Fly, the beloved country… high above the “vapour research”

These days, when you leave the toxic atmosphere of Twitter (and I am forced to lurk there as part of a my job as a newsman), you feel as though you should have a chemical decontamination shower, so vile is some of the anger and hatred.

There seem to be so many on this social media channel who believe that the whole “Miracle” of 1994 and the idea of the “Rainbow Nation” was all a lie. Further, Nelson Mandela was a sell-out because he bowed down to white people and “Big Business”…

Exposed to so much of this line of reasoning does make me acknowledge that perhaps we (all of us) were too naïve in our acceptance that 300 years of history could be re-written by one man and one election. When I look back on those times, I sometimes cringe to see the sentiments – the lofty but unrealistic ones – being expressed by people. It’s rather like looking back at the 70s and platform shoes …“What were they thinking?”

And nothing sums up that rose-tinted era quite as much as the triumph in the World Cup Rugby final at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg in 1995, where Joel Stransky’s sublime drop-goal made us World Champions, triumphing 15-12 over the All Blacks.
There was Madiba, Francois Pienaar and the Webb Ellis Trophy. There were the strains of “Shosholoza” echoing around the stadium, as well as those of the strange, new, hybrid national anthem.
Then there were the multicoloured, joyful crowds in the streets afterwards, all overwhelmingly proud to be South Africans, united by a pride which went beyond skin colour.

But it was the goose bump-inducing flight by a massive South African Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet, low over Ellis Park, which announced the world we were a “can do” nation. Nobody else had done – or possibly even could do – such a daring, and potentially disastrous, piece of stunt flying.

The man flying the plane was veteran SAA pilot Laurie Kay and, as people close to him said later, it was as though his whole life in planes – from passenger jets to aerobatic prop-driven craft – was leading up to this.

MTN’s new “Sounds the Call” ad wonderfully evokes those times, with a clever blend of actual footage, set-up scenes using actors and some computer-manipulated imagery to pay tribute to Laurie Kay – who passed away some years ago – but also to rekindle national pride. As a sponsor of the Springboks, the cell provider has, like fellow sponsor FNB, focused on the intangibles of emotion to underline its contribution to nation-building.

Now, I suppose one could be cynical about this sort of patriotism, but it works for me. It’s a reminder of what we once were and, through rose-tinted optimism glasses, what we might be again…

So Orchids to MTN, ad agency TBWA and Darling films.

Research Rubbish – Chapter 2
A few weeks ago, I got a breathless release from Reputation Matters, a PR outfit in Tshwane, about how that City had been “voted” best African capital in terms of “sustainability”.

According to Reputation Matters, the firm had surveyed “15 African capitals” ahead of Sustainability Week held in Pretoria. When pressed by my cynical questions (because I am very wary of “vapour” research), Reputation Matters provided the list of these 15 African capitals.

The list has shrunk to just 14 places – including Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Rustenburg, nogal. There – now you know…Rustenburg is an African capital city.

Even worse was to come, though.
Reputation Matters said it had 76 responses to its survey, 80% of which came from South African cities, with Cape Town topping the list at 43%, followed by Tshwane at 27% and Joburg at 8%.
If that’s a survey, then I’m a rabbi…

A research expert friend of mine (in my survey of experts across the continent – if you can do it so can I) shook her head in disbelief (at least that’s what it felt like down the email line). Her company does serious research and, without quantifying who was asked what, invoking “African capitals” when there were more responses from SA cities, as well as the absence of judging criteria, was, in her view, not proper research. Nor was it well-written, “even as a media release…” she wrote.

That last comment sums up how professionals in business – and note, not just cynical old journalists – take with a pinch of salt this sort of fantasy.
Sadly, there are many in the media industry who will look at this as genuine, simply because it is flagged as “research” or a “survey”.

So to Reputation Matters, the second of our Fake News Onions (the first was last week). One day someone will see through the nonsense…and how sustainable will you then be?






The boozy road not taken…and lies, damned lies and surveys

Hangovers, they say, are God’s way of telling you to lay off the booze. And, anyone who has had one will know the “why did I do it?” feeling of remorse.

Alcohol has changed so many lives in so many ways – yet humankind still seems to love the bottle. Trying to get people to approach alcohol in a more sensible way – to save our country the billions it costs us annually, in everything from car accidents and domestic violence to the effects of foetal alcohol syndrome – is clearly not a message which is getting through.

