MTN: Smugly shirking service

Day12You’ve heard this story before… because this is the world we live in.

Monopolised. By mongrels.

However – and the irony is – that which sustains this system is us. The money earners, money spenders, account payers… Sadly though, when that which we are paying for is derailed, our querying and solution-seeking reveals the starkly substandard, defective and senseless approach that brand custodians employ in order not to do their jobs. On a good day and with sense of humour in tact (now absent altogether), I view my musings with MTN like a badly-produced soap opera – albeit far more painful and without the excessive sex. On a bad day, seeking resolution from MTN feels like it would if you were drowning… and someone handed you a baby.

MTN Drowning

Just like any good soap opera, this crisis has more than one storyline running concurrently: Incompetence renders new iPad inept and The Vacuous Value of having MTN handset insurance.

The Vacuous Value of having MTN handset insurance

Monday, 6 October

My iPhone 5S was damaged in an unfortunate car-swapping driveway accident that left it looking like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 10.10.09 PM

I went to the MTN Service Centre in Morningside, Johannesburg to proceed with the claim, where I was advised that it would be better to call 083 123 6084. That they would come and collect the phone from me in order to process the claim and issue me with a loan-phone in the meantime. Sounds great, right?

Try calling that number. The waiting time is longer than Katherine Kelly Lang has been Brooke on The Bold and the Beautiful. Hint: it’s a really long time. She still holds the role she first kicked-off in 1987.

brooke-logan-beautiful

Without a cellphone, I decided it would be a good time to get a new iPad on a 3G contract – so as to stay in contact that way and then have that too once my phone was up and running. Now pay attention, because here’s where the Incompetence renders new iPad inept storyline kicks off – and the two run concurrently.

Sunday, 12 October

Upon completing and submitting my ID that was copied and attached to the application1 – and successful vetting of my details – I was handed a new iPad with a credit card-sized SIM holder and shuffled on my way (it was the weekend and the store was closing). At home, I realised I had been issued the incorrect sized SIM for the iPad… so I would have to go back and get that sorted…

MTN April 13

I work. So doing that is not as easy as it sounds. It comes down to trying during lunch which, coincidentally, is when everybody else is at the Service Centre too.

Monday, 20 October

I went back to the MTN Service Centre in Morningside to attempt strike 2 at the insurance claim and to table their simple-minded-SIM-issue, with the hopes of getting the correct sized SIM for the iPad applied for and issued. There, I also raised the issue of not being able to get through on083 123 6084 for my insurance claim…  The consultant called into the helpdesk from her MTN-issued phone. We spoke to Patrick Mfelang (Patrick.Mfelang@mtn.co.za) who assured me he would email the insurance claim form to me and we could try that route.

After (re)submitting my ID that was copied and attached to the (re)application2 for the correct SIM (but without any apology for the inconvenience of the incorrect SIM issue, nor the time or petrol used to make them aware of their error), I was issued with the correct-sized SIM card for the iPad issued.

Back at the office, I had in fact received Patrick’s email; completed, submitted and received a response apologising for the potential delay, and that I would be contacted within 5 days.

5 days

Monday, 27 October

In the coming days, it was clear that no data was available (on the iPad), even with the second SIM issued. The MTN-SA icon appears in the top left corner, but without a signal and no internet connection available. Based on an application process that was “approved” on Sunday, 12 October – but one that had resulted in a 0% success rate and therefore no usage of said device – it was brutally clear that the employees appointed by MTN who work at the MTN Service Centre in Morningside are uninterested in / incapable of performing their roles.

So I tried the Social Media route:

SM post 1

And… with no Yello from the insurance department, I sent this email, to the insurance queries email address:

27 Insurance Qry

Responses: 0 

MTN April 14

Tuesday, 28 October

With still not a Yello from the insurance department… I sent this email, to the insurance queries email address:

28th Follow-up
Responses: 0 

Wednesday, 29 October 

I try social media once again, regarding my handset insurance claim: SM post 2 - 29 Oct

I also reply directly via my inbox message, hoping to have some luck that way: 29th Follow-up Both

After much, painful answer-seeking, I was told that my contract was on hold for a RICA issue: they needed a copy of my ID to effect the final approval… My ID (yes, still the same one) that they had taken, copied and submitted twice so far.

