Ag Pleez Cyril, Won’t you let us buy a dop then

    Five, six, seven of us eight, nine, ten

    Just some Captain Morgan, Of miskien a bietjie Old Brown

    And when the opskop’s over you can lock us down again!

    And while you’re humming that old tune, wouldn’t it be nice if Willie Liebenberg did come back and donner that blerrie yankee. You know the one I’m talking about.


    Speaking of Mad Magazine, it was sad to see the passing this week of Mad Magazine icon Mort Drucker. For me growing up, and I suspect many other people of my age, Mad Magazine humour and Drucker cartoons were the gold standard for satirical comment on a crazy world. Sadly the crazy world still exists but the satire has been replaced by mono-syllabic Twitter vitriol, insults and expletives.


    Thinking about the booze ban, at the end of the day, against the broader canvas of life, another week or two without a glass of wine is neither here nor there. But it is really interesting to see that it is the Gauteng Liquor Forum that has been driving the Give Us Back Our Booze initiative, while it is the brewers and the distillers who are supporting the C19 ban and urging moderation. I think that’s what you call playing the long game.

    For my part, my 21-day game plan was working perfectly, but the 35-day game plan not so much. But to my delight, I have discovered that Devil’s Peak Hero to Zero and Heineken Zero are both readily available at my local supermarket. Or should I call that Heineken Double Zero? So I’ve stopped getting tense and I’m making like James Bond because this is No Time to Die and because, to my delight, Now you can. While working.


    I see that the former British Lions captain and current Chairman of World Rugby, Billy Beaumont is also getting a bit tense at the moment. Beaumont confirmed yesterday the possibility that there may well be no rugby union international played for the balance of 2020. NO RUGBY INTERNATIONALS IN 2020

    But our Billy is clearly struggling to come to terms with old age, and of course the fact that someone other than an Englishman might be capable of running world rugby. It’s bad enough that Twickenham might go the same route as Lord’s Cricket Ground, and that HQ might not be the centre of world rugby, but handing over the reins to an Argentinian (current Vice Chairman Agustín Pichot) is enough to make an Iron Lady turn. And we all know that the lady was not for turning.

    billy b

    Of course, when the British Lions toured in 1980 Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of Britain. At the time I was working for McCann Erickson in Port Elizabeth and I remember well going to the test match at Boet Erasmus. In my opinion, you’ve never been to a test match unless you’ve been to Boet Erasmus. It’s like Loftus, but without rules.

    Some things just don’t seem to change, because in 1980 we were also experiencing something of an alcohol ban. In 1980 you were not allowed to take alcohol into the rugby stadium and inspuitings were at the peak of their powers. For the youthful, and any England rugby supporters who might be reading this blog, an inspuiting is a naartjie with a stuiwe brandewyn injection, which, once you’d finished drinking it, could be used to express your displeasure at the referee.

    So you can well imagine how impressed I was by the oke sitting in front of us. He had a Tupperware container packed to the brim with sausage rolls. It was about 15 minutes into the game when he took out the first one, peeled off the crust, and revealed his secret. The missus had clearly replaced the traditional fillings with brandy miniatures.

    A sausage roll inspuiting. Brilliant.  I’ll bet that boytjie is sailing through LockdownSA.

    Sad that these traditions are no more. To be quite honest I think I’d still favour a few illicit naartjies, and a well-directed missile at the ref’s head, over drinking beer out of a plastic cup.

    Speaking of England rugby and poor refereeing, I can barely bring myself to watch this particular clip, but it will give you some idea why England is probably the most unpopular team in the world. You watch the clip and tell me what you think. OWEN HUMPTY DUMPTY FARRELL

     I think Humpty Dumpty has more movement in his arms than Owen Farrell.

    Of course next year the British Lions will tour South Africa again. After the disappointments of this year, it’s going to be a biggie. Hopefully by then, we’ll have an Argentinian referee. That should sort it out nicely.

    • DM 1:32 pm on April 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      With the number of undefeated teams in 2020, it will be great to see who lands on the top of the scrum in 21!

  • khulumamedia 2:38 pm on April 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply  


    We all have to face reality sooner or later. Even if that does hurt.

    (An Unofficial Response to the OMC)

    The problem with having a tantrum and throwing your toys out the cot is that sooner or later you have to go and pick them up. Unless of course you are lucky enough to have somebody else to do that for you.

