Good catch, Nissan

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

Orchids and onions: Carmaker’s TV commercial gets it right but wording in The New Age ad prompts a snigger and earns an onion.

Kagiso Rabada may be the destroyer-in-chief for the Proteas cricket team – and the N0 1-ranked one-day bowler – but he still has an innocence and naivety about him which is appealing.

He’s also a great role model for our youngsters and offers the whole country a glimpse of the better people we could be. Watch him today when the Proteas play in the ICC Champions Trophy in the UK and when he is successful, you will see a sort of baffled delight cross his face.

It’s wonderful.

And if you’re a big brand, you’d be jumping in to take advantage of that.

That’s something carmaker Nissan have cleverly done – and timed it perfectly to take advantage of the Proteas campaign at the Champions Trophy.

It’s a pretty standard ad as far as sports-related executions go but it is Rabada who elevates it to memorable. We see a bunch of cricket fans – all driving Nissans, of course – arriving for a cricket match.

But there’s something odd: why is the security guard allowing them special access?

They park, haul out the camping chairs and all the other kit you need for a successful match. As they set themselves up, the fans are eagerly listening to the commentary leading up to the start of the match.

And then the security guard throws the switch, which brings on the stadium lights.

Curiouser and curiouser. What’s going on? As the camera pans back for a wide shot, we see they are all at an empty Wanderers Stadium in Joburg, watching the game on the big screen.

Then they put in a video call to Rabada, who is about to play. Somehow, the bowling hero manages to look as though he is genuinely enjoying the moment – as he does with his cricket – rather than being a mere actor in a commercial. Well done, Kagiso.

You get the first Orchid. Nissan gets the next for spotting his talent and making him their brand ambassador, while their agency, TBWA, gets the third for putting it all together.

Putting up a fight

I do appreciate that The New Age newspaper and the other Gupta-owned spin machine, the TV channel ANN7, have to convey the propaganda which suits their masters and which helps divert attention from their masters’ friend, Number One.

But I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw their ad this week – in their own paper, no real advertisers seem to frequent its pages – for the “Fight for Financial Liberation”.

The last line reads: “We need to break up the old guard’s monopoly control over the economy.”

This is, in fact, exactly what the Gupta klepto-network stands accused of doing: breaking up the old guard monopoly and establishing a “new guard”, where billions in taxpayers’ money and kickbacks allegedly flows to them for very little effort. When you write advertising copy, you must ensure that it cannot be misinterpreted or used against you, especially in a cynical, mocking way.

This ad fails that test, so it gets an Onion. And that’s no leek (heh, heh, heh).

  • I’ve been writing this column in various publications for 15 years. Every week I hand out an Orchid for brilliant advertising or marketing and an Onion for the rubbish. I’d love to hear about what ads you love and those you hate. Drop me a line at


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