Further to furnishing the required details for the iPad SIM activation, and only to compound the issues at hand because I am obviously a) nuts, and b) a complete sucker for punishment, I further requested that my iPad contract be credited for the pro-rata charges from Sunday 12 October to when it would come online – for obvious reasons.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 8.33.32 PM
Responses regarding that query? Take a wild guess.

Thursday, 30 October 

Hallelujah Houston! We have a Yello! The iPad situation was resolved – a mere 19 days after the application process began – and thus concludes our Incompetence renders new iPad inept storyline.

30th iPad SIM resolution

Traction seemed infectious. On that same day, I received this (well written) communication from the insurance department:

30th email from insurance about call
I replied, just to confirm (further to a note on the actual claim form and through correspondence on Facebook) where they should reach me:
30th reply with landline number

Sadly… that traction was short-lived.

No response regarding the credit note, and no call regarding my insurance claim have yet been received.

But… then this………

*drumroll*

Saturday, 1 November

I received this message (via Facebook) from Devan regarding my insurance claim:

Phone off

I’m not quite sure what else to say or do at this point. I’ve provided my work number to them three times, knowing full well that they wouldn’t be able to reach me on my cellphone…

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.14.40 AM

Thanks to the inefficiency of people who don’t (have to) think further than what they’ll do with their hair on the weekend or how what they do in a role that pays them a salary, affects the men and women whose custom keeps them there, I am now literally at the end of my rapidly frayed rope.

Jules

Ergo, I am smart. I am a writer. And creating work that builds brands is my playground.

So here we go… Today, this blog goes out and its link gets sent to one Paul Norman (to name but a few), Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN.

Let’s see, shall we?

MTN Speechless

Stay tuned for more from this beguiling albeit completely pointless soap opera. Pointless because if consultant #1 had done what they were supposed to do… we would not be here.

1 First time ID was successfully received by MTN
2 Second time ID was successfully received by MTN

© Dylan Balkind

Here I leave my story ┈

Life…

You’ll form friend-bonds with people who aren’t friends…
You’ll form trust-bonds with people that shouldn’t be trusted…
You’ll form family-bonds with people who aren’t family…

It’s that need to fill a void.
Not opened by you to start with…
…but there nonetheless.
Visceral. Yet vacant.

So? For that which has no timeline? Well… to memories and/of merriment anon!

“The highs and lows and heres and theres…
These aversions and these cravings…
Push me beyond identity into pure awareness (we’re already here)…”


#WritingStoriesDifferently

Homo’s, Abortions & the Digital Disdain

A little while ago on twitter, some men were waxing on about women and whether they should or shouldn’t have the right to choose abortion. My opinion on this is to keep whatever it is to myself, albeit if just to say to the blokes: Unless you’re the father of the unborn foetus – you have no place passing your pointlessness to that ‘debate’ at all.

It’s not your womb. It’s not your body. It’s none of your business.

This weekend, Gay Pride festivals happened around the States and most of Europe1. Apple’s CEO took part in San Francisco, the Boy Scouts of America became first-time marchers in NYC, 26 000-strong celebrated in Singapore, and Celebrity Grand Marshal George Takei paved the parade’s path through the streets of Seattle. The occasion for people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way. Fundamentally, it is one day in the year that each and every LGBT individual has the choice, the forum and the right to be just who they truly feel to be – and do it just how they feel to do it.

All is fair in love and war

Yes, these events will draw commentary from both the pertinent and the peanut gallery, and Social Media gives everyone the platform to air theirs. Most of the time, it sounds something like oh my God they should just get over it and carry on with life. Carry on with whose life? With whose understanding of how life should be? Whichever way the challenging goes, it should be brave enough to engage in dialogue – not simply sprout monologue. 