    The OMC has indicated that it takes umbrage to an article called OOH, that hurts!

    The offending article asserts inter alia that

    So, with the shift in behaviour OOH media owners and research councils like the OMC need to quantify and qualify the value that it brings to advertisers, with a specific focus on actionable insights through real-time data. We must understand how we can track those shifts and trends to help advertisers make more informed buying decisions on OOH media going forward

    From a advertising and media planning perspective, it’s really hard to understand why advocating a focus on actionable insights through real-time data should give cause for offence. It’s the leading global narrative across all media platforms and it was before Covid19.

    If the OMC take umbrage at this article, then they might as well take umbrage at Facebook, Google, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and the digital media landscape in its entirety. The media landscape has changed, and we are all having to change with it. And that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Covid19. Covid19 might have highlighted the issue but that doesn’t imply causality.

    Personally I long for a return to the good old days of slide-rules, because that would give me a significant competitive advantage over just about every other media strategist in the industry, but the truth is that big data and algorithms are better than slide-rules.

    Here’s the simple reality of the digital media landscape in which we all find ourselves, irrespective of media platform.

    • Radio diaries fall spectacularly short in their ability to deliver real-time statistics and to track the reality of streaming radio listenership.
    • TV peoplemeters fall spectacularly short in their ability to deliver real-time statistics and track the reality of streaming TV viewership on digital devices.
    • Large scale surveys, using face to face interviews, fall spectacularly short in their ability to deliver real-time statistics and to track the reality of streaming newspaper and magazine readership.
    • The current OOH audience measure falls spectacularly short in its ability to deliver real-time statistics pertaining to detailed audience data at any immediate point in time.

    The issue here is real-time statistics. For all media platforms.

    As I write, there is not one radio broadcaster in South Africa that can tell me how LockdownSA is impacting on the Average ¼ hour audience I paid for this morning at 08h30 on radio station X. Because that audience is based on a pre-Covid19 diary. There is not one single publisher who can tell me the impact of LockdownSA on AIR readership for any given print title. Because PAMS research was conducted pre-Covid19. Not even Caxton who, ironically, could reasonably expect an increase in readership to their titles during LockdownSA, can use ROOTS to tell me what’s happening to their titles today.

    Whatever was benchmarked pre-Covid has been invalidated by these extraordinary times. Its not a question of apportioning blame, merely a case of describing a reality

    What those stations and titles can do, and are doing in many instances, is reporting the online activity which is linked to those platforms. In other words they can offer actionable insights through real-time data even though the primary trading currency has been invalidated by Lockdown. This is an excellent example of such an initiative from the PRC for instance.


    The OMC can’t do that right now, even though we know from other global markets that it is doable. In the prevailing digital media landscape, a rolling 3-year average may be cause for statistical reassurance, but it doesn’t deliver the goods to the degree that real-time big data can. In their response, the OMC concedes this very point and indeed the entire point of the article in question. Even though it must have hurt to do so. OMC response to OOH, that hurts

    Tracking people’s movements via GPS technology is being done, but this is not a media currency that allows for detailed demographic information to be collected.

    That is a neat summary of the very point OOH, that Hurts! is making.

    I have made the following statement on a number of industry platforms over that past 3 years, including to the OMC, and no media-owner or research company, has taken umbrage to it.

    In the past, media-owners measured what people did yesterday, in order to explain what those people are doing today. In the future, media owners must measure what people are doing today, in order to predict what they are doing tomorrow.

    The fact is, that making these statements does not impute that the methodologies of the past were wrong, or deficient at the time, merely that they were limited by prevailing technology or, apparently in the case of the OMC,  by legal patent issues.  The article OOH that Hurts! does not denigrate the OMD ROAD research but it does, constructively in my opinion, point out that there has to be industry progression towards delivering granular real-time data.

    The impetus of global audience measurement is moving away from offering rolling-average audiences, whether that be PAMS, RAMS or TAMS, and moving towards real-time data that can fuel attribution models. Covid19 hasn’t caused this quantum shift to digital adoption. Just brought it more clearly into focus.

    That’s a fact. How ever much that fact may hurt.

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • khulumamedia 4:44 pm on April 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No22 – Whatever happened to Lassie? 