The new campaign along these lines from non-profit organisation, (Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education) takes a different angle. Different in the sense that it doesn’t wag fingers or show images (however censored) of bodies and the sort of carnage boozing can cause.

It’s all about “the road not taken”…and in this case, the road not taken is the easy one to booze addiction.

So we see the same man in two different scenarios, but at the same time, thanks to the use of clever image effects. A man able to look at himself from outside.

And what he sees is not good: from life and soul of the party which the booze triggers; to fighting, insulting and being thrown out of the club by the bouncers. It’s a clear look at the sleazy side of what “just a little drink…” can turn into.

We then see him heading home – in a taxi, not driving himself in his inebriated state.
He arrives at his house to a warm and stable family home – loving wife and, asleep in her bedroom, their beautiful daughter. There is contest as to which is the more appealing road taken.

The punchline – Drink like there is a tomorrow – is apt, and memorable.

Orchids to, ad agency Riverbed and director Gordon Lindsay of Braille Films for your message of hope out of despair.

Best way to hood wink a journalist? Send them a press release based on a “survey”.

That sounds like science and very few journalists will question you, as a clever PR company, if you do that. Even better, use percentages – because you know they won’t have a clue.

That’s exactly what an outfit called the deVere Group did last week…and they reeled in the suckers. The company bills itself as “an international financial services organisation”, which should have been the first red flag, because it is a commonly used vague, meaningless generalisation, but which sounds professional.

The company’s release said it had done a “survey” among “high-net-worth individuals” (rich people, to you and me) about their “exposure to cryptocurrencies”. Hardly an unbiased piece of research, given that deVere is in that very business.

The survey included at least 600 of these people spread across South Africa, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, the UAE, Qatar, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Spain, France, and Germany (all solid blue chip nations, at least in common perception).

And, according to the survey “findings”, these people were besotted with cryptocurrencies, to the extent that they believe these are “the future of money”. (Another lovely, meaningless cliché: What money? Where? How?)

But the best part of the release was the bit which eluded journalists: that which said “more than a third” of these people (34%, 35%, 99%, who knows?) said they “either have exposure to cryptocurrencies, or they intend investing by the end of 2018”.

Cue gasps of amazement among journalists and among the numerically illiterate who read it and rushed off to have a look at BitCoin.

Here’s the proper way of looking at this rubbish. Even by their own figures, at least two-thirds (or just over, using a similar logic to them), DO NOT own cryptocurrencies, nor do they have any intention of investing in them by the end of this year.

That means, in reality, that high net worth individuals actually don’t believe in cryptocurrencies…

While the press release may have achieved its aim it getting coverage and in gulling the gullible, ultimately this sort of bullshit damages both the integrity of the PR industry (not exactly at an all-time high considering the shenanigans of Bell Pottinger) but also makes it guilty of distributing fake news.

That will rebound both on a PR company and on a client.
So, today’s fake news Orchid goes to deVere…


Nothing beats this Benz…or the hope that sport can one day unite us

It was one of the most talked-about pieces of marketing in quite a few months, the Mercedes-Benz recreation of its famous 1990 TV commercial about how one of its brilliantly engineered cars saved the life of its driver when he crashed 100m down the side of Chapman’s Peak outside Cape Town.

That the man, businessman Christopher White, survived the horror crash was, as the original ad said, due to two things: that he was wearing a seat belt and that he was driving a Mercedes-Benz.

In a similarly astute bit of marketing déjà vu, Merc and its ad agency Net#work BBDO got White to do another ad – repeating the same route, this time in the latest S-Class Mercedes. What they didn’t tell the nervous White, initially at least, was that the car was going to drive him along Chapman’s peak Drive – and not the other way around.
This is because the S-Class is equipped with Merc’s latest “autonomous driving” technology, which effectively meant that most of the drive – and particularly the really hairy part, coming up to the corner where he went off originally – would be a “hands-off” experience for White.

Merc and Net#work BBDO’s documentary – all 5 minutes of it – captures all the elements perfectly and is wonderful entertainment, but all the while emphasising the point that Mercedes-Benz vehicles are “still engineered” to be the best in the world.

I am not sure where this is going to be distilled into a TV ad – it should be because it is great viewing…and I hope those involved do more than putting it out on the Internet and social media.

So, Orchids all round for first-class, hands-on advertising.

