Thursday, May 5, 2011

Re-branding: Vodacom gets it right

For the most part, Vodacom did a damn fine job keeping its new branding under wraps until the official launch on 1 April. Granted, we all pretty much knew that it was going to adopt the colours of its parent company, Vodafone; that it was going to be red; and that it might, too, adopt Vodafone’s logo.
What we weren’t expecting, however, was the sheer brilliance in the execution of the rebranding and the enormous creativity behind it. I was feeling rather unmotivated at the offering on Sunday prime time television last night, there was nothing interesting to watch and I was considering bundling myself off to bed for an early night … until I saw the first Vodacom rebrand ad, and the next, and the next. I was convinced to sit through hours of boring programming in the hopes that, during the ad breaks, I would catch another one that I hadn’t seen yet.
The genius ad campaign saw Vodacom bring together characters of adverts past, including Bankole Omotoso (Yebo Gogo!), Michael de Pina, Trevor Gumbi (“Are you free, or are you dom?”), Daddy Cool and that crazy dancing meerkat, among others. In pairs of two (or alone, if you’re a meerkat), they sit in a blue room with a bucket of red paint and proceed to splash said paint all over the blue wall via rather, erm, creative methods, from catapulting themselves into the wall, to shooting paintballs at it, to falling off scaffolding and accidently splashing the wall, to kicking paint bombs at a mock rugby post. The thirteen-second ads are perfect in length, each featuring different, amusing content, and each with a familiar face that forces you to draw on past Vodacom ads.
Besides the brilliant TV and print ads, Vodacom effectively executed its rebranding strategy on the ground, too. At the press briefing on Friday night, CEO Pieter Uys was looking rather spiffy in his red golf shirt and the new red branding was already visible on the sporting field when the Vodacom Blue Bulls took on the Wellington Hurricanes in a Super 15 match in New Zealand. New Zealand! They even got the branding right in another country! The Bulls won, in case you were wondering…
Compared to Cell C’s re-branding, Vodacom is streets ahead, including the entire Vodacom family in the event, as opposed to employing a random comedian (don’t get me wrong, I love your work, Trevor) as its “brand ambassador”. It somehow made it more real to me.
My husband pointed out that he’d noticed I was partial to short, funny ads that have different content (And no, Outsurance’s Invisible Man does not count), so maybe I’m biased, but hey, if it works, it works.
Nicely played, Vodacom. More Power to You.

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