    Thursday 16 April LD-Day +20

    I recently attended a Class of 1970 school reunion. As you can imagine, whether pertaining to old friends or to hair, the conversation inevitable arrived at the question whatever happened to? Well at least today I’ve stopped worrying about whatever happened to Lassie. I can tell you for sure that Lassie didn’t go home because she is currently working at Makro in the Covid19 essentials-classification department.

    I know this because I noticed today that the Page1 first-ranked search listing for dog food is “hoof chews”.


    Now I don’t claim to be an expert on pet food but during Covid19 LockdownSA how the hell can a doggie hoof chew be considered an essential item, but not a new pair of running socks? How come we can give that dog a bone, but not give that man a Bells when he’s run a Lockdown Marathon?

    Chew on that conundrum why don’t you Lassie.

    What ever happened to those 21 days of lockdown?  They seem to have passed so quickly. The Lockdown Marathon was sorted last week and on Day_21 of LockdownSA I’m well on track for my Lockdown Comrades. On the fateful night 21 days ago, I committed to writing a blog a day and here I am writing the final Lockdown Chronicle.

    So far so good, but I was a little bit alarmed today by The MediaShop sugegstion that I should follow the 21/90 day rule and blog every day for another 3 months. Let me think about that? Okay, I’ve thought about that. It’s not going to happen. Besides, I need to focus during the next two weeks on finding a criminal gang that specializes in illicit sportswear for LockdownSA challengers. For some strange reason, all the gangsters seem to have gone into booze or cigarettes.


    But all of this did get me thinking about what it would be like have been in lockdown for 21 years, rather than just 21 days. What were the big issues that were occupying the minds of the captains of industry back then? Whatever happened to 1999?

    If I walked into the industry today, like the proverbial Rip van Ogilvy, would anything have changed?

    So I went back to the Financial Mail AdFocus 1999 report to see what I could find.

    The Big Five advertising spenders included the usual candidates (SAB. Coca-Cola. Pick n Pay. Vodacom. Lever Brothers). It is when we see things like Lever Brothers, rather than Unilever, and the fact that P&G is way down in No23 position, that we release how much closer 1999 was to the old South Africa than it is to the current reality.

    When it comes to agencies, the top dogs are easily recognizable. Top 3 creative agencies are Ogilvy & Mather Rightford, TBWA Hunt Lascaris and FCB and the top 2 media agencies Media Direction-OMD and The MediaShop. Agency of the year in 1999 was Net#work who were just beginning their steep upward trajectory which would leave them on top of the pile a few years later.

    What did stand out for me is this house-ad from JWT which includes the body copy “as we said at the start, at JWT, advertising is the last thing we do, or even think about”.

    1999 coverjwt

    At the time, many pointed to the fact that as JWT didn’t even remotely feature in the CDF (Creative Directors Forum) Creative League that year, this was more of an admission of guilt, rather than a positioning statement. Others suggested it might have been more prudent to just keep quiet. But the ad points to a bigger truth prevailing at the time.

    In the 90’s, agencies were trying to become the marketing consultants they were never equipped to be. Sadly for us all, the auditors like Accenture won that round. In 2020 more and more clients are telling agencies “you stick to doing advertising that delivers and leave the marketing to us.”

    Another thing that has changed since 1999 is the belief that, when it comes to advertising, sex sells. I wonder whether The Star or the SABC would be comfortable running these ads in 2020?

    sex sells

    Sadly though, the one thing that hasn’t changed since 1999 is the issue of industry transformation. One of the founders of Herdbuoys (later Herdbuoys McCann Erickson) and arguably the de facto spokesperson for black advertising executives at that time, Peter Vundla comments

    It’s not a black thing or an equity thing. Empowerment has to be the vehicle to transform our society, not just to enrich a few individuals. For me it is about added value, not about percentages, which is why it becomes unfortunate that Saatchi talk about being the most empowered group. Suddenly we are playing a numbers game.

    Formal BEE legislation was only promulgated in 2003 but Vundla was of course referring to Saatchi & Saatchi and their transformation from being the so-called broederbond agency to being the most black-equity empowered agency in the country. Albeit, in his view, on paper only. Nothing highlights the point Vundla was making better than the juxtaposition of these two house ads, the one for Saatchi & Saatchi and the other for the newly established “black agency” Azaguys.


    And so here we are. 21 years later and seemingly that same discussion continues. If anything, the numbers game has become more entrenched.

