Don’t hide away from reality…and know the difference between thunder and lightning

The best advertising is always based on a fundamental understanding of human nature – what the people in the marketing business call “basic human truth”. If you can tap into that, you don’t have to waste any time explaining or repeating – everybody gets it first time around.

That’s the case with the latest TV ad for iWYZE insurance. I know I have given them an Orchid previously for another execution in this campaign – which has the tagline: “iWYZE takes control when you can’t” – but I think another is merited.

This time, the ad references the old adage about the ostrich burying its head in the sand as a way to avoid dealing with reality.

So, we see a couple going through various stages in their life together – and avoiding crucial questions at crucial times by figuratively burying their heads. And when they do that, they suddenly morph into ostriches.

So; the questions – “When are you two getting married”; “When are you having a baby”; “Honey, let’s have another one” and, then the one all parents dread: “Mommy, how did you put a baby in your tummy?” – provoke avoiding action. That is, right up until the day the young kids ask mom: “What’s going to happen to us when you die?”

Then Mom remains Mom and doesn’t become an ostrich, because she is with iWYZE and knows that the insurance company will take control when she can’t. So they will provide for the family’s financial future when she or dad are no longer there.

It’s simple, it’s effective and it speaks directly to the young families who should be taking out insurance. We’ve always had life insurance – although if you take out something like an endowment policy you will be fleeced (ask me, I know) – but life insurance gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your kids will get the best shot at a future.

So, for tapping into that old ostrich adage and the fear of leaving your family destitute, this ad works as marketing communication.

So another Orchid for iWYZE and its agency, Joe Public.

I do sometimes wonder, though, given the heterogeneous nature of our society whether using phrases, sayings and experiences from a Eurocentric perspective is always such a good idea…

Despite what some radical university students may say, science is not Eurocentric (throw away Isaac Newton at your peril, people)…it is simply science. That fact may escape the revolutionaries but, generally speaking, science and maths escape many South Africans.

Logic she is not big in this country – this is why you need firepools (because it is well known people in rural areas need buckets to put out fires); why a former Eskom CEO can be offered R30 million after just 18 months in office; why Number One can fire a finance minister and be surprised by the consequences; why a financial adviser can advocate a policy of nationalising banks, insurance companies and mines, which has never worked anywhere else it has been tried – and why there are those who demand that ratings agencies from the BRICS countries assess our prospects…

It really galls me when I hear, or see, stupidity in an advertising context.

Latest example is for Surge Africa, a company which makes devices to protect your sensitive electronics from lightning strikes or power surges. When you look at the company’s website, you cannot fail to be impressed with its products and its ability.

So, why did they get a moron to write the script for one of their latest radio ads?

This promises us that Surge Africa’s products will protect your equipment from “thunder and lightning damage”.


Basic Science 101 for the idiot copywriter who put that together:

Lightning causes damage. Thunder, though it makes a big scary noise, is no threat to electronic equipment…unless it goes off right next to a sensitive microphone.

Again – as so often in other cases where I have awarded an Onion – I have to ask: who the hell approved this?

If it was someone from Africa Surge, I would take my business to someone who understands science. If no-one from the company checked the script then I would worry about their attention to business detail.

So, Africa Surge, nothing you can do to protect yourself from this Onion.


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