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Five Successful SA Social Media Campaigns

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

Need inspiration for your next social media campaign? The following South African campaigns play on our uniquely Mzansi context, and often the national pride which comes along with it.

The campaigns all inspired their social media audience to engage in a strong and responsive way, making their way into our greatest hits list.

1. Lay’s

Facebook Audience: 6.6 Million

Instagram Audience: 700 000+

Twitter Audience: 400 000+

Lays is a name of a brand for several potato chip varieties. Lays is one of the most popular chip brands in South Africa. They have been around for more than 80 years and are a very well-known brand. In South Africa, during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, Lay’s presented the “You Gotta Love Cricket” Campaign. South African’s cricket captain AB De Villiers was the face of the campaign and appeared on limited edition flavoured Lay’s. The campaign also included television commercials featuring AB, competitions for cricket fans to win VIP tickets to the World Cup Final, and the “Lay’s Cricket in the Nets” activation. The activation involved setting up cricket nets in select venues across South Africa that encouraged participants to bowl each other out. It allowed the brand to really engage with consumers and fans and align themselves with one of the country’s most loved sports. In addition to AB De Villiers, Lay’s has featured the faces of other famous sporting South African favourites on their chip packets. These personalities include Olympic gold medalist Ryk Neethling and 1995 Springbok rugby captain, Francois Pienaar – creating a connection between the brand and South African pride.

What one can learn from this campaign is that micro-influencer marketing drives brand awareness. It won’t be s heavy of an impact if one had a big-name brand ambassador, influencer but it works through authentic promotion. Lay’s was highlighting South African’s love for cricket and rewarding fans via an engaging You’ve Gotta Love Cricket campaign. To stick to what your brand represents (which in the case of Lay’s is youthful optimism), they developed relationships with micro-influencers and/ brand ambassadors, and let the world see how delicious their product is.

2. Nando’s

Facebook Audience: 4.2 Million

Instagram Audience: 1000+ Twitter Audience: 100 000+

Nando’s is an international casual dining restaurant chain originating in South Africa. The iconic South African fast food restaurant specialising in peri-peri- chicken is known for its witty (and often risqué) satire of current events. Nando’s advertisements tap into local humour as a vehicle for marketing their food – and they have built their brand on it. Their ongoing social media competitions and engagement with followers across all platforms has also been advantageous for the brand, which has grown exponentially over the last decade. There are now over 1 000 Nando’s stores in 30 different countries across the globe, and it’s widely considered to be South Africa’s most successful food franchise. While much of Nando’s marketing is reactive in nature, they are known to engage in their tongue-in-cheek micro-campaigns. One such example was entitled, “#rightmyname”. Seeing the names of loved ones flagged as spelling mistakes with jagged red lines under them will be a familiar experience for many people around the world. It is particularly common in South Africa which has 11 official languages and a vast spectrum of cultural heritage and naming conventions. To combat the problem, South African chicken restaurant chain Nando's launched a campaign to force spellcheckers to recognize local names instead of flagging them as typos. It encourages users to submit their names to an online database which will be used to generate a spellcheck update for common word processors.

What one can learn from Nando’s on going banter campaigns is that sometimes a great one-liner for an advertisement is simply inspired by a newspaper headline. So, when in need of a muse, look to current affairs. In addition to being hilarious, relevant and sometimes controversial, Nando’s advertisements are unique both in style and content (note their signature font and it’s instant recognisability). Lastly, don’t forget the power of authenticity and humour. Nando’s pulls off the witty and satirical humour, they have fun with their marketing campaigns, and as far as their content goes, they market to ‘local is lekker.’

3. Vodacom

Instagram Audience: 17 000+

Facebook Audience: 1.2 Million+ Twitter Audience: 300 000+

Vodacom is the leading mobile provider in South Africa and has operations in several other African countries including Mozambique, Congo and Tanzania. It is the local arm of Vodafone’s global network controlled now via a 65% shareholding. Through several simultaneous campaigns, Vodacom has a solid social media presence, especially on Twitter.

