12 Jan KayaFM Radio Interview – Marketing, Advertising & Communication
Host: For the average Afropolitan, when you think about a black-owned advertising agency in South Africa, what companies springs to mind? Yeah.
You probably have to think about that significantly and pause for a second and actually realize that perhaps we are not very familiar with them because there is a significant shortage of black-owned advertising agencies Or if you’re like me and looking for a cop-out, you’ll probably think about generations. What are the most popular soapies in South Africa as well as the Moroca Family and they’re holding in advertising company? But today, we are joined by two significant guests who are bold players within South Africa’s advertising and marketing space, running their own media firms and are significant participants in really trying to drive transformation within the sector as we look to understand and critique the standards or norms of South Africa’s creative and advertising industry today.
I’m joined in studio by Lufuno Makungo, who is the Founder of Ngano
Media. He’s also the Head of Dzuguda Digital Advertising or rather the head of advertising at Dzuguda Digital, as well as Bongani Gosa, who’s the Founder and CEO of BWD Advertising. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your time in the studio. I’m excited about this conversation, so much to explore and yet very limited time. Perhaps we start off by allowing you both briefly in 30 seconds just to give us some insight as to who you are within the advertising space and just exactly how you earn your stripes for us to understand how you play a role in the context of this conversation. Bongani?
Bongani: Bongani Gosa. The company started back in 2006, we started mainly as a website design company, evolved into a digital agency then into a full-service agency. Sort of like I’ve said, we’ve been around for good 13 years, so we pretty much have an idea of what we’re doing after 13 years of doing it.
Host: We’d like to believe so, right? Of course, Lufuno.
Lufuno: Yes, my name is Lufuno Makungo. I’m head of advertising at Dzuguda Digital. Our service offering includes events, advertising, and marketing communication. Within the same stable, we actually have Dzuguda Production, which is largely placed in the TV content space but assists in terms of all the production work. For Dzuguda Digital, we also have the facility unit that actually, we rent out equipment for events and for shoots. So, we’re pretty much able to do a large part of the working in-house. Ngano Media, also on the other side, it’s a publishing company and that has done a lot of also advertising consulting.
Host: Sure. Let’s actually talk about the role of your organizations and companies similar to yours within South Africa’s advertising space. Very
briefly, if we take a look at the context of advertising in South Africa today,
Lufuno, how prevalent are black advertising agencies within this space? Do we own a significant chunk of the pie?
Lufuno: We absolutely don’t. And I mean, I think one of the most common excuses has always been that we don’t have sufficient black agencies in the country. And I think that’s when we ended up starting a lobby group and establish a directory that kind of showcases the fact that actually we do have plenty of black advertising agencies in the country. But in terms of the fair share of the work, I can tell you we actually not such big players within the industry, which is quite disappointing given the fact that as black people who’s pretty much the majority, but when it comes to ownership at a business level, we were a minority. And that thing is pretty much the same across even other various industries.
Host: Bongani, how do we change that, though? We’ve got a significant stream of talent that’s come through, some individuals being introduced to the advertising agency. Can we shift that needle?
Bongani: We can definitely shift the needle. I suppose how we started is that we created this platform, it’s called blackagencies.co.za, which is a directory of black-run agencies. Because one of the excuses that keep popping up from clients is that we cannot find these black agencies. So, that directory, what it does is that it allows you the opportunity that if you don’t like BWD, for argument’s sake, you can choose a different agency. What we’ve also started doing as well is that we’ve put together this lobby group, off the lobby group,
we’ve set up a…or we’ve come up with quarterly events, which are going to start in March. So, the objective of the quarterly events is to basically kind of help black agencies grow. And just to add on Lufuno’s point in terms of maybe the problem, the current problem now, is that according to Nielsen Research, annual spend on advertising is 42 billion. Of the 42 billion…
Host: Rands or dollars?
Bongani: So, out of the 42 billion, less than 1% of the actual spend is allocated to black agencies.Host: Less than 1%?
Bongani: Hundred percent.
Host: That is scary.
Bongani: Yes. That’s not one black agency. That’s all the black agencies
combined, they don’t get 1% of the 42 billion.
Host: Let’s talk about this and expand on it a bit further because, obviously, for us to see a transformation within the advertising space, we need to get more individuals of color and a more diversified workforce, I guess, within that particular workspace. How do we do that effectively? Because one would assume just get more people from diverse backgrounds to work within multi-national companies versus them actually owning their own companies in that industry.
