#MakeTime…for those you love. But, don’t pass the buck if you’re a big brand

One of the biggest regrets many people have – generally as they sit down to take stock of their lives – is that they never made enough time for the people they love.

It’s easy to see why: this is a hectic life most of us live. Never mind keeping up with the Joneses, there’s trying to keep your head above water financially (or make your billions, depending on where you are)… and there is the sheer bombardment of information from all sides.

Today, with our digital devices and Net access, we are withdrawing, rather than reaching out. The 21st century’s saddest lament is: I have hundreds of Facebook friends, so why am I lonely?

Making time for those who count in your life is, sadly, not something which comes naturally these days. You have to make a conscious effort to do it.

And that is the basic human truth at the heart of the latest Wimpy TV commercial: that we should set aside a little time and space to enjoy, and interact with, those we love.

The ad shows us as we are: always looking at our screens, texting and browsing and doing social media, metres away from each other, yet light years apart.

We also see a father as he realises he is focusing on work while neglecting his son, who is under the table, just wanting to play and to get a little bit of attention.

And, then there is the lonely old woman and her cup of tea … someone’s mom, someone’s gran. Perhaps not deliberately neglected but just not a priority in the lives of the rest of her family.

Wimpy’s solution – Make Time for Someone You Love – is to get together at your local outlet, for a coffee, for a meal, for a milkshake. And for a chat, for a laugh and for a precious sharing of time.

That, the commercial argues, is what a Wimpy is all about: decent food, decent prices, great service. And a place where you can chill and have fun.

It works well for the brand – but at the same time it is a reminder that, whether you do it in a Wimpy or not, you need to make time for those you love. Time is the one thing we all do not have enough of. One day, very soon, you will realise it is melting away.

Good advertising should promote a product but at the same time should also entertain us or make us think. This ad does the latter, so Wimpy gets a well-deserved Orchid, as does ad agency FCB Johannesburg.

I was amused to see the ducking and diving, initially at least, by Outsurance after a Father’s Day social media video collection backfired because it included only white fathers.

The company did, correctly, apologise to those who might have been offended, but it did not do so unconditionally – it chose to explain that a junior “lady” from one of its social media teams had been responsible.

Not good enough, people. I realise that CEO Willem Roos eventually accepted responsibility himself, but the first explanation smacked of something which is becoming all too common in South African society these days: the whining “It’s not my fault” excuse.

If a company does not put in place very stringent social media policies and does not implement very strict training on brand identity and marketing – and take these down to the lowest levels – then management is at fault.

So, an Onion to Outsurance for the initial ducking and diving. Discipline the managers who allowed this to happen and not the “junior lady”, Mr Roos.

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