It is an interesting irony that one of the founders of Net#work BBDO is Mike Schalit, one of the all-time great creative South African ad people. It was he who was in charge of the creative team at the then Hunt Lascaris who produced another classic local ad in response to the Merc Chapman’s Peak one.
Using a BMW Five Series sedan, Schalit and co filmed it travelling around all the bends on Chapman’s at speed – and not going off over the cliff. The point: if you were in a Five, you wouldn’t have gone off in the first place. They called it “Beats the Bends” – and the ad only flighted for three nights over a weekend, because Hunts correctly predicted Mercedes would object and the ad would be pulled by the Advertising Standards Authority…as it was.

The other interesting point about the latest ad is that, in this country particularly, autonomous driving is a long way from becoming a reality. Much of the technology relies – as it did in taking White around Chapman’s Peak – on clear road markings and signs. These you will find on Chapman’s Peak because it is now a toll road. You won’t find this everywhere else in this country, where the opposite is often the norm.
So, in reality, to try to sell a car in South Africa based on its autonomous driving capabilities is actually reckless. At least Mercedes-Benz are not doing that…

The amazing Test between the Boks and England was not only great entertainment but a fairy tale debut for the first African Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi. It was an appropriate moment to reflect on how far we have come, in a sporting sense, as a nation. (Probably not far enough, in the eyes of people like Ashwin Willemse, but that is another issue).

FNB, as a sponsor of Springbok rugby, has put up a lot of money (and a lot into airing costs, too) for an ad which reminds us about grassroots rugby, and how talent is lying there, waiting to be unearthed, if only given the opportunity. Talent like Ashwin Willemse…

The ad is a bit cheesy, but its heart is in the right place, so it gets a second Orchid, for FNB and Grid Worldwide, as well as director Greg Grey.

Perhaps, one day, sport will unite us…

Sanral bravely tackles the long road back from reputation damage…but perhaps too much glory for Ocean Basket?

As far as government agencies or parastatals that we “love to hate” go, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is right up there with Eskom.

The roads agency, it must said from the outset, plays a critical role in the South African economy, designing and building what is still the best highway infrastructure in Africa…the sort of image which is used regularly to set us apart from the rest of the continent.

Yet, Sanral has such a bad public image that the mere name has almost become a swear word.

And that is, as we all know, because of the contentious e-toll project in Gauteng…or, more correctly, from the way the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project was implemented – which millions of road users believe disregarded them.

In the process, the boycott of toll payments has become the biggest single mass defiance campaign in the history of a democratic South Africa.

Most of the damage to Sanral’s image was done by one man, someone you might call the Donald Trump of the civil engineering sector, Nazir Alli, the former CEO of Sanral.

In blustering, dictatorial and often inaccurate tirades, Alli tried to force the concept of electronic toll collection down the throats of the public. And that did not go down well with motorists, whose level of ignorance about the scheme was such that they believed they were being hoodwinked. Marketing Mistake Number One: bad communication.

It didn’t help, of course, that the final cost of the project saw the country saddled with some of the most expensive roads in the world. It didn’t help either that some of the “experts” trotted out by Sanral to justify tolling were guilty of misleading the public.

Now that Alli has left Sanral, one can feel the winds of change in the air.

The organisation has completely changed its “do what we say” approach to one of marketing persuasion. It has realised that it needs to “sell” its product to a public which is constantly battered by more and more price increases.

Rather than bombard us with figures as Alli did (in the hopes maths-challenged people wouldn’t see the logical sleight of hand which was his forte), the “new” Sanral is looking at the benefits roads bring us.

The first ad in the series was flighted some time ago, and focused on the joy in an ordinary family, coming together from all over the country for a celebration. Connecting people via excellent roads. It’s a great ad because it is not only true, it is subtle – as is the best of marketing – and shows Sanral for what it is… a facilitator.

The latest in the series looks at how roads are essential to lving the lives we want. So we see coffee, on its journey from the estate, through roasting to the final, aromatic and deeply satisfying, cup.

Something like 80% or more of our goods are transported by road in this country, so without the efforts of Sanral, our little treats and daily necessities might be more difficult to obtain, or be more expensive.

Elegant point, elegantly made.

Sanral still has a lot to do to redeem itself, especially as e-tolls still has not been resolved – but these ads are an excellent start. They enable us to see the good side of this organisation.

Well done to Sanral and its ad agency, Blueprint. Orchids for your marketing skills…and your bravery.