    As we reflect on the post-Covid19 prospects for the advertising industry, and indeed the South Africa as a nation, let’s leave the last word to Vundles as he was affectionately known by many in those days. In addressing the issue of government and parastatal advertising spend in 1999, his words have sadly prophetic tone to them.

    It’s apparent that we have people who are trying to create wealth for themselves and allowing themselves to be corrupted. The biggest problem with corruption is that it lowers standards. Then we will be just another Third World country unable to deliver social services where they are most needed.

    It just may be that we’ve been in lockdown in this beloved country of ours for a lot longer than 21 days.

     #SYONTOS – See you on the other side.

    Thanks for following the Lockdown Chronicles for these past 21 days

  • khulumamedia 5:19 pm on April 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No 21 – When the bubble bursts 

    Wednesday 15 April LD-Day +19

    Apart from all the live like there’s no tomorrow challenges during LockdownSA, or is that drink like there’s not tomorrow?, it’s been really interesting to watch the Zeitgeist shifting towards the when this is all over narrative. There are still a few people who are demanding to know why we are where we are, and who is to blame, but as South Africans, most of us are just trying to get our heads into the when its all over space.

    On Monday some of the Crusaders rugby players made history when they were spotted breaking the lockdown rules by training together in Christchurch. Clearly they were thinking about the next game. I say ‘made history’ because this must surely be the first time in history that rugby players have got into trouble for putting in some extra training. I don’t know the names of the players but I am willing to wager a few beers that they weren’t front row forwards.

    I do feel for the players, and the efforts this week by SANZAAR to rekindle the Super Rugby 2020 season are understandable. In the absence of inbound tours, CEO Andy Marinos has suggested that Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship test matches could be run simultaneously to salvage something from the season. But salvaging something from the season commercially is not the same as salvaging something emotionally from the season. The passion and commitment of the average sports fan has been extinguished. Viewership and attendance figures to Super Rugby were plummeting even before Covid19.

    The same for the English Premiership.

    The executive is lobbying hard to finish the season behind closed doors. Other than Liverpool and possibly Leeds supporters, does anyone really savour the prospect of holding games in empty stadiums to wrap up the season? Much as he deserves the accolades, and as a Gooner it’s really hard to admit that, does Jurgen Klopp really want to ride around on an open-top double-decker, with the Premiership trophy, on his own, through the empty streets of Liverpool?

    The truth is that the sporting bubble has burst.

    In South Africa the bubble has burst for everyone. Even SAA and the Commander in Chief Julius Malema have discovered that today.

    Friday April 10: CIC – Okay fighters. Here’s the plan. ANC has announced the cabinet will take a one-third salary cut. We’ve got to do better than that. So we’ll all take a salary cut.

    Wednesday April 15: FightersMmmm. Nah! Don’t think so.

    eff bubble

    In 2019 the UCT Marketing Institute developed a really interesting segmentation model which I was given the opportunity to scrutinize and contribute to. In terms of what to do when this is all over, one thing I will certainly be lobbying for is more collaboration between the academic marketing fraternity and the advertising and media industry at large.

    The model is primarily based on HH income stats and is projected onto a five segment canvas. As an aside, the UCT model corresponds very closely the SEM 5_Cluster Model which means we can impute many of the findings from other parallel studies, such as ES and PAMS, into the UCT model.  Using a composite sub-set of that segmentation (Upper-Middle Class & Affluent), the UCT Marketing Institute developed a lens onto the Top Million households in South Africa.


    uct top million

    The Top Million report concluded that these households are living in a bubble. They live in a residential bubble often translated into an even more exclusive social bubble in gated communities. They live in an educational bubble, with children at private or former Model-C schools, and a transport bubble with the vast majority travelling to destinations in their own car. They live in a leisure bubble which involves eating out, cycling and taking weekends away.

    They also live in a medical bubble where the 85% who have a medical aid actively avoid to public hospitals and clinics.

    uct bubble

    In March 2020 the bubble burst. No need to unpack that any further.

    Another study which offers insight into these top-end households, and which is surprisingly underutilized in South African marketing, is BrandMapp. BrandMapp is an independent, large scale (n=28,826) online landscape survey of economically active high-end South African adults, and it offers us some really granular insights into these bubble households.


