Capn's Log. 28th November 2011.
"Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
This brilliant ad has been the subject of much heavy and sustained criticism, with this as a sample of said rejection of the ad:
Now I need to make it clear that I write this not in criticism of said ad, but solidly in its corner.
Which is why I will ask you, right off the bat, to join me in ignoring the birds chirping at a time when the sun is clearly high. Because, you know, we city dwellers know not the daily patterns of those captivating creatures.
South African fast food chain Nandos this past Friday launched a new ad campaign [Read about it here], a video whose views are fast approaching the magical half a million mark.
(I say "magical" to give the illusion of importance to that point. Which it is. Important, that is, not illusion.)
Channel24.co.za put it up for a vote. Here's an excerpt from the follow-up post:
We polled our readers on Channel24.co.za and asked: "The latest Nando's ad is out and it's as irreverant as ever. But is the ad effective in persuading you to buy their chicken?"
A slim 50% majority voted "Absolutely! I love the brand" - but 43% of those polled said that the ad did not particularly affect their buying decisions and that they simply enjoyed the ad as entertainment.
Three percent said they did not like Nando's food or ads while 4% said that they did not even realise that the advert was meant to sell chicken.
I asked a friend of mine, @saitonne, about her view on the purpose of advertising. It all boiled down to getting people to buy your product.
Which is pretty much what the Channel24.co.za poll was asking as well. But from that particular poll, another angle came up.
Entertainment and relatability.
Which is where the Soko Ugali ad wins, in truly deliberate fashion.
Entertain who? Relatability to whom?
Stay with me here.
Look at him:
We all have a friend like this. Unless you're the friend.
Then look at her:
Focus gents, focus.
What on earth is a guy whose face looks like the bottom of a careened Nissan Cube (still better looking than me though) doing with her?
At which point I refer you to your own careened-Nissan-Cube-faced friend. Somehow, at some point in his existence, he got involved with a Ms. Soko Ugali, the genesis of which you could never understand. Scurry away from Nairobi, and this is the scenario repeated several times over: Careened-Nissan-Cube-faced guy married/dating (for marriage) an inexplicably gorgeous lady.
And, surprise surprise: Your uncle is that guy.
Or your girlfriend who's dating some random guy with the face and physique of a grossly obese panda (aka me - No offense to all ye panda lovers), which you cannot for the life of you get your mind around considering the amount of eye candy walking around the streets of Nairobi. Eye candy that she could have eating from the palm of her hands any time she decided to switch on the charm. I mean, you've seen her do it before, so why is she with me? [I meant to say "that guy".]
Throw in a random goofy attribute - such as senseless singing, shamelessly showcasing an obvious void of talent that is nothing short of impressive - and you have... that guy.
The brilliant chaps behind the Soko Ugali ad deliberately brought this out in excellently efficiently.
Win on one count: Relatability.
"What about the entertainment?"
I thought that was the whole point of the singing. Unless I was mistaken. The good lot that created the Soko Ugali knew full well that you and I couldn't help but laugh at the poor bloke's efforts at serenading that steaming hot plate of posho.
And it has you singing along every time. With the jingle even stuck in your head, singing it out at the most inappropriate of times:
Where are we on this shopping list? Ah yes: Maize flour... "Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
Gari ni rwabe boss... "Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
Drat. I'm just bila psyke for work today. *brain static* "Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
You guy this question maze... And this was the one unit I decided not to read. *scratches head* "Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
Wow. What I wouldn't do to... "Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
Bottom line: It just works. Simple. True, I learnt how strong-willed I am when I first saw the ad (Ask around: The gag reflex is a tough one to beat back), but a few run later, here I am, singing along while happily thinking of myself as the careened-Nissan-cube-faced chap with the amazingly hot wife that the blokes are jealous of.
Wait. I forgot to talk about how the 2 cute kids fit into the pict... "Soko Ugaliiii, Nakupenda na roho yangu..."
(as appears on Wanau.me)