The problem with using social media for your marketing, as I have said many times, is the danger for any flaws to be magnified and seized upon to actually damage your brand.

Latest in line for that lesson is seafood restaurant chain Ocean Basket, one of my favourite family places.

It generated a bit of a flurry on social media this week when it aired a promotion that many likened to the “glory hole” fad which had its origins in the San Francisco gay bathhouse culture of the ’70s and early ’80s.

Suffice to say that many commentators on social media were reminded of “gloryholes” by Ocean Basket’s hands appearing from holes in a backboard, holding various meals.

Perhaps, as our online colleagues noted on, the comments were more of a judgment on those making them than on Ocean Basket, but, nevertheless, the comments were there. And they were wholly incompatible with the ethos of a family restaurant.

And Ocean Basket may complain till the cows (or cod) come home that this is a misinterpretation of its message but I ask: Why did anyone not foresee the possibility?

Given the “woke” and raucous nature of social media, you have to be extra careful – and you weren’t.

So you get an Onion.

I only hope it was not intentional…

The future of driving may be Kia…and the future of advertising may be – shock! horror! – digital fraud


There are many moments which remain in our memories but, for a petrolhead like me, it will always be the moment I first had control of a car…when I managed to get it moving forward in first gear without stalling and then, because we had a long driveway, a quick change into second gear and braking to a stop.

I guess I have always been fascinated by cars, even before I got behind the wheel of one and the way you can tell I am a true petrolhead is that I will drive anything with wheels – and enjoy it. In my time, I have piloted everything from a Ferrari and a Lamborghini to a Morris Minor and driving has never lost is fascination for me.

In the past few years, the debate about “autonomous driving” has been gathering steam. This envisages a future where electronics, robotics and computers will guide vehicles to their destinations without any human input.
That, to my mind anyway, is like intravenously injecting bags of plastic nutrients into your body when you could be dining on the finest French food.

In this country, thank goodness, autonomous driving is some way off – although some cynics might say a version of it has already arrived because so many vehicles on our roads are not under the control of  human beings…

Interestingly, despite the move towards robotic transport, many motor manufacturers are making more interesting, faster, and more powerful cars aimed at people who love to drive.

That’s why I was drawn to the TV ad for Kia’s new Stinger high-performance sedan.
The car is a radical departure for a brand which has always pitched itself as different – “The Power to Surprise” is its most well-known slogan – because it has been targeted directly at the sporting products from the high-end German manufacturers. And, the motoring journos who’ve tried the car have been astounded at how good it is.

Kia needs to throw a lot of marketing muscle behind the Stinger, though, because the brand is not normally associated with performance. Quality and reliability, yes,…but, up to now, sportiness –  well, not so much.

The challenge has been to convince loyal brand followers to give the Stinger a try.
Around the world, Kia campaigns for the car have focused on its driveability, but, here in South Africa, the brand and its agency, OFYT (Old Friends Young Talent) have managed to put a different, but effective spin on the driving enjoyment aspect.

With the de rigeur shots of the car blasting around a race-track, the ad simply asks one question: What is the future of driving? then it answers it: Maybe the future of driving is actually driving..
It’s a great line, and it sums up the car. I think it will help Kia sell the car in this country, where many of us are not quite prepared to surrender our increasingly guilty pleasures to robots. Not only that, but the ad could have a halo effect for the rest of Kia’s products, which share the same automotive DNA as the Stinger.

So, to Kia South Africa and to OFYT, Orchids for good marketing and for reminding us (not that some of us needed it) that cars are more than just means of transport.

The second biggest criminal enterprise on the planet at the moment – after drugs – is digital advertising. As much as half of all “interactions” in cyberspace come from some form of “bot” – a piece of computer programme which replicates a human. And then there are the “click farms” which, for a modest fee, will drive your product’s, or site’s, all-important numbers into the stratosphere. You can buy shares, likes, users with a few clicks of a mouse. And then you can go and hoodwink the people who are paying you money to use your allegedly enormous numbers as a medium to promote their products.

And that’s without even talking about CTRs (Click Through Rates – or the actual number of times an ad is clicked on), which are generally half a percent or less. In other words, your wonderful digital ad will only be seen by one in every 200 people (or bots).
For me, though, the absurdity of an industry which is doing flick-flacks to convince everyone it is effective, and honest, is the voodoo science around “interactions”.

Excuse me, but I call bullshit on all of it.