    Looking at these aspirations, one can only wonder how much they will have changed since the bubble burst. Buying a new house or a new car just doesn’t seem to have the same appeal as it did 6 months ago. Although finding a new job next year may become a primary focal point for all South Africans.

    brandmapp aspirations


    One insight that did attract my attention is hidden away within “other”. Pre-LockdownSA, only 0,8% of top-end respondents was aspiring to a divorce next year.

    I can’t help thinking that a post- Covid19 survey might yield a very different set of results on that score.

  • khulumamedia 6:36 pm on April 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    THE LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No 20 – Share of Voice or Share of Void? 

    Tuesday  14 April LD-Day +18

    On reflection I think there may well be more prophets at large during the Covid19 Crisis than was the case during the entire twelve hundred years of the old testament. During quarantine, webinars, virtual events and flash forums have become a fledgling industry in their own right. Zoom meetings are going to put a bigger dent in the established car market than Elon Musk.

    We have even coined a new word for the English language. Quaranstreaming.

    Lists, of course, hang tantalizingly from the web like ripe apples in an orchard. Moses brought us the 10 Commandments that he received on Mount Sinai. Stephen Covey offers us 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. I’ve got a list of 17 lists that I need to work through just in order to survive Covid19. That’s a cumulative total of 136 essential actions for immediate implementation.

    To make matters worse, last week there was a webinar on how to cope with anxiety during the Covid19 Crisis. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the Zoom connection to work and I missed it. So now I’m racked with self-doubt that I might have missed the one lifehack skill, out of the 136 on my list, I really needed to make it through Lockdown.

    Of course that’s another word we’ve managed to coin. Infodemic.

    There is quite simply too much information and I must say I am increasingly buying into the observation from GIBS Business School that the one survival skill you will require in a post-Covid19 media landscape is absorptive capacity. So it comes as a mild surprise to me that Warc (World Advertising Research Centre) is right now chanting the same old mantra that  maintaining share of voice (SOV) as an effective response to the Covid19 crisis.

    arf event

    In a Warc online article quoting Christian Polman, CEO at Ebiquity, it is asserted that increasing adspend can lead to “substantially higher market share” in the post-Covid19 crisis period. Polman explains

    “Typically, it takes up to three years for a lot of the brands to see the full impact of their marketing investments as registered by complete brand-equity modeling.”

    Warc Share of Voice

    Three years? Maintaining adspend to sustain turnover I can understand, but focusing on SOV as the solution to long term market share recovery is a major over-reach. Don’t work about the historical data and the trendline. This is not a normal recession and the historical formulas don’t apply. Certainly not in South Africa. Right now I would imagine that the most important thing any brand in South Africa can do, is to make sure that it goes onto the register of essential items.

    If the brand doesn’t survive into 2021 then a Share of Voice projection is irrelevant. Isn’t that the more sensible advertising response? Focus on making sure the brand survives. If the brand doesn’t survive into 2021 then we’re just measuring Share of Void. With the potential disaster implied in a potential 50% unemployment rate, I would suggest that taking the advertising budget and putting it into pricing might get a better result.

    That’s not to say the relationship between share of voice and share of market is not important. It has been one of the pillars of strategic media budget setting since the 60s and any planner who has worked on P&G or Unilever will attest to that. And it will be again but you have to recalibrate the brand shares and make the post-Covid19 exit point ground-zero.

    To suggest that by merely relatively out-spending a competitor a brand will experience long term market share gains when the market recovers, is outdated. More and more evidence is indicating that when this is all over, it’s the brands that responded specifically to Covid19 and impacted communities, and proved their loyalty to customers, that will experience the most sustainable gains.

    Right now, Hills has the dominant SOV for pet food. No other competitors visible at all. They are running a perfectly serviceable TVC and I’m sure they will experience a sales shift because of that increased awareness.

    But what’s the prevailing Zeitgeist in Mzansi? It’s about taking one for the team. It’s about sacrifice. Take 25% of the Hills TV budget and make a specific offer along the lines of for every bag you buy we’ll donate Rx to the SPCA for immediate relief to abandoned animals. That’ll do more to build long term loyalty and market share growth than outspending your competitors during Lockdown.

    Consider this brilliant piece of Covid19 advertising from Burger King in the USA.

    burger king maths

    This is the latest campaign which follows up their offer of free delivery to healthcare workers for anybody wanting to donate a BK meal. Students who are missing school due to lockdown are invited to solve questions in subjects such as math, biology, chemistry or literature. This can be done on the BK app or any of BK Facebook or Instagram pages. Once a student enters the correct answer, they can use the app to score a free Whopper.

