Thursday, July 12, 2012


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Television is one of the strongest methods of advertising. It is one of the most popular and common mediums in South Africa. The television advertising campaign for the cellular network-Vodacom has a series of adverts that form a relative image in the mind of the consumer. This is because they use the same characters in each of their adverts as well as keep a common theme, for example, humor with all the series of adverts.

The advert that we have chosen on television has been manipulated to suit the rugby world cup. Since Vodacom is one of the leading sponsors of the South African Springboks, they used an advert that was previously used to advertise the free emergency number that the Vodacom network entitles its subscriber to. The advert takes place in a rugby stadium where an eventful match is taking place. There is a couple, commonly known to the ‘Voda-world’ as the couple that is always getting into trouble leaving the ‘hero’ with the Vodacom cellular phone to bail them out. In this advert the crowd goes wild with excitement as one of the rugby players scores touch goal. The ignorant girlfriend, however, aims an orange at him and it hits him on the head. This causes him to get really angry.

The crowd moves away from them and the couple is left alone to face the wrath of the furious rugby player. It is at this point where everyone takes out his or her cellular phones and dials the emergency number that is free from the Vodacom network. However, as stated earlier on, the rugby world cup is on, the advert omits the original purpose of the advert i.e. to advertise the free emergency number and now focuses on the product’s role on the South African rugby team. However, although the purpose of the advert has been modified, the original purpose is not totally neglected. It does exist, however, the advert will not gain attention for the emergency number but rather on the World Cup.

Bothma gives us two ways in which we can assess certain styles that an advert compromises of, these are what he call ‘creative appeals’ (Bothma 00; 66-67). These advertising approaches are divided into two categories i.e. rational and emotional or subjective. By applying these two approaches to the advert we have chosen, we will be able to filter through the advert and observe certain advertising techniques.

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The first approach that is the rational approach focuses mainly on the advertising objectives for the product as well as certain facts i.e. quality traits of the product itself. According to Bothma, the message will have information about the properties of a product (Bothma 00; 66). Like Bothma, I believe this approach to be more successful because this approach plays on the imagination as well as the desires of human nature. By doing this, the advertisement will draw in larger audiences as well as reach the desired goals for the consumers

Bothma further describes many approaches under this category. However, the one most relevant to the Vodacom advert is the Product Popularity Approach and this is the approach that we will be discussing in further detail. According to this approach, the advertiser plays on the mind of the consumer by taking into account factors such as their personal preferences and human nature characteristics. By doing this, they are able to play on human emotion such as greed, desire and the need to fit in to society to get their desired goal.

In the Vodacom advert, the rugby game is used because at the moment, rugby is a popular sport in South Africa, not to mention, the rugby set provides a link to the sponsorship of the world cup. This scene allows the viewer to identify with the set and the characters in it. The main scene in the advert that gives us insight to why this advert falls under this particular category is when everyone calls the emergency number. This provides us with an idea of trend setting schemes in order for us to properly analyze the advertisement. The fact that everyone uses the cellular network Vodacom and everyone looks confident that this is the ‘in thing’ in terms of cellular providers creates an image in the mind of the viewer to this effect. The viewer would want to be part of this trend, as he/she will want to feel part of the bigger picture. The advertiser knows this and plays on this fact, thus he hopes to gain the desired objective that he has set for the outcome of the advert.

Now, let us take a look at the objective or Creative appeal. This kind of appeal deals with a specific target audience in mind. It takes into consideration certain demographics such as age, sex, and personal preferences and tries to lure audience’s in. it enables consumers to identify with the chosen characteristics that the advert portrays. Bothma believes that this approach is more successful and will obtain better results than the rational approach (Bothma 00; 66). Like Bothma, I believe this to be true because this approach plays on the imagination as well as the desired of human nature. By doing this, the advertisement will draw in larger audiences and consumers. Like the other appeal, there are many different approaches under this category; however, we will only be discussing those that are relevant to the advert.

The most important approach that is directly related to this advert is the humorous approach. This is what the advertisers used in the Vodacom advertisement. According to Bothma, this kind of approach is exciting initially to viewers but soon enough, it is bound to bore the audiences soon enough. However, I beg to differ, the series of Vodacom adverts provides a unique and insightful way of looking at the properties of the product. These adverts have been going on for years and have been successful ever since they first began.

The next approach is referred to as the Slogans and jingles approach. This approach creates familiarity between the viewer, the advert and the product. The most common of all Vodacom adverts are the familiar sound of the man who always rescues them with his phone call. His famous saying whilst talking on the phone requesting help is ‘Yebo-Gogo’ or ‘Hello-Vodacom’. This creates a programmed image in the mind of the viewer enabling us to recite these lines on and off television times.

This leads us to the fact that the Vodacom advertisement that we are currently analyzing is actually one of several that seem to follow up on each other. The advertising agency that dealt with Vodacom was ingenious when it decided to design follow up advertisements that consumers could identify with. The infamous yebo gogo captions and the consistent characters � the old man with the cellphone, the very ignorant middle aged man who thinks he knows and can do everything, and a recent addition his blondish type girlfriend � make the vodacom advertisements something that consumers want to watch. In fact, some people actually wait in anticipation to see what these characters will be up to next.