Last week, we had experts telling us that the social media and cyberspace debate around the Ashwin Willemse TV walk-off had a “reach” of 3.8 billion. Stupid, uneducated person that I am I asked an expert, Tonya Khoury, how it was possible that around one in two people on the planet were debating something about which, frankly, even the majority of South Africans don’t give a damn.
She explained – as one has to do to an old-fashioned person who still believes the oppressive lie that one and one equals two – that “Reach is the number of outlets & their readership or the number of followers of any tweeter / intagrammer. It doesn’t mean that many people “read” it – it’s the reach of the story. For example #Trump 1 tweet on #Gaza garnered reach of 52M.”

She went on that “some people call it #ImpressionData – I don’t like the term because it gives the impression that the post made an impression :)”

If I assessed our newspaper in the same way, I would say that because we distribute in Gauteng, and Gauteng has a population of 12 million, our reach is 12 million. But then each of those 12 million knows another ten people, so our reach is 120 million. I cannot believe any marketer doesn’t question this.

In the end, Tonya revealed that there were around 150 000 people involved in the “conversation” about Willemse. In others words, one in every 300 people in South Africa.

That’s the reality, not the fanciful dreams of “reach”.

Anyone putting out that garbage gets an Onion from me and any marketer paying the slightest bit of attention to it should explain to his or her company’s shareholders why he’s wasting their cash on listening to bullshit…


The dignity of discipline and labour, contrasting with the invasion of your space…

When I grew up, there was never much money in the house. And, with Irish ancestry, I have a fear of poverty in my DNA, which can probably be traced back to the Irish Famine. So, I am careful with money.

I was, for much of the time my own kids were growing up, also a bit of a disciplinarian – overly so in many instances, I now realise – and it would also irritate me to see their mother “spoil” them on the odd occasion. That, I believed, would turn them into soft spongers and lay-abouts.

I’ve met, and worked with, a few of them in my time: the ones with loaded parents, private school educations and the proverbial silver spoon upbringing…who did not believe they had to work for anything.

Fortunately – and probably thanks to their own efforts, rather than my “spare the rod and spoil the child” belief – both my son and daughter have turned out well. And, interestingly, they are also sensible when it comes to money.

So, I must say, I could relate to the new TV ad for investment specialists Allan Gray.
The message of the ad is the same, basically, as that of every other long-term financial institution: patience and discipline will see your money gradually, but inexorably, grow.
The challenge for Allan Gray and its ad agency, King James II, was to convey that common message in a way which stands out.
The result is a very South African, and very touching, ad.

We see a black family over the course of 50 years. A young boy discovers early on that his disciplinarian father always wants a “cut” of any money he earns – whether it’s carting bricks or selling vetkoek. As the boy grows up, heads to the big city and gets a job, he continues to send money back home – in cash or in postal orders (anyone remember those?).

It always seems as though he is giving, giving, giving to the old man. Finally, when his father dies and the formalities are being concluded, he discovers that his father has been keeping a detailed ledger over all the years – saving the money, which now goes back to his son. The message is, appropriately, “true rewards take time”.

The ad is beautifully shot, in black and white, by director Pete Pohorsky of Plank Productions and the attention to detail in the clothing, props and locations is impressive, creating a memorable period piece.

But the ad goes further than that – as all outstanding advertising does – by making a social contribution, even though that was not the intent. From my perspective, you cannot watch this ad – especially as a white person – and deny that black people in this country have had a huge struggle. You are reminded of this in the scene where the dutiful son collects his postal order from the window marked “Net Nie-Blankes” (Non-Whites Only).

At the same time, you are reminded – whoever you are – of the dignity there is in discipline and working hard… values which are sometimes hard to find in today’s society.

Yet again, the advertising of Allan Gray makes you stop and pause for thought, in so many ways. So Orchids to Allan Gray, King James II and Plank Productions. It’s a time reminder that our ad industry hasn’t lost the ability to tell spell-binding tales…

If I had a buck for every time some genius has tried to tell me the “future of advertising is mobile”, I could have bought myself a tropical island. The reality is that a lot of advertising which comes through to your phone is borderline, and even actually, fraudulent. If you have to force something down people’s throats it’s an acknowledgment how ineffective mobile is as an advertising medium.