Biased? 

When it comes to (previously) persecuted ‘minorities’2 – the right to be heard must sit with them, first. This was Black people in an apartheid-era South Africa (and worldwide, still); Homosexuals throughout the ages (worldwide – and still); Jewish nationalities long before and since the Hitler era… and… sadly, too many other horrifying examples to mention here.

Enter objectioning about the need for Pride in contemporary society – by Straight people. This will send some frantic and fiery opinions into deliberation, just as it would were a White person to mouth-off about a Black-perspective on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of Apartheid.

Everyday enmity is a seriously lazy habit.

So on behalf of me and my jazz-hands horde, let me have a shot at why we still need Gay Pride:

With regards to what follows: I have redacted the name of the digital agency concerned – not because I think that they deserve to be sheltered from the naming-and-shaming (because they shouldn’t be), but because there are individuals that have worked /are working there that do not subscribe to the same views. These people should not– and do not deserve to be lumped in with the accepted behaviours of the body.

On my last day of working there – as had become custom – I sent the following farewell email:

Emailer

** Responses: None.

Earlier that week, I’d written a shorter ‘farewell’ message on a window (where people regularly wrote with dry-wipe markers, erased and replaced as/when/where necessary).

** Responses: One.

photo (3)

Is this how an evolved sanity signs off?

Nah, usually not… But still, as a spectator, you cringe before leaning-in closer to see what happens next, right?

Ergo – we still need the Pride parade.

As I left the building with shames, shade, shame-ons and sads, I sent that pic to the company with the subject “PS” – and the body text: “Thanks for the memories.”

** Responses: One.

Email 1

Now… wait— is this a sanity-evolved? Hard to say. And given my own manner for quick-mouthing, I couldn’t suggest this guy hold his thoughts until he’d collected some more. Still, I had hoped for more from someone I’d gotten to know a bit about (who had his own history of hurting as far as human relations go), and that maybe he might have held back a little longer than 24-minutes before so bravely hitting ‘reply-all’ — on a digital platform, at the country’s top digital agency — with such confident closure.

** Responses: One.
Mine – privately to him (yes, I get the irony in that none of this is private anymore).

Email 2

No longer private indeed – and fittingly so. You see, bullies are only brave in a bunch. It was tacitly-thick there and bred like a bonfire. But when expressive about my upset, my deserting doubter said:

“There’s more to life than worrying about them,
and worrying about that shit!”

He wasn’t wrong. But I often wonder if he ever told any of them that, too?

Tally:

  • Responses / acknowledgments (to date of publishing this post) from any of the head honchos? Nada
  • Rash responses: One (above)
  • Outpouring of disgust and dissatisfaction at such distaste from those consulted? Overwhelming:
    • a Partner at Fasken Martineau
    • Seniors at Habari Media
    • a Business Division Consultant/Head at Absa
    • my friends and family – and their friends and family

It’s seriously sad. Especially when I think that I wrote the new mission statement for this agency and how now, it’s safe to say that I went from: This is hot — to — uh… I kinda like it — to — Hold up! I’m a little confused here… — to — None of this adds up?!? — to — What a load of bullshit. 

They’re about to announce their merger with one of the world’s most progressive agencies, and I have to wonder how the small minds will fare among the bigger ones when they Ogle all the different characters they will have to cohabit with… Fact is: the ratios are going to be reversed.

All the best.

And c‘est la vie.

Why?

Because you simply can’t win them all. On a random Monday, you may be forced to realise that the wave of the witless is wide when a complete stranger – so radically outside of my every-gay life – be so upfront in suggesting Pride be unnecessary because Gay people should ‘blend in’ rather than celebrate their liberties:

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.02.52 PM

…well, no.

That would be a seriously lazy habit.

So thanks Laetitia, but no.

