I have a daily… or rather week day ritual. When I get home from what ever I was up to on that day I switch on the old box like thing I call a TV and I attempt to numb out all the events of that particular day.
I watch everything from the repeats of the Cosby Show to Generations. Generations is the kind of show that makes me believe that the ASS-ABC (SABC) is really on a cost cutting mission, because I know all their scripts are written on toilet paper that they recycle and later used at the stations crappers. I have paid Faulty Towers a few visits and I may or may not have seen Khetiwe’s script in the crapper. However that’s not what really bothers me about TV.
What bothers me about SA TV is being black. Yes I said being black. As a black South African the ads that are directed at “my people” and I are rather worrisome.
Our country has been through a great deal. Eighteen years ago we were freed from the clutches of apartheid and all were equal under the rule of our Tata who art in Qunu.
We were all happy and friendly and that was awesome, but how the advertising world depicts me makes me want to eat my underwear.
Let me explain; there are a few ads out there that make me wonder whether or not the advertising industry has transformed or if it’s stuck in pre 1994? For now it’s more ‘badvertising’ than anything else.
A few weeks ago, as I was flipping through the four channels I have… namely ASS- ABC 1,2,3,4 (4 otherwise known as ETV), I came across a few KFC ads.
Now, I couldn’t be the least interested in KFC, because I find fried chicken disgusting – as my diet prescribes me to do so. But, as I watched I noticed something very strange.
On channel 3 I saw a very cute ad with a pretty couple falling in love over a healthy looking wrap… even the song made you want to see more. By the time the ad was done I wanted to go to KFC and meet the man of my dreams over a leafy wrap.
Then I switched to channel 1 and of course KFC was on again (joys of prime time viewing). This ad however, was not as heartwarming as the last one that I watched; there was a sulky teen, an overly energetic granny and a table full of fried chicken.
Now, this sulky teen sits in a corner fiddling with her phone and her granny invites her to join the family, she then joins, takes a bite of the chicken and immediately whatever was bothering her disappears. That, however was not the most shocking thing that happened in this ad… the next thing left me distraught, traumatized and gasping for air.
When the ‘Black’ family finished their bucket of fried chicken they all broke into dance led by the gogo… ummm… wow!
When I was a teen if I was sulking my granny would not beg or sit around stroking me firstly, either I would get a side eye or the threat of physical violence if I do not smile and behave.
If, the grown-ups were happy, why are you sulking and pulling faces? You have no business ruining a party. Its also, very unlikely for a granny to start dancing, let alone the whole family breaking out into dance after they have fried chicken. The message I got from this ad is that black people dance after eating fried chicken, which, apparently is the black national food.
The insinuation in that ad also reminded me of how ‘coons’ (not to be mistaken with the Cape Coloured festival) used to have to dance for their food. What was even more irritating is the segregated advertising that makes the white ad so tasteful and romantic while our black people are depicted as buffoons that dance because of food.
We are not all dancing, singing morons.
Even the treatment of the ads is different which makes me think that whoever is behind the strategy of these campaigns really does not get that black people are not a bunch of gyrating jokers, never mind our elders needing to be respected in theses depictions.
Before that rubbish, I remember of an ad about a kid whose head was used as a serviette for KFC. SERIOUSLY!
As a black creative, I do understand however, that our white Creative Directors tend to push the envelope when it comes to communication with black consumers.
I was once asked to put a cow as a prize in a competition that targeted black people. Why on earth would you give my people a cow? Where would they put this beast to start with? The KFC ads are not the only ridiculous ones aimed at black people. If we are not dancing or singing we have patriarchy issues where we see women running after men. That’s if we do not have Yvonne Chaka Chaka appearing out of nowhere and asking invasive questions about your children at a pharmacy.
Below I will list a few of the ads targeted at black people that I really hate.
1. The mac mac washing powder ads. I really don’t need to explain why
2. Savlon soap ad. In this advert, people that wash with Savlon break into song and then they go into some forest place and start a choir. I bet you this soap also makes you believe in Jesus
3. Some Cough syrup ad where the wife runs after her husband doing all these weird things as he coughs. Its just stupid
4. The Mcain ad with the mom who has not cooked supper and her husband and sons nag her for dinner while she is working. Instead of them getting their own food in the fridge
5. I still cant get over Yvonne Chaka Chaka popping out of the blue to ask invasive questions about peoples children.
6. Funeral insurance. I will not even go into this one.
Whoever allows these ads to appear on our TV screens (and I know ad types will blame clients) need to be dragged on the street and shot.
We need to threaten them with violence, because they are taking our people back 300 years. I am tired of being depicted as a person that has no taste, lifestyle and live off slapstick humor and dancing. Its time something changed in ads.
Advertising as far as I understand is supposed to sell aspiration. Right now the things I see are rather shameful. There is nothing to aspire to