These campaigns include: #VodacomNXTLVL, #PlayEveyDay and Proud sponsor of #VDJ2017, just to name a few. Evident in their social media platforms, they engage well in conversations with their #RedTeam followers ranging from professional service help to sometimes personal. “100Gigs hookup” was Vodacom’s latest campaign. Vodacom was giving 100gigabytes of data to 10 lucky winners every day. There are two way of entering the 100 GB Hook-up. One, customers will be able to claim one free entry per day via the competition page on the Vodacom app. Secondly, customers will receive 20 entries for every bundle that they purchase via the app (free bundles are not included) – will be able to do so an unlimited number of times per day. The gigabyte prize bundle is valid for 30 days.

Vodacom’s goal is to ensure that they are the customer brand of choice, with a brand that reflects their core purpose of helping everybody live a better today and build a better tomorrow. Their brand promise is ‘power to you’, which they want to achieve by democratising Internet access and bridging the digital divide in the communities they serve. They strive to build trust with their stakeholders by ensuring customer excellence and developing a deserved reputation for being a sustainability pioneer and a leader in transformation and Black Economic Empowerment. What one can learn from Vodacom is that they know how to grab their consumers attention through their campaigns and deals. Vodacom has a level of superiority attached to it, and that title and view is what grabs consumers attention. They live up to their name of being a brand of choice by creating campaigns which look and feel like one has the power (‘power to you’).

4. Consol Glass

Facebook Audience: 50 000+

Instagram Audience: 3 000+

Twitter Audience: 5 000+

Consol Glass is the leading glass packaging manufacturer in Southern Africa. You may be familiar with a few of their latest innovations, namely the Grip and Go Glass, a glass water bottle with colourful grips. Or perhaps the Solar Jar, a light housed inside a consol glass bottle that’s fueled by solar energy. Their latest campaign (which came second place at the most liked ad list) shows a young girl enjoying a visit to her local park. She purposefully empties her Consol preserve jar of its wholesome treats. Whilst playing in the park, she holds up the empty glass jar to fill it with the different sounds and memories of the park. At the end of the day, she takes her jar filled with memories from the day home to her granny, who is blind. Hse ena – enabling her gran to experience the park for herself just like she experienced it earlier, showing in a magical way that the best things in life are felt and shared, not necessarily seen.

What one can learn from Consol is how to play on nostalgia and emotive advertising. What Consol did right was touch on the emotive side of their viewers and audience. They don’t underestimate the power of marketing to people’s emotions. Their campaign “it’s good. It’s in glass” grabbed the attention of individuals emotive side and tugged at their heart strings. Consol Glass is passionate about glass, with the little clink you hear when two glasses meet, and with how its versatility never fails to surprise us. After more than 70 years of making glass in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes, there’s no sign of that ever changing. After all, the best things come in glass.

5. Sol Beer

Facebook Audience: 900 000+

Instagram Audience: 2500+

Twitter Audience: 600+

Sol Beer is the original Mexican Beer company which came to South Africa with a whole new campaign strategy. They implemented the idea of ‘Real-time’ aspect campaigns, which became a critical aspect of their social media presence. They wanted to ensure that the photos they selected for the billboards were relevant and fresh and not several months or even years old, and digital is a medium that enables you to source content and use it in real-time to ensure relevance. Their most recent campaign called ‘My sunshine in a bottle’ pushes the boundaries of a traditional through-the-line campaign by taking the most popular posts from 60 social influencers and broadcasting them on digital billboards across Gauteng and the Western Cape.

The campaign exceeded all expectations and targets, achieving a unique follower reach of 900 000 and a massive increase in user engagement. The interactive campaign allowed not only social influencers, but locals to post about what their idea of freedom in the sun is, showing just how many ways there are to celebrate the summer sunshine and independent Mexican spirit that SOL embodies. Every day three of the best posts were broadcasted on digital billboards across Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, showing that digital campaigns can translate in the traditional media space. The campaign uses of a variety of different influencers to engage with a wide range of audiences. By using a wide variety of influencers, it allows them to extend the reach of the campaign, through the secondary audiences of the influencers, adding real value and feel to the campaign. This campaign is special because it’s a first for South Africa. To combine social media and billboards in real time while showcasing the spirit of SOL beer through South African digital influencers is a unique and different approach to a campaign. They used their market to their advantage, with a campaign that’s sounds and feels attractive to their market.

Want to learn more about building your very own killer successful social media campaign? Check out our Introduction to Social Media Marketing course to come to grips with the possibilities of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and much more!

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