So, everybody reading this will have encountered the spam SMS messages – because we all know the biggest dodgy industry in this country is data base marketing – and the “robocall” phenomenon. This is where your phone will ring and, hardly have you said “good morning” than an automated, recorded message starts playing. That’s intrusive marketing at its worst.

The latest one to annoy me comes from this phone number – 010 590 8977 – so if this one ever pops up on your screen, don’t answer it.

The one which disturbed my day was from an outfit called “Doctor, Doctor”, offering some sort of assistance for R5 a day. You press “1” and you’re automatically signed up. You can press “9” to “opt out” – but you just know that won’t work because they system will flag you as a real human being and you will be on a call list for eternity.

This number has come up on a few number-tracking sites and the user comments are uniformly angry, and negative. I understand that, because having this is like having burglars bust into your house. I cannot understand why so many big brands – FNB and Edgars have been cited by complainants as using this marketing system and number – get involved.

This actually harms your brand and makes people angry. So Onion to 010 590 8977 – please pass this number on to everyone you know – and to Doctor, Doctor for using this dodgy service.

Cheers, from the lads, to Windhoek Lager – but, FNB, How the Hell can we believe you?

Beer is, for the most part, a product for men. They are, by far, the majority of its consumers and, therefore, the advertising is generally directed at them. And over the years, beer advertising as a genre has generated some good ads and some shockers.

The ads which fail are those which lose sight of the reality that men are, in fact, just big boys…and they get amused by little things. And they are amused by the fact of being boys – and doing the things only boys can do in that little, exclusive club of theirs.

Interestingly, when it comes to sexist attitudes, race doesn’t come into it…
What boys don’t really like is when their beer brand tries to preach to them or, even worse, when it tries to pretend it is something it is not, or to paint a false reality. That, in a beer cap, was what made the Carling Black Label ads of the 80s and 90s so cringe-worthy. The white bosses and black labourers simply did not get together – after a hard day building dams, rescuing damsels in distress, or even getting kittens out of high trees – and sink a Carling round a braai fire.

That was the sort of ideal society the Soviet propagandists used to portray – while everybody on the ground knew the harsh reality.

Windhoek beer (in this case Lager, but also its other, lesser-known brands) has always been my favourite. I lived in Namibia for almost five years and it was the drink of choice for the boys (women would only occasionally have a Windhoek Light, and normally only if it was a lunchtime braai). When I came to South Africa, I found it very difficult to find Windhoek products. I couldn’t stand any of the SA Breweries equivalents, so I switched to wine. And that’s where I’ve stayed…except for the occasional hot day or when we have beer-drinking guests. And out comes the Windhoek.

So I am still fiercely loyal to the brand, as are many men…and it hurt me to give Windhoek a marketing Onion some months ago for their silly Carling Black Label copycat ad supposedly telling the story of the Windhoek Brewery and how everybody – black and white – came together in a crisis in the 1930s. Rubbish…

I wondered then why they hadn’t continued their earlier ad idea of a slightly mocking portrayal of the silliness of men (and we can laugh at ourselves).
I am glad they’ve got that groove back, though, with their latest TV ad, because it speaks to all of the good and bad things about men.

We see a couple – young and, we suppose, in love – as they watch a magical sunset over the sea. The dolphins perform for them, forming a romantic heart, as do the birds flying past. Even the clouds form a cute heart.
She turns to him and asks: “Can it get any more perfect?” He’s about to agree, when his eye falls on a neighbour, sitting with a woman, both with bottles of Windhoek Lager in hand.

He doesn’t have one in his hand and his envy is as green as the beer bottle. A tear comes to his eyes. She thinks it’s because he’s a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) and she wipes it gently away. But we know the truth.

Parting a man from his beer will make him cry. And that’s what reminds us why we love the brand, not the silly fake kum- ba-yah moments.

Great ad from a great beer, so it gets an Orchid from me.
So, this one falls in the “pull the other leg please” category. First National Bank has, according to the SMS it sent me last week, changed the way its ATMs operate. Now, if you make a withdrawal, you card will be spat out of the machine before the cash.
So, said the SMS, “Do not walk away. PLEASE wait for your cash.”

What intrigued me, though, was the first line of the SMS: “You spoke and we listened.” In other words, the implication is that consumers wanted this change. No-one asked me. I’d be interested to hear if anyone else actually asked the bank.

I don’t think so. I think they just decided to change the system, because their techies said so…or to use the same standards as others.

So this week’s “How the hell can we believe you” Onion goes to FNB…