Marketing & Media Opinion South Africa

#OrchidsandOnions: SuperSport URC ad delights, AutoTrader Valentine's ad cruel

Loadshedding, as most of us know from bitter experience, can play havoc with your electronic equipment.
#OrchidsandOnions: SuperSport URC ad delights, AutoTrader Valentine's ad cruel

Loadshedding, as most of us know from bitter experience, can play havoc with your electronic equipment.

I suppose we did have warnings when our DStv decoder would have to be rebooted after going pear-shaped a few times when the power came back on (in a spike, probably).

Finally, though, every trick I could come up with didn’t help.

For three days, we sat without the satellite service. No big deal, I thought, because I had developed a small addiction over the Covid lockdown to YouTube videos on cars, planes and crashes involving them.

Then I discovered I would struggle without being able to flick up and down through the news channels, from BBC to Al Jazeera,/i>.

On YouTube, there are precious few broadcasters that live stream their products.

I found Sky News and Al Jazeera, but local stations like eNCA, SABC and Newzroom Afrika just produced packages inserts.

When my wife took the decoder into MultiChoice, they agreed that it was probably fried beyond resurrection. And then helped transfer ownership to us of my brother-in-law’s more advanced decoder (they are emigrating).

The new decoder was up and running just in time for the last of the SA20 cricket (real entertainment that was) and the Six Nations Rugby (great entertainment, too, even allowing for the fact the Whingeing Poms are taking part).

SuperSport’s light-hearted reminder

I suppose I was in a bit of a pro-DStv mood when I saw their latest promo for SuperSport, focusing on the Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC).

Even though I am not fanatical about this form of the game – I can take it or leave it– I found the ad appealing, mainly because it was silly and didn’t take itself too seriously.

The premise was that SuperSport’s new “performance coach”, Gerrie Boonzaaier, is showing us what he is doing, from beefing up security to demanding better standards from the team mascots. Finally, he finishes up, live, with SuperSport’s rugby presenters and analysts.

What I like about it is that the whole thing is pretty relaxed – what you should be when settling down in front of the TV to enjoy a game of rugby.

Even the presenters have a chuckle when Gerrie asks: “Why are no of you wearing shoes?”

That, clearly, happens a lot in a hot studio – because no one can see your shoes behind the presenters’ desk.

It’s a light-hearted reminder about what DStv offers, and perhaps what you’ll miss when you don’t have it.

AutoTrader: Sad and most cruel

One of the saddest – and most cruel – ads I’ve seen in a long time was one AutoTrader did for Valentine’s Day.

It showed a woman, waiting for her Valentine’s date, scanning AutoTrader ads, hoping the dude picking her up would be in a shiny, expensive BMW.

He eventually turns up in a bakkie which has seen (many) better days. The passenger door doesn’t open or close properly and it doesn’t start.

As the little gold-digger climbs out – taking the flowers and chocolates her hapless suitor has bought her – she advises him to go on to AutoTrader to get some better wheels.

Never mind that this guy is probably a hard-working man with only one vehicle to cover business and personal needs.

He probably supports relatives and will probably be a whole lot more solvent in the medium and long term than some fashion-chasing clever, who has got himself up to his neck in debt chasing shiny objects to impress the girls.

I once took out a girl “from the other side of town” (the better part), whose parents thought I was beneath her – maybe because I used my mother’s car when taking her out (I was a trainee journalist in those days) and, when that wasn’t available, went around to see her on my bicycle.

She defied her parents to carry on seeing me and when it ended – as these things do – it wasn’t because of the bicycle… it was because she was leaving the country and I didn’t have the guts to follow.

Which is by way of saying “je sui (I am) the man in the bakkie”.

This ad is just plain offensive, and I wager would get more negative than positive responses from people who view it.

That’s Onion material….

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.
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