So a security company many of us have never heard of, called Xpanda has been in the headlines for their racist and sexist radio and print ads. Many analysts (people who just talk and get nothing at all done, but usually have fancy titles like doctor) have called these ads bad advertising. I question how this is bad advertising though. Any half informed South African now knows the security brand Xpanda and one of the most important elements of a good advertising campaign is creating brand awareness. A campaign’s goal is get people to remember the brand and what it offers. Has Xpanda not delivered a campaign that created brand awareness that will cause people to remember the brand and what they offer?
Quite frankly it’s a terrible ad that lacks any creativity or imagination but this has been a very successful campaign. The amount of exposure gained by the company, through the controversy that ensued has guaranteed the success of the whole campaign. What really grabbed my attention though was Xpanda’s response to the critics through their press release which read as follows;
Xpanda Security South Africa “We sincerely thank you for the correspondence and thoughts regarding the radio ad we have just flighted.
It is VERY IMPORTANT though to understand that we have by no means singled out any one ethnic group, as we have recorded 4 ads in total for this campaign (a white Afrikaans male, an Indian, a black male and a Coloured) who all explain how they ended up in jail. This means that we have covered all the major ethnic groups in South Africa and have NOT singled out one group from another.
We honestly feel that you will be a bit more enlightened and feel less aggrieved once you hear the other 3 ads.
That being said, crime is such a sensitive topic in the country at the moment – so all we intended doing was adding a bit of humour to what is normally a very bleak topic.
We apologize that you feel offended but can assure you that once you hear the entire campaign – and hear the white guy, the indian guy and the coloured guy – you will feel more at ease.
Everyone who recorded/worked on these ads (white, black, coloured) had a blast doing them and shared the same view as we do – and that is that we are ALL South Africans, and we all add a unique flavour to this diverse and amazing country that we live in.
We will be releasing the other radio ads shortly and hope you will have a better, holistic understanding of the campaign once you hear the rest of the ads, and will be at peace knowing no single group of people were singled out.”
Rockstars! So not only did the company not apologize for the ad but they are going to deliver three more ads to round off the campaign and the whole country knows about this and they didn’t even pay a cent. Now I know why many South Africans would interpret this ad as being racist. The company chose to do this ad using such words as “madam”, and then that gross attempt of a black accent, which definitely paints the picture that black people are the face of crime in South Africa. Yet I have to question are we not taking this race thing just a tad too far? There seems to be a outcry of racism with every ad that takes the mickey out of us. Ads like Khulula’s ‘South African Airways’ rip off have been accused of being racist for reasons unknown to this blogger.
So is stereotyping now off limits for South African advertisers? Are we going to be accused of being racist every time there’s an Indian guy with rims on his car in an ad? Is it really racist or is it perhaps a deeply scarred nation that it still trying to get over the deep wrongs of apartheid. The Advertising Standards of South Africa will be making a decision shortly about the merits of the ad and their decision will have big ramifications for South Africa’s advertising industry. I believe (and I’m no fancy analyst) that we have taken a very average ad and given it enough publicity to become a successful campaign.
That’s our piece and tell them you heard it from Matt “The Rat” Mkhize. Incase anyone from Xpanda reads this or anyone out there needs some motivation, here is a link to the 25 Most Racist Ads of All Time. If you’d like a transcript of the Xpanda advertisement, please read below. Otherwise, Follow us Starving Creative or follow @Mr_MediaX
Here’s the transcript of the oh so racist radio ad decide for yourself;
Voice artists 1: “What you inside for, boet?”
Voice artists 2: “Eish, I was so hungry. So I walk up to the kitchen by the boss’s house and grab a roast chicken. The madam, she slammed the Xpanda door in my face. No way out. That is how I ended up in jail, with no chicken. Eish.” (Voice artist two has a terrible impersonation of a black accent)
Voice artists 3: “Xpanda, arguably the world’s best barrier security company. Dial 0861972632, or visit Xpanda.co.za, to get your safety on.”