I am Gay.

I am 36.

And I have never participated in a Pride parade or any of the after parties.

But I could do if or when I choose to – and that’s what’s pertinent and poignantly important to me.

Because I am Gay.

It is not all that I am…

…but it is all that I am.

And there are lots of us.

Our differences don’t make us disgusting or deserving of defamatory vitriol or aggressive graffiti.

But it happens. Just like when gullible guys genuinely believe that their opinion on abortion is ace.

It happens.

So…

…with several deep breaths, I can say for sure that I know this: one man’s torment is another man’s tea break, and what’s sore to me may just be satire to you.

So the only merit I see in outsiders’ questions around Pride’s rightful place in contemporary society, is in why we waited to accept this anointed ‘permission’ by the other, just to go on, exactly as we were, with our blood pumping as it always has been?

Parched is the man whose passion to pump blood depends on the permission of another…

…and there lies that fine line between Worrier and Warrior.

Indeed, the occasion for people to promote and proclaim their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way… but it’s not that we don’t need to celebrate what we have always been…

…it’s that we shouldn’t have had to wait to be told when we could.

Word!

Preemptive people are everywhere.

Ergo – we still need the Pride parade.

 

© Dylan Balkind

1 Barcelona, Lima, Mexico City, Paris, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City.
2 Not always in numbers, but often by an imbalance of power.
 
 

Summer Camp Finn

#TheFinnDiaries

It’s been a long time since I did write for my blog. I have been so busy getting bigger and looking out the front gate when I’m allowed to play on the side of my house where the street is. I have still been going to my park like I told you before and when I go there, I go with my Dad because I can’t drive. My Dad drives us there.

This is me getting ready to drive us to my Emmarentia.

Driving

I also haven’t added to my blog for you because when I get bigger I don’t like homework because it is writing and I also don’t like girls or kissing them. I play with my best friend Matthew because we are boys and we can get wet when we go to my Emmarentia. When girls go there they wear white clothes and scream when they think I’m gonna make their clothes wet and brown.

I like it when they think that and scream.

It’s fun for me.

Look at me here. I am very wet.

Swimming

 

Then I had to be a big boy because I had to go to Summer Camp. My Dad did say he had booked for me because all cocky spaniels like me have to go to summer camp. Then he said that because I was going there and he didn’t need to feed me, he would go to his cousin’s party in Cape Town.

 

 

What they have at summer camp for cocky spaniels: 

  • They have children to play with (my Matthew!!!!!!!)
  • They have girls – yuk! (It’s Matthew’s big sister Hannah and she actually wasn’t so yuk because we played together even)
  • They have my cousin Milly there (she actually lives there even!)
  • They have running in the park with my aunty Niki (she lives there with Milly even!)
  • They have ladies in the park that I can shout at
  • They have my harness and my leash
  • They have no queen beds
  • They have no inside beds because cocky spaniels aren’t allowed inside at the Summer Camp for cocky spaniels
  • They have my bowls even
  • They have fancy food
  • They have more kitties than at my house where I have only one kitty only
  • They have a lot of rain there at summer camp for cocky spaniels

You see they have a lot of different things even.

photo

 

When I came home I was upset but I don’t know why because I was also happy. My Daddy and my Gogo and my Granddad said I must have been tired from too much fun. They always say this and then they say I am a cocky spaniel but I know I am a cocky spaniel always so.

 

Bandage

 

My arm was sore because I can’t remember why even. And then my Daddy did put on a bandage with creams and then I took it off because I didn’t like it on me.

 

 

 

 

Here’s me when I took it off.

Band off

I will try to write again when I feel like it.

My name is Finn. Summer Camp Finn.