    You don’t have to outspend the other guys to gain share but you do have to outthink them.

  • khulumamedia 6:19 pm on April 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    THE LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES No19 Lizard Slayer and the path less-travelled 

    Monday 13 April LD-Day +17

    In the Judeo-Christian calendar, Easter delivers a triumphant narrative to believers. This weekend specifically, as it pertains to The Passover particularly and the parallels with the current times, where families are seeking the refuge of their own homes to avoid terrible affliction, does seem to sharpen the focus.

    Of course this past few days there were other lesser, but still significant, stories of triumphing over the odds. Boris Johnson is out of hospital and recovering. Our own Zwelinzima Vavi on the road to recovery. I wish them both well. Brave stuff indeed. But the honours go this weekend to Albert Chambers. This veteran of WWII, who was injured and served 3 years as a POW in Germany, has beaten Covid19 at the age of 99. There’s no official guidelines on what it takes to be a hero, but its easy enough to spot one.

    99 soldier

    It’s also equally easy to spot an idiot when you see one , and I am giving the big double thumbs up to Indian police in the north Indian town of Rishikesh who made a group of Australian tourists, who were ignoring the lockdown, write 500 lines as a punishment.  If you can’t behave like adults then I’m going to treat you like children. Love it.

    aussie lines

    I think we should try the same thing here instead of making people do push-ups or leopard-crawl in the mud.

    I must not loot the liquor store. I must not smuggle cigarettes. That sort of thing.


    Let’s get back to heroic deeds though. After completing my lockdown marathon, I was feeling pretty pumped so I thought it might be a good idea to give myself a suitable Lord of the Rings name. Something like Strider. Except of course that one’s already taken. Or perhaps something based on my actual experiences during the challenge. Like Snail Cruncher or Lizard Slayer.

    I’ll grant that Lizard Slayer is not up there with your Tolkienesque Dragon Slayer but it has a certain swashbuckling dignity about it, and it’s definitely better than Snail Cruncher. Although, to be honest, the lizards move so quickly that I’ve yet to send one to its doom. Descended from dinosaurs they may be but instinctive and agile they most certainly are. Snails, on the other hand are victims of their own tendency, unlike Robert Frost, to stick to the path most travelled by.

    So Lizard Slayer it is then.

    On reflection, it’s remarkable how many media people and companies imagine that in a post-Covid19 landscape they too will still be able to use the well-travelled paths of the past. No lesser figure that Johan Rupert commented in the Financial Mail this past week

    “People speak as if this is just a blip, but I don’t think this is like anything any of us have ever seen before … What they don’t get is that this isn’t just a pause – it’s an entire reset of our economic system”.

    As commented on in a previous Lockdown Chronicle, this cover story appears only in the eEdition of Financial Mail, as the migration from the printed format to the online format continues to shine a light on path that ultimately all publishers will have to take. The simultaneous release of ES2019 and PAMS2019 give us a chance to see whether this phenomenon applies equally to other publishing genres such as newspapers, and also magazines generally.

    Overall, PAMS2019 reflects a higher level of reading each week (reach %) compared to ES2019, irrespective of whether we’re talking newspapers or magazines, and irrespective of whether we’re talking printed-paper or online format. Cynics might resort to the logic of  Christine Keeler and retort well they would; wouldn’t they but PRC has presented a reasonable case for the catalyst being enhanced comprehension of the questionnaire itself.

    pams v ES reading

    What is most interesting though is the ratio of print to online reading reported in PAMS2019. There is a similar pattern in ES but, given that PAMS is ultimately the publisher currency survey, it makes sense to benchmark on PAMS2019. For every online reader to a newspaper, there are still 4,5 readers of the print-paper copy. For magazines that ratio slips to 2,8 print readers per online readers. At a glance then, newspapers still have the stronger and more viable foothold on the terra firma of the old proven path.

    Of course, as far as proven paths go, perhaps the most amazing thing about the Indian-Australian exchange is that the police were actually able to find 10 people who were still capable of writing by hand.

    Perhaps in future, when we go AWOL, we might end up having to apologize to Siri.

    “I’m so sorry Siri”.

    “Are you sure you’re sorry”.

    “Yes Siri. I’m so, so, sorry”.

    “You don’t sound sorry”.

    And repeat 500 times.

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