Living in South Africa, almost everyone has their own memories or associations with slap chips. Originally something enjoyed with fresh battered fish covered in newspaper, it is now something that can be relished at home, thanks to McCain.
They recently released their slap chips ad, battered with sentimentality and reminiscence. There is no wonder why this ad has been voted as one of the Milward Brown’s 20 best liked ads in South Africa at the moment.
The ad opens with a scene of a boy and his father leaning against an old car eating slap chips off the bonnet of the car. They both dip their chips in tomato sauce and then the scene is fast-forwarded to where the boy in the first scene is grown-up and is having the same ‘slap chip moment’ with his own son at home.
The marketing manager of McCain South Africa, Deolinda Da Costa, said they tried to “encapsulate the nostalgia related with eating slap chips” and that food really has a special place in our daily lives and relationships. Although it may seem as if McCain has added some oozing metaphorical cheese to their slap chips advert, it has evidently paid off.
The Millward Brown list of best-liked ads doesn’t seem to be the easiest list to get onto either. They start measuring the success of ads two weeks after its launch and it is measured through consumer awareness and recall of the brand and ad. About 1900 ads are tested against a weekly sample of 200 strict demographically chosen TV viewers.
I would argue that the reason that this ad is so generally well-liked and received in South Africa, is because of its relatability. The viewer can imagine all of the good times they have had eating slap chips, whether is was at the harbour, on holiday, with vinegar or tomato sauce and these are the memories that ignite emotive response and memorability in the viewer.
It could be argued that the vinegar and the tomato sauce that accompany the slap chips in the ad, symbolise the way that slap chips has attributed to the South African culture and cultural memory.
On a deeper introspective level, there is a possibility that McCain is touching on a deeper theme here: one about our ever westernising South African culture, and how McCain is attempting to keep it local – keeping the focus on the celebration of South African traditions and how we can bring it back home to our families and kitchens.
Marguerite Nel is a second year year copywriting student at Red & Yellow.
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