Lufuno: You see, and that’s always a challenge in terms of how diversity in the workplace often misinterpreted as a proper representation because you can have a diverse organization but still have authority lying within one person who is not diverse. So, you can have diverse views that are actually not taken seriously.
Host: So, we need to be the decision-makers, I think?
Lufuno: Yeah. We literally need to be decision-makers. And that’s why for me, it’s also just the setup of transformation or the BEE in this country where, I think, a large part of some of the people who are supposed to be champions of the BEE is pretty much benefiting from the status quo. Because when you look at the big multi-nationals like the Ogilvy, the FCB, then TBWA, they all have BEE partners which are black people. So, those are influential characters who pretty much prefer to buy into something established as opposed to creating something.
Host: As long as they’re getting the paycheck they don’t care.
Lufuno: As long as they’re getting the… So, they’re pretty much benefiting. So, I think, what needs to be done is the creation of more black agencies where we’ve actually got more authority to decide the type of work that we want to do. Because you can, I mean, we were chatting earlier on about it, you can actually tell the decision-makers by just looking at the ad, which they’re doing.
Host: And I want to jump in there because that’s exactly what many of…myself and my colleagues have been discussing, whether it’s the producers as well as earlier on uncaptured. When you think about washing powder, it’s a black, voluptuous female doing laundry with her hands and she’s dancing about to a particular song and theme. I grew up on a Saturday morning and my mother was not dancing and those again are typical stereotypes about particular products in South Africa, right? Why is that still the norm and how do we shift that needle in actually understanding that as black South Africans with a variety of cultures and backgrounds and even different family units, not just mom, dad, sometimes in some households, there’s your mom, mom, and another cousin? Instead of the traditional mom, dad and son and daughter mix, are we seeing that changing? Are we seeing that shaping or are we still falling into that trap of stereotypes within South Africa’s advertising industry?
Bongani: Things are slowly changing, although the same things still happening. Just to, I think the top of mind I can think of recently, ACE Maize Meal, they had an ad with some grown-up lady dancing for pap. So, things are changing but they kind of suppose slowly staying the same because what then happened is that a couple of people complained about the ad because it was also online, it was removed. So, hopefully, Tiger Brands is not gonna do the same thing again.
Host: And are we saying that there is a stronger sense of societal commentary? I mean, we even think of a Chicken Licken, I think also had an ad about a black South African who went to Europe and colonized Europe. And then there was an uproar from some markets of society who said, “No, that’s not positive representation.” But how do we as consumers take back the power of how we choose to be represented in these adverts?
Lufuno: Yeah, you see, I think social media has helped quite a lot in terms of almost everyone hearing your voice, so important in terms of that. Because previously, we’ve always been dancing in all these commercials and no one could say anything about.
Host: And let’s clear that today, it’s not true.
Lufuno: It’s essentially not true. It’s pretty much stereotypes that are…and I think it goes back to the people who make decisions on those ads because, historically, there’s always been assumptions in terms of how to communicate to the black audience. I don’t think people felt, though, as in need to actually do proper research in terms of who are these people, how do they behave, how do we engage them, how do we present them? And some of it is actually very much deliberate. Some of these think or saying, “Oh, why are people dancing?”
I mean the entire process of developing a campaign, it’s got so many layers where some of these things, it’s hard to believe that no one picked it up. So, people understand the influence of the platform as to how influential it is. And that’s why there’s always been a battle of trying to protect the authority.
Host: Yeah. That’s why we need more individuals like yourself and Bongani to really shift the needle and transform the messaging about the various cultural groups that we have in South Africa, and not the stereotypes that we often fall victim to. Gentlemen, unfortunately, we have to leave it there. I told you we need an hour.
Lufuno: We definitely do.
Host: But all the more reasons to get you back to peel back the many layers of this critical conversation. That is Lufuno Makungo, who is at the Founder of Ngano Media and Head of Advertising at Dzuguda Digital as well as, Bongani Gosa, Founder, and CEO of BWD Advertising. Afropolitan is be empowered, understand how it is that you’d like to be represented and, of course, share your views even on platforms like social media because at some point in the day these large corporates will have to listen and represent us in a fair light. If you’d like a refresher of this conversation do log on to kayafm.co.za and click on “FM Rewind” and refresh on not only of this conversation on marketing and advertising in South Africa but across the board of the show. We’ll be back again tomorrow as we wrap up the week’s market activities on Kaya Bizz.