 

Concept is dead

Originally written for and published on BizCommunity.com.
For engagement details, click here

Never mind potholes, rampant crime or corruption, what we really need to expend our energy on is the fact that more and more mediocre pedestrians are being allowed to stumble into roles they have absolutely no clue about. So the scheduling clerk for a bicycle hire shop can become the marketing person for the brand you thought you’d die to work on. And die you will. Bit by bit and a little more each day.
4886172-in-loving-memory-of-words-chiselled-into-a-wooden-bench
Let me introduce you to Sally. Sally loved to colour during her early school days and was ever so good at staying inside the lines. She wasn’t sure what to do after high school so she worked in her father’s corner shop weighing butternut and manning the till. Then her uncle poached her to help run the front office of his car repair shop and in just a few mediocre minutes, she was bored of that too. With her eclectic mix of ‘FMCG and retail expertise’ coupled with being the ‘brand custodian’ for her uncle’s shop, Sally found herself mincing in to the first of many corporates in no time at all.

She hopscotched through half a dozen roles, careful not to stay anywhere long enough to ever actually learn anything of substance, and then – with a stroke of right-place-right-time-luck, and enough bullshit to baffle some very distracted brains – she secured herself the role of making some medium-weight marketing decisions on a brand doing itself proud.

There wasn’t an agency presentation or creative review where the words I don’t get it didn’t waft from her pouting, lip-glossed lips. Imagine how brilliant this imaginative doyenne was for the conceptual prowess of the creatives whose paths she crossed… No challenge was too big as this fierce game changer would design by numbers and rewrite copy at the drop of a hat – no questions asked… So die they did. More and more each day.

Mindless ads

Sure, “mindless ads” have their place. I once bought a fat busting apparatus from one of those if-you-dial-now-but-wait-there’s-more places. With a series of battery operated contractions, it promised to work all the unnecessary lard away from my stomach. It did. I lost so much weight I was kidnapped by a helium balloon at the Rand Easter Show.

People have brains and an imagination and despite popular belief (albeit brand specific), aren’t completely against having to think. Simple doesn’t mean you got smarter. But it may mean Sally gave you a budget of R2.50 with the disproportionate insistence that you address every shopper and consumer group out there. So you did… but at what cost?

The over simplification era

We’re living in an era of over simplification. Brands have a wider cross-section of people to talk to while clients shamelessly play agencies against one another for the work. This reduces the creative mettle by people who then have to spend more time tap dancing through ludicrous demands than being conceptually brilliant… And somewhere between the brief and the output, someone convinces everyone to put all their eggs on the semantics of the big idea and none on the magic of the journey that takes you there. Rest in peace, concept.

As much as agency creatives need to learn about strategy and the tangible differences of our audiences, so marketing professionals should be required (and driven) to have a semblance of creative vision. This way, the creative interpretation of a brief can be viewed at any point in its evolution; to be understood in the context of what informed it.

The movement away from waffling is not what I’m on about. I’m on about the unnecessary over simplification for audiences that aren’t simple. We get told so often to be sure the box is far away from our thinking yet, time and time again, we end up back inside it anyway.

Makes you wonder what our Sally would say to these three examples:

Okay… so concept isn’t completely dead, but it’s definitely looking pale. Something needs to be done soon or our dear friend should get its affairs in order and tie up any loose ends.

Let’s not forget the thinking man’s story… It is the magical vortex of the interpretation of creativity where talkability comes to life.

How’s your Sally?

© Dylan Balkind

Would the real Copywriter please stand up?

Originally written for and published on BizCommunity.com.
For engagement details, click here

In a world of SEO (dead or not) and the immediacy of content-to-consumer needed, there seems to be more copy needed than Copywriters out there. Never fear, for an article titled How to Get High-Performance Sales Copy Without Hiring a Copywriter hit the blogosphere recently.

Information like this is priceless and will change the future for Laquisha, the envelope filling entrepreneur, Donathan’s Christmas present opening startup or aunty Martha who believes that her smoked haddock air freshener range is going to make a mint. It’s easy, you see? This white paper on our profession by Christina Gillick says that readers make good writers, so if you read a lot, you can do your own Copywriting.

