There are so many talented and unique Afrikaans creative professionals in South Africa yet their work is often not recognised or valued. Clients do not want to commission advertising agencies to create campaigns in Afrikaans and will occasionally translate an English campaign, but the impact is not the same.
There are many reasons for this, budget is of course primary, as it is much easier to create a global or national campaign in English, but is this sometimes false economy and would there not be a greater return on investment (ROI) if the adverting campaign was conceptualised in the vernacular?
The late John Farquhar in his article, One-size-fits-all mentality, that appeared on Bizcommunity in 2012, wrote, “There is an old saying in communication which proposes a simple human truth, ‘If you want me to listen to what you have to say, then speak to me in my language.’ Unfortunately, the advertising industry, peopled as it is by English culture, had great difficulty in understanding the culture and psyche of the Afrikaner. The result of this disconnect was advertising in Afrikaans media based on creative ideas which were formulated from the perspective of English culture. These translations lacked sincerity, and their impact was weak.”
The few advertisements crafted by Afrikaners who understood their people stood out like a bright beacon. When the content of an advertisement becomes the topic of conversation amongst the public then it is resonating and doing the job of laying down the foundation of creating a dialogue with its target market, which is what all advertising should work to achieve if it wants to fulfill its economic task of stimulating sales,” (taken from a chapter contributed in a book, Marketing The Same Difference, authored by Louis Seeco).
There is a general lack of support for advertising created in Afrikaans and this is doing the advertising industry a disservice. We have seen the lack of recognition and support filter down from industry heads and clients to the creative professionals themselves, who do not seem to want to waste their time with something that is seen as irrelevant, or even worse politically incorrect.
In the article, Pendorings: Thorn in Creative Circles side?, published in The Media Online last Thursday there was discussion about why the Pendoring Awards are not included by Creative Circle in their ranking points for The Loeries. The article quoted Herman Manson’s Mark Lives.com blog who wrote last year that this had discouraged creative agencies to enter the Pendorings even though they have secured credibility in the industry.
The reasons for the lack of support for advertising being created in Afrikaans is unclear, perhaps it is a misconception that Afrikaans speakers are conservative and white. However, according to a recent SAIRR (South African Institute of Race Relations) study, based on data from the 2011 census, only 40% of first language Afrikaans speakers are white. This means that out of 6.9 million people who speak the language at home, 2.7 million are white, while the rest are from other racial groups.
It is initiatives like Ads24’s annual Think Afrikaans campaign and The Pendoring Awards what will help dispel this myth and give vibrant, cutting-edge Afrikaans creative the voice it needs. Media24 Afrikaans titles have a loyal readership base and consumers are much more likely to be persuaded by advertising that is in their own language.
Call to Action for Creative Professionals to support this cause – enter Think Afrikaans
Every year Ads24 invites creative Afrikaans speakers to celebrate their mother tongue and it’s unique take on creativity, by designing a koel T-shirt, but this year they’ve added the ‘fotoverhaal’ as an innovative prologue with a funky retro feel.
Dina De Vine, creative director of Mortimer Harvey said, “In terms of how we came up with the idea, it was a brainstorm session and since the Creative Director is not as young as she used to be, she could recall how popular photo novels were in her youth. We loved the fact that it was such an entertaining use of the printed medium – it was practically printed on newspaper, and it seemed a great and very entertaining and interactive way to encourage the industry to Think Afrikaans by simply filling in speech bubbles and adding interesting creative elements to the story.”
Think Afrikaans and you’ll think of a descriptive language with a colourful tradition of storytelling. Before die ‘kassie’ (TV) and die ‘wêreldwye web’ (interweb), there was die ‘draadloos’ (radio), ‘spotprente’ (comics) and the ‘pièce de Afrikaans résistance, fotoverhale’ (photo novels). They were cool then and, in something of a cult revival, they are now retro-cool. The inspiration comes from Afrikaans comics such as Bittercomix which are a great example of cutting edge Afrikaans creativity.
The initial phase of the Think Afrikaans competition involves the completion of a ‘fotoverhaal’ or an Afrikaans picture novel.. Every two weeks there will be two spreads (a DPS) to complete by filling in the speech bubbles and some picture props. The winner of the best pages that are selected to continue the story for the next two weeks gets R1 000, runners-up will receive R500.
Once the picture novel is complete, entrants will be invited to design a suitable front cover for the ‘fotoverhaal’ as part of the Ads24 annual T-shirt design competition. This leg of the competition has some fantastic prizes on offer, including an Apple MacBook Pro, Apple iPhone 5 and Apple iPad.
To enter please click go to the following link: www.ads24.co.za/thinkafrikaans
Bittercomix full-link: http://www.oulitnet.co.za/komix/