Now the question that we as marketing students have to ask is what are the marketing objectives behind this type of advertising? What do the advertisers plan to achieve and why is their approach to advertising so different from the rest?

Marketing objectives are essentially implemented before the actual advertisement is created. They define “the goals of an advertising campaign or exercise.” (Bothma, 00 7) They are seen as the guidelines for the whole marketing strategy that goes into the creation of an advertisement. The objectives are “part of the broader marketing communication objectives”. (Bothma, 00 4) The basic questions that need to be attended to are what the essential message to be delivered is; what audience (target market) are you dealing with; what do you expect to happen (the effect of the advertising campaign); and what kind of strategy are you going to implement in order to evaluate the success of the advertisement. (Bothma, 00 44)

In terms of the advertisement that we are discussing it seems that the essential message that Vodacom want to throw across is awareness of their services as a cellular network provider, in this case the emergency call number that can be dialled for free whenever or wherever there is an emergency. Hence, the advertisements always deal with the middle-aged man falling into some sort of dangerous and harmful situation from which only an emergency call can save him. Here, we see that he is being carried away on a stretcher that was called in by the older man on his cellphone. Other information the advertising agency would want to portray would be that of the quick response of the vodacom emergency service. This is shown through the fact that the emergency unit was sent to the rugby field which is where the incident occurred. Therefore, no time was wasted portraying the quick response of the vodacom emergency service. All of this relates to the objective of creating awareness.

This particular advertisement however, is also linked to a public relations campaign, in the form of a sponsorship. The caption at the end of the advertisement states that the consumer must not miss the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Hence, Vodacom is sponsoring the Rugby World Cup, in an attempt to emphasize their brand image. Thus, one of their objectives would be image advertising, in order “to reinforce a favourable image of [their cellular network].” (Bothma, 00 46) The Rugby World Cup’s mass media coverage would be advantageous to Vodacom’s advertising needs and objectives.

The other objective that I can pick up is that the advertising agency intended to enforce the idea of the vodacom service image into the mind of the consumer. In the same respect, the advertiser is inadvertently reminding the customers to purchase this product. This is done through the function of frequency which is defined as “The number of times, on average, that the members of the target audience are exposed to (see, read or hear) the advertiser’s message in the media vehicle in a given time period.” (Bothma, 00 145) Therefore, if you observe the frequency of exposure of the Vodacom advertisements then it is simple to see that this service provider’s objectives are to remind the consumer about the product and its benefits. This is as a result of the existence of three cellular networks in South Africa, all competing to “keep their own products and brands foremost in the minds of their customers.” (Bothma, 00 46) One must remember that the main aim of any organization is to increase purchase. Therefore, the main aim of Vodacom’s advertising campaign would be to increase the number of consumers who will subscribe to them.

Another advertising objective deals with the type of audience that the advertisement will appeal to, in other words, the target market. In this particular case Vodacom is attempting to attract the attention of the national rugby team supporters and all other South Africans who will be watching and following the Rugby World Cup, trying to imprint the image into the consumers mind so that when he or she think World Cup Rugby, then he or she inadvertently thinks Vodacom. The target market also includes those consumers who own cellphones. Additionally it seems that the old man in the advertisement is extremely techno savvy, thereby implying that anyone, no matter what age, gender or creed, can utilize the services offered by Vodacom.

The intended effects of the advertising strategy would be to reach a greater clientele � this is subsequently the most significant factor in advertising. This is clearly as a result of the fact that advertising on television has a greater reach than most other media institutions. Also, to enable those who are already subscribed to the service provider to reap the benefits of services offered, in this case, Vodacom’s emergency service. Lastly, they would want consumers to acknowledge the fact that Vodacom does indeed support South African sports, thereby increasing the popularity of their brand image.

The evaluation of the success of the advertising campaign can be measured through the number of brand switches that occur before, during and after the Rugby World Cup. If there is an increase in Vodacom subscribers then the goal of the advertiser’s objectives would have been achieved. Through these types of actions we can observe that the advertisers see advertising as an important strategy in the marketing communications mix. They would not be so enthusiastic to spend money on television advertising if they saw it as an insignificant part of the marketing communication process.

We are fairly certain that the advertisers who deal with Vodacom believe that evoking emotion in a consumer is what constitutes a ‘good’ advertisement. This is as a result of the fact that most of Vodacom’s advertisements contain either a comic element to it or as, in the baby advertisement, a sense of longing to ‘seize the moment’. We can see that they take particular pride in creating advertisements that can be followed up on. Not only with the yebo gogo advertisements but also with the live for the moment advertisements. The other factor is of course that an advertisement must be able to bring in more customers. One will know whether an advertisement is a good one once the evaluation has been done.

It is fairly obvious that television advertising involves an extremely large amount of planning. Without the proper methods an organization would literally be disadvantaged. For example, if the advertising campaign is not successful then the organization would have lost money and there is a danger that their image would be tainted as well. Therefore, it is vital that all aspects are taken into account, i.e. the budget, the objectives, etc.

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