Columns 24.2.2018 08:45 am

Orchids and Onions – Nedbank eases tax pain

It’s yet another Orchid to Toyota and to its ad agency, FCB Joburg, while the Onion goes to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and his anti-obesity campaign.

My colleague and friend, Paballo, is a photographer and, as is the mark of a top cameraperson, he can be slightly obsessive about getting things right: exposure, composition, expression – they all have to be just so.

So I wasn’t at all surprised when he dropped me a note to say he loves the latest TV ad for Toyota’s Land Cruiser Prado – because it’s about photographic obsession.

We see the Prado clambering over rock and up impossibly steep mountainsides. The man is driving and employs each weapon in the Prado’s arsenal – the gears, the outside view cameras, the angle gauges – to go whither the woman directs him.

You do wonder about what her intention is … until they reach where they are headed and she hauls out her long-lensed camera and readies to get the shot of the elusive bird she has been seeking.

A pause here to consider the combination of both types of obsessive – the photographer and the twitcher. And the partner of any such person will, no doubt, get the rewards in heaven for their endless patience.

After the long uphill trek and the perfect position, she-with-the-camera begins to focus while he is focusing on what appears to be a mark on the windscreen. He rubs it and it doesn’t go – so he turns on the wipers. And off the bird goes. Cue the angry, “you are such a moron” stare from her.

But then, they see the bird again. And they’re off.

Everyone’s happy because he gets to play some more and she – hopefully – will get the shot she wants. It’s cute and, like the best ads, it highlights the features of the product it is trying to sell.

So, yet another Orchid to Toyota and to its ad agency, FCB Joburg. That’s a partnership that’s been going 40 years so it’s no surprise Toyota is one of the country’s top brands.

prado3

Nedbank had a finely crafted print ad, which ran the day after the budget this week.

Apart from being eye-catching, both pictorially and in the words used – “Budgets can be taxing. That’s why we have a bank account that isn’t” – the product was pitched at a perfect time: when everyone was feeling the pain of the various tax hikes shoved down our throats by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Nedbank’s tax-free account is something a lot of people will have looked at and will be considering, given that the government is squeezing us in so many places.

I don’t suppose it took a rocket scientist to figure out that there would be tax pain in the budget but Nedbank’s timing was perfect, nevertheless. An Orchid to Nedbank and to their agency, Joe Public.

I wish that Aaron Motsoaledi, minister of health, would stop acting like the rest of his ego-obsessed Cabinet colleagues when it comes to spending taxpayer money – yes, this is the week to be hammering on about that! – on communication campaigns.

Motsoaledi is one of the few ministers from the Zuma administration who should retain his job … but his latest ad campaign, warning about obesity, shows he is just as out of touch with marketing communications as the rest of them.

Why, oh why, minister, do you think it necessary to have your mugshot attached to the obesity campaign? You are not obese and the sight of yet another minister in an ad could easily get a person to turn the page.

When will you apparatchiks in government learn: you are servants, not stars. We care about what you do, not your image.

Dear Comrade Ramaphosa, please tell your ministers to stop wasting our money promoting themselves. And while you’re at it, can’t you force them to drive Toyota Corollas or VW Polos (they’re made here, so it’s all about jobs …)

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