Everyone’s a writer

I arrived at the New Zealand Chiefs Super 15 practice. They asked what I was doing there before I explained that I’d watched a few games on the telly, was a fan of the scrum and always fancied being the guy they throw in the air in the lineout. Naturally, they showed me to my locker right away, kitted me out with my costume and we won the tournament. Hoorah! Anyone can do it, right?

Not really. So would you sit down at the latest iMac complete with state-of-the-art spectroradiometers and design your own corporate identity? Quickly go and read a lot so that you could write you own objective-driven copy or sew yourself a tuxedo for that promotion-to-CEO gala dinner? You could certainly try – everyone loves a guy with a sense of humour.

I can count on my hands the amount of times I have read something and said “Holy shitballs Mom! I wish I’d written that!” – yet it would take you more than a day to count all the people in our industry who are calling themselves writers. Then try vetting them… that should blow your hair back.

I Googled one Christina Gillick and found a lovely picture of her lying under the tree with her laptop, working – obviously. It was titled: “Christina Gillick enjoying the writer’s life at her quiet country home in Texas.” They must do things differently in Texas because, let’s be honest, writing is anything but quiet-time. It’s as deadline-driven as any job and usually involves at least nine other voices in your own head before the first word has hit the page. But I’m down when it comes to helpful tips, so anytime I have to produce any High-Performance Sales Copy, I’m heading for a tree in Texas.

Supply and demand

Bad-Copywriting2Fact is, more and more people are looking for (competent) content generators. However – and whether it comes down to a budget or the urgency pandemic – the entry barrier at many agencies into these roles is not exactly up there with the bar exam. And if you believe that these agency roles are no science, then you may be part of the problem – there’s no avoiding the fact that writing decent, engaging copy is not for everyone.

Someone who kinda sorta maybe enjoyed English in High School isn’t necessarily the right talent for this work. What should be important to agency owners and clients alike is not necessarily finding someone with a Masters in English, but someone who has a natural talent mixed with an undeniable passion for their craft and a body of work that demonstrates such. There’s your candidate.

 

Has Copywriting lost its heart? 

Not entirely. But very often, the diluted skill-set in a room that determines the direction of a brand forgets the importance of stories. We all need stories that prompt us to feel something, and be inspired or motivated by. Whether these are seen on TV, heard on Radio, watched in a taxi or at the rank, interpreted across a series of billboards and reinforced with what we engaged with online once we got to the office, seen in a double page spread, advertorial, blog or TTL campaign – people need something to latch on to. What good is content that popped up first on your search but did absolutely nothing for you after that? And to tell stories by mastering his craft, a writer needs to be able to see something different about the world around him; to understand that the resonant power of writing is in the magic of how 26 letters are arranged together and that there is nothing coincidental about this.

There really are no sneaky tricks, nor are there quick fixes. If you want copy that moves and motivates while delivering on the brief, find a talented, passionate writer that loves to write. That’s all there is to it. Failing that, you could be master of all (none) and use Google to teach you how to do it all yourself. While you’re at it, you can learn how to remove warts, how to design a poster, how to be a good wife, how to become a vampire, how to strategic plan and how to find the best tree to lie under when needing to produce High-Performance Sales Copy.

The list is long, how much time do you have?

Copy1

© Dylan Balkind

Creatives critiquing creativity

How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? One and a chorus of whingers to point out that someone else has – somewhere in the history of the planet – already changed a light bulb, so changing another one would be unoriginal and therefore completely pointless.  

Creatives are an odd bunch. We work inside the silos of the sanatorium called an agency, being a part of the tug of war between our central creative pull and the client’s same when it comes to their brand mandatories.

We know the drill. We know that to get a campaign out involves a dozen meetings where the idea that has been presented, critiqued, reworked, re-presented, reconsidered, re-tweaked and re-presented is then put through some real paces and eventually given the green light. It is (almost) never the case of a good idea sold and preproduction briefed, because a good idea inside my head for example, may make no sense to the others at the table and the same may be true of what comes from them.

So then why are we such a bitchy bunch? I’m no saint when it comes to opinion – I can’t handle bad advertising and my candour when I see it is palpable. But bad advertising is often very clear about how bad it is. Like when two women who obviously travel with their washing machines are seen standing in a kitchen talking about how concerned they are that their husband’s shirts don’t look bright and new. I always travel with my washing machine so that’s not the part I hate. No wait, it is – because that’s just stupid. It sets feminism back a hundred years and has been responsible for more eye rolling than Julius Malema or Marie Straub.

Dunce

There is so much to consider when making a quick, uninformed quip about an ad on a social media forum: a) Are you the target market? If you are not the target market (believe it, not everything is aimed at you), it was not intended to resonate with you anyway; b) Does it successfully speak to the target market? c) How would you rate the production values? Because there are cheap shit ads, and there are cheaply made but very effective ads. The list is long…

I made the senseless mistake of engaging a silly sally on Twitter recently who evidently has no awareness or skills on the above measurables. She is an editor in chief which means that she must have some common sense, somewhere. But on a scale of one to Lindsay Lohan, it’s quite clear that not everyone who has it, uses it. She hates stereotypes but has become one in the process: a tightly wound, self deified strawberry who hears but does not necessarily listen – let alone think.

They say you can’t put people in boxes. Wrong. You can if you want to – even with creatives. There are those that have to have five different colours in their unwashed hair – simply because they are a creative. There are those that take long, dramatic moments to pause, deep in thought before sprouting their pearl – simply because they are a creative; skinny jeans, aloof and emotionally unavailable – or flowing cotton, open shirts and a self-created quirky lilt – simply because they are all, well, creatives.

You can also put people in boxes as to whether they are, for example, a features writer, a copywriter, a script writer, a blog writer, a vapid content creator, or a twitter update writer. Where your talent resonates is what you live to be proud of. Sure, it’s been said that good work shouldn’t need to be defended, but then does that mean you shouldn’t be passionate about what goes on your porti? If so, be sure then that while you sprout this cliché, your own work is at an infallible level for all the world to see and bask in.

I hear there are shock collars for dogs that need testing. I can think of two people who should sign up.

 

© Dylan Balkind

SAB Anti-Rape Billboard

So… there’s so much (informed and uninformed) opinionaters on Rape in South Africa – and ways in which these conversations come alive among your (anti) social networks. One fellow thought he would weigh-in on the Rape-rant by voicing his disapproval of the South African Breweries (SAB) Corporate Social Responsibility billboard that pushes all the right buttons for underage drinking, women abuse and rape.

Screen shot 2013-02-19 at 11.40.44 AM

“Hey SAB! Were you OUT OF YOUR MIND putting up a billboard intimating that girls who get drunk are somehow choosing to get raped? Last time I checked, it was the RAPIST doing the deciding. In one fell swoop, you’ve managed to uphold rape culture AND lay the blame on women. Do you have any idea what kind of message this sends out to the countless women who’ve had to endure what you’re calling a ‘decision’? Congratulations. I wish I could simply call you imbeciles and be done with it, but that’s too innocent a word for what you are.”

I picture him in his skinny jeans, non-prescription specs and a plaid shirt with some or other morning’s Pronutro crusting on a buttonhole. He likes what he sees in the mirror and fancies himself quite the intellect. Before we go any further – to safeguard his potential embarrassment while allowing him his democratic right to continue on in his blinkered state – I will from this point onward refer to (beep) as Mr. Igno Rant.

Mr. Rant has gotten way too carried away with his very own self-congratulatory effort to cause a commotion. As an Advertising geek who has had a look at the Brand and Social Responsibility message by SAB, I suggest you consider this:

SAB:

a)     is not diverting the blame from these bastards who take matters into their own hands
b)     is highlighting the already-ablaze epidemic of rape in this country, and
c)     is admitting – from a CSI vantage point – that alcohol may play a role in contributing to victims.

Alcohol doesn’t for one moment give men an easy-out excuse for rape, citing for example that the victim was drunk and therefore to blame. It simply highlights the obvious: when inebriated, women may not have their wits at hand – something that these loser predators undoubtedly count on. Furthermore, Rant has neglected to appreciate the message for underage drinking and the perps that do nothing about it but fill their cash registers. Let those who sell alcohol to minors see this billboard too, find their conscience and stop contributing to the problem.

You may raise an eyebrow at my silly-man-bashing and accuse me of what I myself deplore so vehemently: bullying. No. I am not being a bully. I am disturbed and horrified that those who choose to make a noise about something they have given absolutely no thought to still have the dangerous power through the viral message in social media to incite enough other non-thinkers to make a noise and flap to that side of the fence.

Let me be clear: there is never a bad time to talk about Rape.

Also, I speak from my heart and soul when I say that a man who can’t comb his hair in the morning shouldn’t be taken too seriously – but rather that it is the lack of response of a nation to an issue that should have mobilised us years ago… now that’s what I really care about. Still, Ignor has meticulously highlighted the issue that people would rather suck their teeth and shake their empty heads in disgust at, because of the distaste of a brand to bring such attention to a very real problem. Truth is Ignor, this is an industry that has the potential to shine a very bright light on an issue that our useless government is far too quiet about, every single day. Don’t you think that that’s something you should embrace?

I congratulate SAB and the creatives at their agency who have shown that, in South Africa, a pair of balls can still be used for good.

#makeanoiseSA

© Dylan Balkind

Don’t axe your chances with the ladies

Attraction. An innate quality that inspires what moves and motivates both men and women. It is why we drive what we drive, wear what we wear and smell the way we choose to smell. And whether you aim to drop jaws or find yourself having to remember where yours is, the appeal of the preferred sex is responsible for most of the decisions you make. Seriously.

Playboy Deodorant’s reinvented brand launches this week with a new look, a new vibe and a lot more appeal. A lead TV Commercial flights later this week and I’m giving you the first look.

And because attraction doesn’t work if it isn’t edgy, there are two viral executions that explain just what we mean when we talk about The Power of Attraction – and what it means if you just don’t have it.

Don’t axe your chances with the ladies.

Use Playboy Deodorant.

The Power of Attraction.

Tell me I’m the only one you love…

After the incorrigible persistence of Steve and his banality for FNB, a banking ad that breaks through the clutter and makes us sit up and take note is more refreshing than lemonade. TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris has reinterpreted Standard Bank’s payoff line – Moving Forward – for their latest epic now flighting on TV.

Look again. It’s not just stock footage. The deft Kim Geldenhuys from Egg Pictures along with the help of Kobus Loots’ editing hands at Upstairs Post has brought the spot to life by (almost) seamlessly positing actual characters into historical moments – all singing the ever-catchy Sh Boom Sh Boom (Life Could Be A Dream), originally written by The Chords.

Nice work. We like.

Read more about this work here.

Shall we take a shower?

What could be more refreshing than a brilliant idea?

The talkability of more than 1 500 servings a day is priceless and how this goes viral by handheld devices from the beach – well you can just imagine. Then there’s the added bonus: watching sunkissed bodies get refreshed in the shower.

Complaints? I’d say there were none!

The ultimate refreshment machine by Ogilvy, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Concepts with heart

MetropolitanRepublic puts taste on the fingertips of the visually impaired.

This is exactly how talkability is started and the power it has to take an idea and make it viral. Ironic that you are watching this – all things considered. What you choose to share through social media is the real clincher.

I like. Do you?

Creative Director: Wes Phelan
Art Director: Dale Mullany
Copywriter: Keith Manning
Director: Will Collinson
Music: Loyiso Madinga
Photographer: Mike & Nick
Retoucher: Darren Bell

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